NOTE: This post is a bit long and includes two videos. Proceed with caution. 😉
The first carrier I’m going to focus on in this babywearing series is the Mei Tai…not to be confused with the alcoholic drink. Please do not drink and babywear. HAHAHAHAHA! The way I talk about drinking all the time, you’d think I was a big alchy. But anyway, I digress. Editor’s note: Stacy is not an alcoholic.
My mom made me a Mei Tai when Annie was young, and I did enjoy it but we could never get the fit just right. Then I was contacted by Valerie of Gracie and Sam – and I got the idea to do this series on babywearing. She wanted me to try out one of her custom-made Mei Tais. I was PUMPED because all her carriers were so pretty.
A Mei Tai is an Asian-inspired baby carrier. It has a tie around the waist and two straps that you put over your shoulders and cross in the back. You tie around the baby or around yourself to strap the baby in. You can front carry or back carry in this type of carrier. One will generally cost between $50-100.
My carrier from Gracie and Sam has a clip belt, but most Mei Tais come with a tie strap. I’ve used both and they are both easy to use. You simply tie it on, put baby in it, then tie it around yourself….see below for front and back carry videos.
So, you’re likely going to hear me say this in each post –buy a GOOD baby carrier. Just like you spend good money on a car seat and you research what is the best, do the same for your baby carrier. You’re going to wear it for a while, so YOU need to be comfortable and you need your BABY to be comfortable. Don’t pinch pennies too bad when it comes to a carrier – they are worth the money…and this is coming from Cheapo Stacy Who Picks Up Pennies in the Parking Lot.
You can spend between $50-200 for a good carrier. You can spend less and you can spend more. You can buy brand new or you can buy used. Either way – buy a good one…a good quality one that meets CPSIA requirements. (Note: Gracie and Sam (LLC) Mei Tais are compliant with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) requirements.)
Good baby-carriers are worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY.
Why would you want a Mei Tai? If you want a carrier that’s easy to master and doesn’t require much tying, then you would enjoy this carrier. It distributes weight evenly so you don’t get tired very quickly. I’m able to strap it on quickly when I’m out and about. It works great in the grocery store and great in the park. It ranks in my top three: Moby, Mei Tai and Ergo/Boba.
Why would you NOT want a Mei Tai? If you struggle with tying knots, this is not the carrier for you. 😉 It’s not one of the cheapest options, but in my opinion it’s one of the best options out there for baby-wearing. If you have no plans to front carry, you might not want a Mei Tai – I love front carry, so that’s why I enjoy this carrier. I don’t use it once I move to back carry – although Brandy will show you how you can also use it for back carry if you desire. It’s not a good carrier to breastfeed in – or at least I haven’t mastered that. 🙂
This carrier is easy to put on and it’s easy to take off. It’s not too hot in the summer so that you sweat like a pig when wearing it. I know I’m going to be using this Gracie and Sam carrier a LOT this upcoming summer…especially at the grocery store.
My review: After using her Mei Tai for several weeks, I can tell you one thing: it’s top notch. It’s one of the best baby carriers I’ve ever worn. I love the colors and I love the fit. The padded shoulder straps are very comfy on my bony shoulders and it’s easy to get a tight fit. It’s very comfortable to wear for long periods of time and Andy enjoys it – he falls asleep in it very easily.
I love the custom made reversible pattern. It means I have ONE carrier that I can use for a girl or boy. I also love how fast it is to put on – I can easily strap it on in a store parking lot and be ready to go. The package arrived nicely put together and came with instructions and a thank-you note.
Brandy’s review of the Gracie and Sam Mei Tai:
I’ve made over two dozen mei tais in my babywearing years, so I feel I’ve had a lot of experience using them. I’m probably the more critical reviewer. The Sam and Gracie mei tai was surprisingly light, but very well made. I carried an almost two year old in it using back carry. I am accustomed to ones that are a bit heavier, but this one seemed as though it would work nicely in hot weather. The fabric seemed as though it would not develop much of a memory with prolonged use, which is desirable. By memory, I mean holding wrinkles that fade over time and may compromise the integrity of the fabric. Ironing can help avoid this, but who wants to iron their carrier every week or so?
The sewing on the mei tai was very neat. Everything seemed to be very well attached. The straps were padded, which is not my personal preference, but the padding was comfortable. I prefer unpadded straps because I feel they conform to my shoulders better. Padded straps tend to feel like they’re sliding off my shoulders, even if they’re not. The lighter straps were easy to tie and gripped nicely. The shoulder and waist straps were a generous length, which I find helpful as an expectant mother. I liked that the carrier was easily reversible, but I do wish the waist strap was a bit heftier. It did grip well and stay in place once adjusted.
NOTE from Valerie of Gracie and Sam:
- I tear rather than cut my straps. This allows the straps to be along the warp of the fabric exactly, making them a bit stronger and removing any chance of stretch. I’d rather adjust my straps intentionally than have the droop during the day because of any unintended bias-based cutting giving them stretch.
- When I put all the pieces together and do my first sewing around, straps (shoulders and waist) get backstitched at their points of insertion as well as in the center of the straps. So all seams that are stressed are already reinforced from the get-go.
- The carrier is turned right side out and top-stitched, adding another set of stitching to everything attached. The straps are box stitched.
**I was sent a Gracie and Sam Mei Tai to review. All opinions are mine and I really, REALLY love this carrier. Amen and amen.**