Remember the Yorkie chocolate bar shopping bag advert? Well I’m the child carrying mother version.

A baby on the front, a toddler on the back and a Doodle straining at the bit to get out for a walk!

As a Labradoodle owner and a Cotswold dweller – oh the middle class cliche – the kids and I walk for miles off-road.

Thanks to our Bugaboo’s inability to manouvre stiles (which for the price, I’m pretty gutted at) we’ve used slings and backpacks to carry the kids since the reached *near enough* the required weight.

Since the second child has come along, I’ve turned in to the human buckaroo. A baby loaded on my front in a sling, a toddler balanced on my back in a backpack and a Doodle clipped to the end of the lead ready to pounce at anything that moves.

As the game explains ‘Load up the moody mule as much as you can, but be careful he might ‘Buckaroo’!’ Couldn’t have said it better myself, load me the ‘moody mule’ up and watch me try to pick up dog poo with front and back loads without my knees buckling!

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Bizarrely when buying the slings, we had SO many parents come up to us and say ‘Oh, wait until baby is here, they may not get on with the sling.’

There was talk of sling libraries and sling sharing, but we needed one from the get go as the doodle couldn’t go without his ‘walkies’.

I reasoned that each child would just become accustomed to what ever you put them in. Unless there was a health issue. So we plunged head first and cracked on with three we had researched, two slings and a back pack.

Luckily for us, both kids have got on with all that we bought. It was just us adults that couldn’t master the origami style of one of them.

Our sling journey began with both a MobyWrap (incredibly faffy) and a BabyBjörn We Baby Carrier. The BabyBjörn was great. We could feel one another, be hands free and perhaps most importantly, I could soothe my newly acquired neurotic side and peek down to see that he was breathing.

What a lie.

What I actually did was stand stock still, shove a hand between his back and the sling and wait for the rise and fall of his chest. Neurotic? Moi? Never.

The MobyWrap quickly fell out of favour because of the origami style wrapping and knot tying. Combined with the fact that no matter how hard I tried, Sprog always ends up swinging around my waist.

Yes, I know I was probably doing it wrong, but when you’ve a rabid Doodle straining at the bit to chase that tennis ball, the last thing you need is to be fiddling with what is essentially just a 5.5 metre length of material.

On the other hand, the BabyBjörn has been a life saver. Husband and I can wear it and it’s comfortable for the both of us. Importantly, it’s easy to adjust between users, simple to insert Sprog in to and scrubs up well after a wash. We’ve walked miles with it and enjoyed every step.

Unfortunately, when Sprog started weighing the equivalent of two sacks of spuds, I struggled with the weight on my front while trying to control the Doodle.

I’ve done a few comedy quick shoe shuffles that have got the heart racing, but we had one that was a little too close for comfort, prompting us to step into the world of child carrying backpacks.

Shifting the weight from front to back helps keep me balanced and feel more confident tackling Doodle every time he tries to canoodle another Doodle. It also means I can now carry my baby in the sling on the front at the same time.

My friend let me try her all singing all dancing Osprey Poco Child Carrier BackPack. At 5’3, I’ve got quite a short torso and I felt quite overwhelmed by the pack. It was incredibly cumbersome making it a struggle to lift and swing round to get on my back. Luckily my friend is about 7 inches taller than me, so it is perfectly proportioned for her.

Cue Phil&Teds Escape carrier, both cheaper, smaller and lighter than the Osprey. It’s got a lot of features;

  • It’s streamlined. I can’t believe how light and comfortable it feels with Sprog in it and easy it was to manouvre all the hedgerows
  • It’s secure. Even while picking up Doodle’s business, I didn’t feel as though Sprog was going to fall out the top
  • It’s protective. Sprog’s delicate face skin was covered with the ingenious sun canopy and all limbs were tucked away out of harms reach
  • I can wear my BabyBjorn with Sproglette on the front and Sprog in the Phil&Teds on the back
  • It’s also quite a crowd pleaser. There was a lot of cooing going on this morning as I stomped round our usual route, both from Sprog and admiring dog walkers. It’s a conversation starter and definitely puts a smile on people’s faces.
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