Traditional Baby Wearing ~ A Review of the Mei Tai Baby Carrier

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Mei Tai baby carriers have been used in Asia for hundreds of years. As baby wearing gains popularity in the Western world, so does the art of the Mei Tai carrier. – See it here.

There many benefits for both parents and babies that can be obtained from baby wearing. Wearing a baby leaves a caregiver’s hands-free to attend to other tasks while still attending to the baby’s needs. Baby wearing is also an important component of attachment parenting, and some studies show that babies who are worn grow up to be more self-confident and well adjusted. Mei Tai baby carriers give parents and babies versatility, comfort and style while obtaining these other benefits.

What is a Mei Tai Baby Carrier?

A Mei Tai style baby carrier refers to a style of a baby carrier constructed of a rectangle of fabric, typically cotton, with four long straps on the corners, the upper straps padded for comfort. The baby is placed in the center of the fabric, which is then tied onto the wearer around the waist and shoulders, securely holding the baby to the wearer’s front, hip or back.

Ways to Wear a Baby in a Mei Tai Carrier

There are three positions for wearing a baby in a Mei Tai carrier, the front, hip and back. Babies from newborns up to toddlers weighing 35lbs can be worn in the front carry of the Mei Tai facing the wearer or facing out to the world. The two bottom straps of the carrier are tied around the wearer’s waist, with the fabric allowed to dangle, decorative side in, toward the wearer’s legs. The baby is then held against the wearer’s chest facing in or out, and the fabric panel is pulled between the baby’s legs, with the upper straps going over the wearer’s shoulders, crossing in back, and coming around the front to tie under the baby’s legs.

This allows close contact between parent and child while enabling the wearer to have hands free to attend other tasks. The lightweight material and lack of buckles or hardware makes this an extremely comfortable way to carry a baby.

The Mei Tai can also be used as a hip carrier by tying the material in the same way, but with the first knot on the opposite hip of the one that the baby will be worn on. Older babies who want to be held close while still having a view of the world will prefer this hold, while the dual straps will distribute the weight more evenly for a wearer than a ring or pouch sling.

The Mei Tai also works well as a baby back carrier. The fabric is draped pattern side down on the back of a chair, and the baby is placed in the center of the fabric. The bottom of the carrier is brought up between the baby’s legs, while the wearer sits in front of the baby, with her back to the baby’s front. The bottom straps are then tied around the wearer’s waist. At this time, the wearer can grab the upper straps and bending forward, lift the baby onto their back, cross the straps over their body in front and bring them around to the back again to tie under the baby’s bottom.

Again, the lightweight fabric of the Mei Tai, along with the lack of buckles and hardware, makes this an exceptionally easy and comfortable method of baby wearing for both baby and parent.

Considerations When Using the Mei Tai

The light weight fabric of a Mei Tai baby carrier is excellent for comfort but can wear out and fray quicker than harder, synthetic fabrics used in other carriers. Therefore, the wearer should be prepared to inspect the Mei Tai carrier before every use to ensure continued safety.

The very soft fabric of the carrier can also pose an asphyxiation risk for very young babies, as they are unable to hold their head’s up, and may find their airways closed off if their heads are pushed too far forward, or their noses and mouths are compressed against the wearer or the fabric. Therefore, care should always be taken when wearing an infant in a soft baby carrier, to ensure they are placed correctly and have no airway restriction.

A Mei Tai baby carrier fits many sizes of child and wearer with little need for adjustment. The lightweight material helps ensure that parents and babies don’t become overheated during wearing, while the stylish fabrics ensure that the baby carrier can fit anyone’s personal style and wardrobe. Using a Mei Tai baby carrier will provide parents and babies with hours of comfort and companionship, in a stylish hold.

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