There are several different types of baby carriers out there. The frame structured carriers such as the Kokopax and then next to the soft structured carriers like the ERGObaby Carrier, Boba Baby Carrier or the Belle Baby Carrier there are carriers such as the Mei Tai or Podaegi. Today's review is of my first introduction to a Mei Tai. (My babywearing series photo is also a picture of a Mei Tai from TogetherBe -- look for a review tomorrow!)
While searching around Etsy (preparing my mother's shop) I discovered Big Sister Designs. Through some messages back and forth I found that the shop owner Maria and I have several values and interests in common such as quilting, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing and Christianity. She is easily the type of merchant that I would want to do business with. Browsing around her shop I discovered not only an incredible receiving blanket quilt idea, but also the babywearing baby carrier Mei Tai. I knew nothing about a Mei Tai, but knew that it needed to be included in my series!
*Thanks to Maria of Big Sister Designs for providing a Lavender Mei Tai with purple straps (A very light lavender with white scrolling vines and flowers) for review.*
Oh my goodness am I ever in love!
Upon receiving our Mei Tai I knew that it would be my favorite. The colors are so me and absolutely perfect and whimsical. At first I noticed how soft the shoulder straps were with their padding and was certain it would be quite comfy. At this time all I had to compare it to was my Belle Baby Carrier. It seems that a Mei Tai was similar, except you tie the straps instead of using buckles. The straps are very long, but this allows you to tie on your baby in all sorts of ways such as front, back or hip positions. I think this could definitely be a carrier that I keep available and could simply put on while I am out on the go like the Belle Baby Carrier as long as I watch that I do not drag the straps on the ground while adjusting myself.
Similar to my experience before, AppleBlossom is a short little girl and I needed to figure a way to adjust the carrier to fit her just perfectly. With the Belle Baby Carrier it was to twist the shoulder straps a few times. Now with the Big Sister Designs Mei Tai, I tried two different methods and both worked like a charm. In one instance, I twisted the shoulder straps a few times and in another I rolled the waist strap a time or two. This shortened the body of the carrier and worked excellently! Maria was there to help me and answered all my questions so quickly and helpfully! She also told me another method of fitting the carrier for a small/shorter baby that she used with her child that was to place a folded up blanket in the carrier and the baby sat on that until tall enough to see out. She instructed me that using the blanket raised her body and let her legs dangle a little straighter down while getting used to riding/being carried with her legs spread apart. (This reminds me of how the Heart2Heart works in the ERGObaby Carrier.)
Info from the shop:
Keep your baby close to you while keeping your hands free. Easier to put on than a Wrap, Mei Tai baby carriers can carry your baby (facing in) on your front or your back with 2 knots. Mei Tais distribute your baby's weight between your shoulders and your waist making them quite comfortable to wear. (Even my husband will wear this!)
Big Sister Designs' Mei Tai baby carriers have padded shoulder straps, which measure approximately 70 inches long by 3 1/2 inches wides and a waist strap, which measures approximately 60 inches long by 4 inches wide. All seams are reinforced for extra strength (these will even hold my 30 pound daughter).
Baby needs to have reasonably good head control to ride in a Mei Tai baby carrier, usually achieved around 4 months.
Machine wash cold, tumble dry low.
Wearing instructions included.
The awesome instructions come step by step with pictures along the way and it was so simple to put on once I realized what I was doing. The challenges for me were with learning a new way of carrying such as the side carry or back carry. Once I did it about twice I had it down and now I'm ecstatic about just how beautiful this thing is! (And Big Sister Designs takes custom orders!!)
This Mei Tai is my favorite of the ones that I have tried. I would not hesitate to recommend Big Sister Designs to anyone looking for an affordable baby carrier Mei Tai (as well as other small quilts and other clothing crafts). Located in Brier, Washington and solely run by a SAHM you cannot go wrong with Big Sister Designs.
Network with Big Sister Designs:
Go to www.bigsisterdesigns.etsy.com and use discount code "AB10" for $10 off Mei Tais listed in the shop (excluding requests for other fabrics) and 10% off everything else listed in the message to seller section and wait for a revised invoice before paying. New fabrics coming soon! Also note that Maria said:
In celebration of Earth Day and the first day of spring on March 20th, I will be having a sale running then through the end of the month. Skirts and aprons will be 20% off. The 10% offered to your readers will be in addition to that 20% if they order during that time.