This post is part of “All About Babywearing Month” on Dirty Diaper Laundry. Babywearing Month is being extended into November because of the last minute additions!
A carrier I never though to try was a Mei Tai. I didn’t see what it could offer me since I already owned a Soft Structure carrier. Plus, I was worried that the tying of straps would be more trouble than it was worth. Mei Tai’s (pronounced May Tie), are asian inspired carriers. They are basically a long rectangular piece of fabric with straps attached to each corner. The simplicity is one reason that Mei Tai’s are popular WAHM items, and DIY carriers. There are tons of sewing patterns online if you search for them! I know that on Nathan’s Fight there is a great DIY Mei Tai.
I decided I wanted to try one after seeing them in person. I was fortunate enough to see the collection from BabyHawk. The fabrics are to die for! There are so many styles and colors to choose from, it is almost dizzying. I decided to buy one mainly because I loved the patterns, but also because I couldn’t call myself a babywearing “expert” if I hadn’t tried a Mei Tai.
I had an insanely hard choice when it came to picking the patterns. There were some gorgeous ones in greens and oranges, but, when I asked opinions, the funky sugar skulls won out.
My first impression after trying it on was, “What have I gotten myself into?” The straps are looong and they were dragging the ground. I couldn’t even tie it myself, I had to enlist the help of my hubby. I narrated what I thought should happen and he complied. The fit was tight since he tied it, and we proceeded to walk around the mall pretty comfortably.
Every time after that I still had my husband tie it, I didn’t even try. I knew at some point I had to, but it was much easier for him to do it. One weekend we went to the Apple Festival in Ithaca. My husband tied it on me but it was too loose. The baby was in a great position to nurse, which he did, but then he was leaned back. It was so uncomfortable. This was a lesson to always make sure my carriers are correctly tightened and adjusted.
The first time I attempted to tie it on myself was when I was stranded. I usually have 2 carriers in my car, 2 different types. Somehow I only had one, the BabyHawk. I had to go a good distance and didn’t want to take a stroller, and couldn’t carry the baby and my bags. Deep breath. You can tie this yourself. I tied it around my waist nice and tight with a secure knot, then put Fletcher into the tummy to tummy position. Pulled my straps over my shoulders and around my back, back to the front, over his rear and under legs, then back around. Knotted and done. It worked!
After that day I have been using it with no trouble. You have ti find a way to put the straps around your back while holding the baby safely. I was so afraid of dropping him that I put it off. If I had thought about it, I should have practiced with a teddy bear to get the hang of it.
Mei Tai’s are nice because they have the same structure as a SSC but since you tie it, there are variations on the support you can get. You can tie under the baby for when they are heavier and older, or behind their backs for younger babies. The BabyHawk has a very high back, great for toddlers or infants who need head support. For infants you can tie it really tightly. If babies are in the middle and need some freedom of movement, the lined stitched across makes it easy to fold the top portion down and give them some space.
My son prefers having his hands out and the top folded down. It is about to his neck right now.
The BabyHawk isn’t my most comfortable carrier. But it isn’t uncomfortable. There is a generous waist belt and the shoulders are padded. You have to be really sure to get it properly adjusted, otherwise you might end up judging the carrier as being uncomfortable when it is just incorrectly adjusted. I like wider shoulder straps, and I am also a big fan of the chest clip on SSC’s.
BabyHawk has fantastic step by step photos and also videos on how to to a lot of different carries! I love video tutorials, and still use them when I am trying a new carry or carrier.