Sunday, 8 September 2013

COTW #32 - All about Mei Tais

by Aline Kelly

A Mei Tai (MT) is a traditional Asian carrier that consists of a rectangular piece of cloth with four straps that are tied around the wearer. These carriers are appreciated for being highly customizable to different sizes of users and can be used for front, back, or hip carries. 

Detailed information on Mei Tais and their different features: 

General instructions: 
When using a Mei Tai, in most cases you tie the waist on first, situate baby, then fasten the shoulder straps. 

Waist straps
The waist straps of the carrier are tied in a secure double knot around the wearer's midsection. For smaller babies, the carrier can be rolled at the waist in order to reduce the height (link below). Taller babies may need the waist straps tied lower on your hips, or for a high back carry, the waist straps can be tied right underneath the bust for maximum height. 


Shoulder straps
Options for tying your shoulder straps are numerous. Here are some common ties. I encourage everyone to add their own in the comments!:
For front carries, shoulder straps should be crossed over the back in an X. Further options include:
- Tie behind baby's back
- Tie under baby's bum
- Do full leg passes (over first knee, under the second) and tie behind your back
- Do a lexi twist behind baby's back and tie behind your back.
- Do reinforced passes over baby's back and bum and tie where comfortable

*Note that in infants under 3 months or so, straps should cross or be tied at mid-back to add extra support. This helps prevent chin-to-chest positioning.

With back carries, straps will come over both shoulders. From there you can: 
- Tie under bum
- Do full leg passes (over the first knee, under the second) and tie in front
- Cross diagonally over your chest and tie in front or back
- Do reinforced passes (spread across back/bum) and tie where comfortable
- Tie a half knot at chest and tie behind your back
- Possibilities are endless. More alternate finishes are linked below. 

Keep in mind that baby cannot pop their seat in a Mei Tai. Passes going under the knees aren't necessarily required unless you would like to include them. 

Photo Instructions for various carries:

Video instructions: 
Front carry: (BecomingMamas) - Newborn

Back carry: (BecomingMamas) Newborn and Toddler demos (Obimama) Toddler with spread wrap straps

Hip carry:

Nursing in a Mei Tai:

Alternate finishes (PaxBaby) - Sling ring at chest

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