All About Mei Tai Carriers
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  1. #1
    Posting Addict alwayssmile's Avatar
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    Default 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)
    Last edited by alwayssmile; 02-22-2012 at 03:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Posting Addict alwayssmile's Avatar
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    Default 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.

    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!
    Last edited by alwayssmile; 02-21-2012 at 05:08 PM.

  3. #3
    Posting Addict alwayssmile's Avatar
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    Default 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!
    Last edited by alwayssmile; 01-08-2012 at 10:50 PM.

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    Posting Addict alwayssmile's Avatar
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    Default 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 ), 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 ):

    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.
    Last edited by alwayssmile; 01-08-2012 at 06:40 PM.

  5. #5
    Posting Addict alwayssmile's Avatar
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    Default 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:
    Last edited by alwayssmile; 01-04-2012 at 11:39 PM.

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    Posting Addict alwayssmile's Avatar
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    Default EllaRoo

    EllaRoo

    Website: http://www.ellaroo.com/index.php/pro...llaroo_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:

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    Posting Addict alwayssmile's Avatar
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    Default 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!

    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. 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.
    Last edited by alwayssmile; 01-09-2012 at 01:36 PM.

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    Community Host AnnaRO's Avatar
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    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.

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    Posting Addict cactuswren's Avatar
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    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.
    -Leigh-
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    Posting Addict TiggersMommy's Avatar
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    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!
    Erin
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