Tandam Carries - Carrying When Pregnant
Having started your babywearing journey carrying one baby what do you do when along comes number two? The answer is we have a carrier for that!
Carrying two has many benefits. The firstborn doesn’t need to think their place has been usurped. They can still have the close cuddles and contact they have thrived on throughout babyhood. It means you aren’t juggling two children’s needs and can get on with chores as needed. Trips out and about can be simpler- there is no need to invest in a second pushchair initially so you have time to work out if one is needed and what features it would need to have.
Indeed you don’t need to give up carrying when pregnant as there are safe ways to do this. If you are in good health and there is no reason to not lift heavy loads then it is perfectly alright to go on carrying throughout your pregnancy. If you already carry your body has adapted to using your carrier already. You may need to consider positioning of straps and knots as your pregnancy advances but in the main to start with you should be able to do more of the same.
You may find in the first trimester that with either low blood pressure, fatigue or nausea that you feel less able to use your carrier. Very much listen to your body and respond to what it is telling you. Some women experience period like pain and aches, and uncomfortable breasts and it is probably then better to avoid carrying until you feel fit and well. When it does feel right for you to carry then there is no need to use your present carrier any differently. The new baby will be tucked away inside your pelvis and your carrier straps or passes will not put undue pressure on the uterus.
During the second trimester when your body and shape is changing you might find it better to move from front carries to hip and back carries. Investing in a ring sling and learning to use this for supported cuddles could be useful, as the skills will come in useful again when you want to carry two together. Do switch the side you carry on and do not hip carry for long periods. Your ligaments are beginning to soften so it is important not to put your pelvis under stress. As with all carrying when pregnant , if you experience any discomfort then stop doing it and seek advice.
Back carrying is the preferred option for many mothers when their bump begins to show, it enables you to maintain the contact with your child without putting any extra pressure on the growing bump. Our pregnant bodies are often better able to balance the front and back loads better when there is a more equal load front and back. Your carrier needs to fit well and hold the child snugly and as close as possible so that the child on your back is well supported. Don’t be tempted to trade up to a bigger carrier at this stage. Your body is going to have to work harder when you are carrying, so again be guided by how you feel and what your body is telling you.
As your bump grows the position of the waist belt of a buckle carrier needs to be considered, or even the type of waist band your carrier has may need thinking about. Some mother’s find moving to a softer waist banded carrier is more comfortable, others find using a carrier with no waist band is better for them. You can also position the band above the bump under the bust to increase your comfort.
This picture shows a soft Connecta carrier with waistband over the bump.
Wrap carriers such as woven wraps ,which can be tied in an assortment of ways, Mei Dais, Onbuhimos and Podaegis that bind your baby close to your body can be very useful at this stage. These can be tied gently above the bump, or spread around the chest and shoulders, taking the weight much more on your upper body.
Using a Yaro woven wrap in a size 4 for a snug, high carry.
It is however, probably not the best time to get used to a new carrier, so don’t ditch your existing one and take it gently- indeed starting to learn to use different carriers before you become pregnant can be a good idea.
In the third trimester your body is getting ready for the birth. Your levels of relaxin increase significantly, and this hormone enables your pelvis and ligaments to soften and stretch. The intercostal muscles and ligaments between your ribs become more elastic to allow expansion of the chest to accomodate your growing baby. These changes will affect load-bearing , stability and balance so the amount of carrying you do are able to do comfortably may be reduced. For each individual what is right is a personal thing. High, supportive back carries with soft slings often work best, so woven wraps in multiple layer carries are useful for those who have mastered the skills. For others adding a tummy pad to the waistband of a buckle carrier and positioning it under the bump can be a supportive solution. For others a switch of carrier may be best.