We're still seeing more and more new faces at our meetings and we couldn't be happier! So we thought we'd come back to a basic carrier tutorial for the carry of the month to help out some of our new members. The mei tai (pronounced "may tie") is a carrier consisting of a body panel and four straps. It can be used from birth and can be used for big toddlers and preschoolers as well! You can use it for front, back and hip carries. This tutorial just features the front and back carry. Don't have a mei tai? Make sure to come to a meeting and lend one from our library!
Mei tais have a lot of variations in straps, and shape and size of the body panel. So if you have questions about your mei tai, make sure to comment or email me your questions!
Dana is using her awesome, reversible Nuzzle Me Creations mei tai. For her baby, she had to "apron" the mei tai first. This simply means that she is putting it on like an apron so that it will shorten the body. You can roll the waist once more if you have a smaller infant and need to shorten the body even more. Dana's mei tai is a classic tie waist so she simply double knots it at her natural waist. This is important as it keeps your baby at a safe, kissable level. If you have a newborn or a younger infant, you may want to attach the carrier right under your bust.
You can see in the first picture how the carrier has been shortened by apronning it. Dana then put the straps over her shoulders and slips her son into the carrier, pulling the top of the body up to his shoulders. Her son is old enough to spread his legs and have his legs completely out of the carrier. We recommend legs out in most carriers but if your mei tai seems a bit too wide, you can simply take a rubber band or tie a ribbon around the base of the carrier to make it a bit narrower. If your newborn seems a bit unhappy with their legs out, feel free to froggy their legs into the carrier but make sure the weight is on their bottom and not on their legs, feet or ankles.
With one hand on your baby's back, reach behind for the straps and cross them. Make sure there are no twists! Twists can cause pressure on your back and make it quite uncomfortable. When you have reached your first strap and brought it to the front, you can store it between your legs as if you were wrapping so you can safely reach for the second one. You'll want to make sure you pull nice and tight so that baby's body is close to yours.
There are a couple of ways to tie off but this is the simplest and most basic way to do so. Bring the straps over baby's back, cross and bring them under baby's legs. You can do a twist or two at baby's butt here if you'd like.
Last step is to simply tie in the back and double knot!
Back Carrysling rings attached to it! You'll see it's threaded just like a ring sling is. You can check out our ring sling post to see how it's been threaded. Now Jade is not doing any aproning with this but she is still attaching the carrier at her natural waist. It keeps baby nice and high on her back.
Jade chose a hip scoot to get her baby on her back. You can do your santa toss or however you feel comfortable getting your baby on your back. Our ruck post can help if you have questions about how to do that! Jade is grabbing for the body of the mei tai but at the same time she is pinning her baby's legs with her arms to keep a hold of her. It's ideal to grab for the body right where the top straps are so the you can pull it right up and over baby's butt.
To seat your baby, grab the straps and hop gently to sink your baby into the carrier. It's important that the body of the carrier is high enough on your baby's back before standing up and hopping.You'll then pull the straps over your shoulders so you can finish off.
Check out Babywearing International of Hampton Roads's YouTube channel for more information and tutorials! Here's Jade's tutorial for a back carry in a mei tai!