Of all the variances between expectation and reality so far in motherhood, babywearing twins has to top the list.
I am literally laughing at myself (not with myself) when I recall the visions I had about how this would go: I’d just “pop” one baby on the front and one baby on the back and we’d breezily hit the hiking trails or the beach or the farmers’ market. I’d done research on the best baby carrier for twins (front-to-back Ergobaby, evidently) and the best baby carrier for travel, and of all the things I’d be learning in my new role as a mom, surely this did not seem like one of the harder ones.
And then reality intervened. The babies were just a few weeks old, and Jordan was colicky and screaming, and I had the idea that we could just “pop” them on and go for some kind of a soothing walk. Picture us unfurling the folded Ergobaby manuals with cartoonish exaggeration, and then following up in desperation with YouTube how-to videos, ridiculously insincere in their jaunty tone. That’s when David said, “This is a BAD idea!” with such tragic defeat in his voice that is became a family in-joke, a shorthand for every idea I had that sounded fun and festive on the face of it (“Let’s take the babes for dinner at the Grove on the Saturday before Christmas!”) but ended in failure and tears.
The infant inserts made everything more complicated to boot, with the babies so fragile and bendy seeming. But even months into their little lives, and many attempts later, the Ergos just seemed so cumbersome. It’s supposed to be a one-person operation, but I could never seem to get every strap in place without backup, and I literally poured sweat with fear that my ineptitude would result in a baby on the floor instead of tucked quaintly, serenely in place. No part of twin babywearing turned out to be the breezy, streamlined method of soothing and bonding I had in mind.
In addition to the Ergobaby carriers we got as generous registry gifts, I also picked up hand-me-downs from my sister in the form of a ring sling (which I wanted to love, because it was called Maya Wrap), and a Moby Wrap. But nothing seemed intuitive, and I never managed to get past YouTube tutorial stage.
Here’s where I say that you may (as you no doubt already have) feel free to roll your eyes at me in the privacy of your laptop if babywearing came naturally to you, and you think I sound ridiculous. That may be the case. I’m far from a babywearing expert — uh, that much should be obvious — but I can only tell you honestly that for me, there were physical obstacles that led to serious mental obstacles when it came to babywearing. And it was all bumming me out, and dashing those pre-baby visions of an active lifestyle motivated by fun and not fear.
But I wasn’t willing to give up yet.
OK, so that’s about when I noticed Bitybean. The ultralight baby carrier brand’s website is full of aspirational pictures that at once seem so enticing (babywearing while crosscountry skiiing!) and so impossible to execute in the real world. But hope springs eternal.
When the $59 product arrived in the mail (compare that with about $120 for Ergobaby) I was even more skeptical. It’s about the size of a water bottle and weighs almost nothing. It took me a couple of weeks to even attempt it, because I figured it would be another disappointment.
But can you guess where this is going? This morning, while hubby was in the shower, I figured I’d try it out on my own and see how far I could get without flailing my arms in frustration and launching into a tirade about how this dumb thing doesn’t work either. In under a minute, I figured out the simple instruction manual (just a sheet, actually), and popped Maya right in, no fuss. Cautiously optimistic, I walked her outside for a while to see if she liked it, and she seemed absolutely happy and comfortable in there. When we left for the day, I swapped, and tried Jordan in the mix — and for the first time in the six months since my twins were born, I had an easy, hands-free solution. I felt competent, and light, and hardly knew what to do with all the extra hands.
The best part? BityBean has to be the best baby carrier for travel hands down — it weighs literally eight ounces and fits in your pocket (OK, a semi-big pocket, but still). As we have started thinking really seriously about executing on our top-priority mission of travel with twins, this is a product that I can imagine will literally transform the game. As devoted as I am to my Bob double stroller, for instance, it is approximately the size of a 747, and is not the kind of thing that will ever see the inside of an airport, so help me. But a couple of these weightless carriers? These are surely the future of our airplane travel to active destinations with twins. I can see it in my mind’s eye.
Beyond that, I can see this being the best baby carrier for twins overall, because it’s light enough to feasibly wear one baby in front and one in back. Admittedly, that’s on some advanced-level stuff that I haven’t tried yet — but for once it actually seems conceivable.
Any little product that actually helps me explore the world with my family, seizing on our sense of adventure, rather than being bound by insecurity or logistics? Yeah, that’s a winner in my book.