All About Mei Tai Carriers

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alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
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All About Mei Tai Carriers

This is one of several "All About" posts where each is about a particular type of commonly used baby carriers. I WANT HELP with pictures, comments and tricks to each brand you have experience with, how to use it properly, different carry options, and more! So please offer input to help supplement my information.

Mei tais (MT) are based on Asian style carriers worn throughout history. They are a piece of fabric with four long straps. Two straps form the waist and the other two are tied around the parent and baby to provide support. You can do front, back, and hip carries with them. MT brands usually differ in materials, body size, strap width, and strap length. Most of them can be used from newborn through toddlerhood, though some Mts are better suited for a certain size. Mts can be worn by everybody, but do check the strap length if you are a fluffier since some shoulder straps are as short as 70". I've seen Mts with strap lengths as long as 90"! A longer strap length does give more options for tying, but a petite mom may find it overwhelming.

Mei Tai Brands:
">Mei Tai Baby
Kozy
FreeHand
BabyHawk/ToddlerHawk
EllaRoo
Mei Tai Baby Carrier
Beanslings
Bamberoo
KinderCarry
Maya Tie

Mei Tai Help:
Using with a newborn
Front Carry
Back Carries
3 Ways of getting baby on your back (video - circus flip, superman toss, and hip scoot)

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483
MTs with a newborn

It's okay for newborns to have their froggied inside a mei tai as long as they are not supporting weight on their feet. It is also okay to have them feet out, with them supported from knee to knee, butt lower the the knees. Smile

Thanks Beccasweet for the newborn mei tai pics! In these she is using a Mei Tai Baby brand carrier than has snaps on the bottom allowing her to cinch the bottom smaller allowing for smaller babies to sit correctly with feet out.

The carrier showing the snaps with the extension tabs added which are at the bottom of the carrier body right above the waist:

Snapped as tight as it goes:

For her newborn she rolls up the bottom after cinching:


You do not want a baby buried in it; you want to be able to easily see your LO at all times to check on position, breathing, etc. Roll the MT enough so that you can easily see your baby, but the neck and head are still supported.

She ties the carrier around her waist:

Baby is placed on chest and carrier is brought up around baby. Keep one hand on baby at all times until the carry is secured.
Cross the shoulder straps on your back and bring around to the front:

With newborns you want to tie the mei tai at their back for added support. In these pictures Beccasweet's DD is 2 months and 10 pounds:

Notice that the head and neck are supported and baby is not buried in the carrier.

Using a different brand of mei tai?
Cinch the waist using a hair tie or ribbon. I preferred using a ribbon since it allowed me to adjust as he got bigger.

Roll the waist and tie as above!

If there is anything I can add to make things more clear or if I forgot something, please let me know! Smile

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483
Front Carry

Front carries with non newborns.

There are two different ways to tie a MT to your waist - apron and non-apron. Some MTs are made to be worn a certain way where others are made to be worn both ways. Some people find one way to be more comfortable than the other. Experiment to see what works
Apron - you tie it around your waist just like an apron with the part you want facing out against you:

Non-apron:

Straps crossed in back:

Ways to Tie
At baby's back:

Under baby's bum:

Lexi twist (twist the straps at lower back or bum, bring around to your back by going UNDER baby's legs, tie at your back):

VIDEO of a front carry showing it being tied at the back, bum, and lexi twixt options.

If there is anything I can add to make things more clear or if I forgot something, please let me know! Smile

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483
Back Carries

High back carry information can be found here.

When first practicing back carries, I highly recommend having a spotter or doing it on your couch or bed. If you have have a mirror nearby that helps a lot too! While it may be scary at first, with enough practice you can have a baby securely on your back in under a minute!

Tie at your waist (this shows it tied apron style):

Toss baby on your back (superman toss, hip scoot, use whatever works for you - will cover this more in another thread):

Always keep one hand on your baby! Scoot baby into position. You'll want baby centered just above the waist.:

Bring the carrier up over the baby. Make sure that one leg is on each side of the body and that s/he is centered in the carrier.:

No picture (I needed a 3rd hand :p), but at this point you'll want to grab a strap with each hand and gently bounce the baby in the carrier. Check the seat to make sure that baby is still being supported close to knee to knee and that their butts can be lower than their knees once tied.

There are several ways to handle the shoulder straps.
You can cross them (not the most attractive for girls :lol:):

You can wear them "backpack" style:

You can tie a chest belt:

After you have crossed/"backpacked"/or made a chest belt bring the straps around to your back.
There are several ways to tie off the carry.
At baby's back:

Under baby's bum:

Lexi twist (cross and twist straps at baby's lower back to bum, bring each strap under baby's legs and back around to your front where you'll tie at your waist):

VIDEO of MT back carry showing crossed straps in front and how to do a chest best with lexi twist

Depending on your shoulder strap length you may have enough length left to "tie tibetan" to create a chest belt from a 'backpack' style.
For this you'll want to bring the straps back around to your front from a lexi twist, make sure the twist is above the legs and then comes back around to your front UNDER the legs. Take the end on your left over to the right shoulder strap and go under. Do the same with the other side. Tie the two ends together.

VIDEO - MT back carry with ruck straps, lexi twist, and tied tibetan

You can also buy or borrow from a SSC a chest belt that can connect to your straps on your front when the MT is done 'backpack' style.

When done tying, double check to make sure that baby is against you, you don't want the shoulder straps so loose that the baby is able to lean back, this will kill your shoulders! Also check their leg and bum positioning.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483
Mei Tai Baby

Mei Tai Baby (MTB) is one of many MT brands.

Her site: http://meitaibaby.com/

I like them because you can easily create your own and even get one that does zippy panels where you can change out the panel fabric. I like how easily it is to use them with newborns, but they still easily work with toddlers. I find them super comfortable for front carries.

Thing to know: It has a smaller body compared to some at 15"x20". The shoulder straps are 3.75" wide and are only 72" long. If you need longer shoulder straps, you can't get them from MTB sadly.

DS at about 14 months:

DS at 3.5 months:

DS at 2 months:

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
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EllaRoo

EllaRoo

Website: http://www.ellaroo.com/index.php/products/ellaroo_mei_tai

I like EllaRoo MTs because the straps are wide making it a bit more comfortable for me than some other MTs. It's a great bigger baby MT, but it can be cinched down for newborns.

Things to know: It does have a bigger body than the MTB (eventually I'll measure it). I think the straps are 72" standard on all of them? It is meant to be worn NON apron style, but you can wear it apron style.

I don't have a lot to say about it because it's not "special" from other mei tai carriers. It is VERY comfortable and just as easy to use as the rest. I've loved using mine over the months!

DS at 2.5ish months:

DS at almost 9 months:

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
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Beanslings

Beanslings

Her ETSY site: http://www.etsy.com/shop/beanslings

Why I love them: The straps are WIDE (once again, I should measure!) and lightly padded. Now her idea of lightly padded is a lot more stuffing than other MTs. Not as thick as most SSCs, but still a good deal of flexible, comfortable padding. An average carrier is bigger bodied and has LONG straps. My Beanslings has a hood which is great for when Aiden wants to take a nap. This is one of my favorite carriers ever and I love how dreamy it feels in a back carry! I love it! Smile

Things to note: Not all of her carriers have the same size body, so read the description (or if buying used, ask questions!). Not all of her carriers have the same strap size, though I don't think I've ever seen one with less than 75" long. Mine is 84" (I'm pretty sure), which while technically too long for me it hasn't bothered me one bit. If I was a petite woman I wouldn't want my particular Beanslings MT. Wink I also would NOT use this with a newborn. There is way too much fabric to cinch this down to work as well as other carriers. However, it's a fantastic big toddler MT.
She go on spurts with making new ones, but you can find them fairly easily used. She also makes customs where you send in your own fabric that you love. I think she'll be taking orders for wrap conversion MTs sometime in the future.
Also note that she also makes half buckles. These are carriers that have buckles for the waist like SSCs, but have mei tai straps.

And my one lonely Beanslings picture. I mostly wear it in the house in a back carry while doing housework, which means I never ever think to take a picture. Aiden is 5.5 months:

Okay, took a pic of DS in a front carry in our Beanslings last night (so 14 months). Hood is up.

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

This is awesome Jackie!

I wish I could get pics of the one I just made in a front carry, but there's no way with my baby belly sticking out. I'll try to remember to get a picture of her in a back carry soon.

The first Mai Tai I made was padded and had 4" wide straps. The shoulder straps are super long too. When I made my recent one, I only padded the area where the had goes and not the whole body part. The straps are 5.5" wide and I think it much more comfortable for me that way. The straps are not as long as my first one (I don't remember off-hand how long I made them), but still long enough for me to use it while pg.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

Yeah...if you are DIY-ing a mei tai, definitely make sure to make the straps as wide and padded as you can! That's one reason we hardly ever used the ones I made. I skimped on both, and they weren't very comfortable.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

I think Jackie likes Mai Tais!

I loved mine until DD got too heavy and tall. Its a WAHM product that's fairly padded. It was my go to between 3 and 9 months. At 9 months, DD was just too big to use it. The back was quite low and she was able to bend back which felt unsafe. Off into the closet to wait for number two!

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
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Here are a few pics of my Mai Tai.

3 months

4 months

5 months

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
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"TiggersMommy" wrote:

I think Jackie likes Mai Tais!

I loved mine until DD got too heavy and tall. Its a WAHM product that's fairly padded. It was my go to between 3 and 9 months. At 9 months, DD was just too big to use it. The back was quite low and she was able to bend back which felt unsafe. Off into the closet to wait for number two!

Up until a few months ago I used them all the time! About the only one that gets a lot of use these days is the Beanslings. The body is huge and just now fitting DS really well (though I did use it when he was younger obviously). They'd all get used though if I didn't have SSCs, RS, and now a wrap. Lol I love how versatile MTs are without all the extra fabric like wrapping.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
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Erin, did you get it off of Etsy or locally? Smile

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Locally but the lady has a website. http://clothforyourangel.com/ She makes super cute CDs too Wink

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
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Looking at your pictures that is a pretty short bodied MT. It was obviously perfect for Teagan as a baby though!

Thanks for sharing the link. Smile

sweetsriracha's picture
Joined: 03/29/11
Posts: 1318

I actually just put my mei tai baby up on craigslist! I've been pretty disappointed with mine, to be honest. My two month old is only about 12 pounds, but my neck is STILL aching after I wore him for a twenty minute walk earlier today! The cross in the back tends to migrate upwards, and it seems like his entire weight is hanging around my neck. Has anyone else had this experience with their mei tai?

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

Have you tried different ties? Perhaps one of the many that Jackie demonstrated will help with the migration. Everybody is shaped differently so different configurations might help.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
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"sweetsriracha" wrote:

I actually just put my mei tai baby up on craigslist! I've been pretty disappointed with mine, to be honest. My two month old is only about 12 pounds, but my neck is STILL aching after I wore him for a twenty minute walk earlier today! The cross in the back tends to migrate upwards, and it seems like his entire weight is hanging around my neck. Has anyone else had this experience with their mei tai?

Where are the straps on your shoulders? If you look at some of my photos you'll notice that I don't put the straps on top of my shoulder near my neck but rather towards the outside and even cuffing my shoulders. For me this is more comfortable, for other this isn't but it's worth trying to see if it helps you.
Also make sure you're crossing the straps in the middle of your back and PULL TIGHT. You don't want slack. I'm wondering if part of your problem is that the straps aren't tight and secure enough, which is allowing your son's weight to pull the carrier forward and change the positioning of the crossed straps in back.
If you can post pictures because that would help us troubleshoot more about what's going on. At 12 pounds this should be a VERY comfortable carrier if the mei tai is made correctly. Smile

sweetsriracha's picture
Joined: 03/29/11
Posts: 1318

I'm not cuffing the shoulders! I don't have any photos, but that must be the problem right there!

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

The only time I have that issue is if I don't have the straps cuffing my shoulders. I don't have any trouble if the straps are cuffing my shoulders. I wore DD on my back while cooking dinner the other night and had no trouble, and I'm 28 weeks pregnant.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

"AnnaRO" wrote:

I wore DD on my back while cooking dinner the other night and had no trouble, and I'm 28 weeks pregnant.

Yahoo So glad to hear that you're doing some wearing!

Jasmine, let me know if I can be of any more help. Smile

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

Here I am wearing my Maya Tie Mei Tai. Found out today it works well during pregnancy (I'm 25 weeks pregnant today)- the key is to tie it OVER the belly. It didn't matter how low I wore any of my other carriers on my hips, I felt like I was squeezing the baby/my guts/whatever...and I would often end up with a stomach ache/in the bathroom! But, tying above the belly was really comfortable and didn't cause me any issues! Yay!

From the front:

From the side:

As always, the carrier achieved the desired outcome... toddler fell asleep! Smile

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

That's great! Do you think it might work for your trip?

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

Yep, I'm thinking now I might wear the mei tai in the airports, and have the ring sling for on the plane. It'll be good to have both hands free in the airports and to have DD in a non-straining carrier. Then on the plane, I can use the sling to wrap around us and keep us sleeping comfortably. Smile Thankfully, while the mei tai does take up a bit of space, neither one weighs much!

alwayssmile's picture
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:bump:

cactuswren's picture
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Posts: 4658

I just rediscovered this adorable pic of DH carrying DD in a buddha FF in the DIY mei tai at around 6 months old...I know it's an unconventional carry, but it worked well for us and is a pretty cute pic to boot Smile

alwayssmile's picture
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BUMP!

beccasweet's picture
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Bump Smile