Category Archives: Mei Tais and other Asian Style Carriers

Babywearing on the Cheap: Saturday August 17th 2013 Meeting Topic

Our group meets the first Monday and the third Saturday of every month. The Monday meetings are open help times to try on carriers and get help with carriers you may already own. The Saturday meetings usually have a topic presented by one of our VBE’s or a guest speaker for the first 30 minutes of the meeting. Our latest topic was “Babywearing on the Cheap”. Once the topic is presented the meeting opens up to open help. There is a VBE at each “carrier station” to help you try on carriers.

Our VBE Courtney started us off this past Saturday’s meeting talking about how you can babywear within a budget you are comfortable with. The comparison of cars was presented as in some people drive porches and others drive a more affordable car. Baby carriers are the same way, there are offerings at just about any price point. At the bottom is the handout that was given out at the meeting. Carriers with an asterisk are available in our lending library.

If you are in the market for a soft structure carrier (SSC) on a budget The Boba Air which is one of lending library’s most recent carriers is of the most affordable SSC on the market, available new for under $75. For under $100 the Action Baby Carrier, Pognae, Moby Go and Connecta are available. Most of these are available in our lending library. Our lending library also offers the Boba 3G, Ergo, Onya, Scootababy, and Tula all for under $150. Other carriers available for that under $150 are the Beco, Catbird Baby Pikkolo, Angelpack and BabyHawk.

Mei Tais are another option you can find at affordable prices. For under $100 Kozy and Catbird Baby are avaiable to try in our library and the BabyHawk is another option. For under $150 our lending library hosts a Chimparoo Mei Tai.

Ring Slings are available for under $75 such as a Sleeping Baby Productions (SBP) or the Maya Wrap Ring Sling. Our library has an SBP carrier. For under $100 there are ring slings offered by Sakura Bloom, Snuggly Baby, Comfy Joey, BBSling all available in our library. Chimparoo also offers a ring sling fo under $100.

Woven Wraps are avaiable at many different price points, there are many that are available on a budget. For under $75 there is Walter’s Organic and The Wrap Nap Fairy. Our Library has a Wrapsody Bali Breeze, Colimacon et Cie (C & C) and a Chimparoo woven wrap all available new for under $100. Also available under $100 are Amazonas. Under $150 offers many more options. Our library has a Doncino, Hoppediz, Girasol, BBSleen and Didymos that could all be found for $150. Also available for $150 would be Storchenwiege, Easy Care and Little Frog.

All of the above are available for new at the prices mentioned but you might be able to find many of them at a similar or even lower price second hand. Although you should keep in mind that babycarriers do hold their market value. For buying used carriers some great resources include the “Babywearing Swap” group on Facebook as well as the “Babywearing on a Budget” another Facebook Group. Thebabywearer.com has forums for buying, selling and trading as well.

Many people often wonder if they could just make something or Do-it-Yourself (DIY). There are many DIY options that our VBE Kirsteen discussed at the meeting. A stretchy wrap is an easy DIY project as no sewing skills are required, as they can be made from Stretchy Jersey fabric that does not fray. A DIY wrap can also be made but does require sewing as it would need to be made from medium or bottom weight Linen, Cotton or Osenburg are the most commonly used. These fabric would need to be hemmed. Another DIY project that requires just a big more skill is the DIY Ring Sling. The same fabrics that can used for a woven wrap could also be used to make a ringsling. The key to making a DIY ringsling is quality materials like the use of gutermann thread. The rings for a DIY ring sling should be purchased from slingrings.com, which are tested for babywearing the rings should NOT be welded rings. Mei Tais and SSC could also be a DIY project but would need to only be attempted by someone with a relatively good experience with sewing. DIY Mei Tai’s can even be constructed from a table cloth as long as their is only a diagonal stretch not a horizontal or vertical stretch tot he fabric. http://www.sleepingbaby.net/ is a great resource for more in-depth DIY infomation and patterns.

Our VBE’s are avaiable at the meetings to answer or offer suggestions for any questions you may have. Attending a meeting is really best way to find out what carrier works for you. As our VBE Beth likes to say, Carriers are like jeans, what might fit me will probably not fit you. Babywearing can be an expensive hobby but there are many ways in which you can keep your baby close and still stay within your personal budget.

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Tip Tuesday- Mei Tai straps

By CS

This next tip is pretty easy but I’ll admit that it took someone sharing it with me before I realized what a good idea it is.  This tip is about mei tai straps.  I am using the library’s Catbird Baby Mei Tai with my 14 month old.  When wearing a mei tai or a SSC it is very important to undo the wrap strap last.  This is so your baby doesn’t fall.  It is easy to know the waist strap on an SSC but it can be trickier with a mei tai.

Here I am tying on the mei tai.
Now, adding my son.
Crossing the straps over his butt and then going under his legs like normal.
Okay, here is the trick.  When you tie the straps, always tie them above the waist strap.
This way, when it is time to remove the carrier, you will know to always untie the top strap first.
This is now something I always do. I hope you find this as simple and helpful as I do.
Concert

Concert Wearing- Take 2

By HD

I have written before about wearing babies at concerts, but wanted to revisit this topic since I now have bigger babies. One child is 16 months

and the other is almost four.

We recently attended a show that did not allow strollers.The easiest thing was to load up both boys to carry them in. I typically use a SSC that can be used interchangeably. This time, I  added the Kozy mei tai from our library to my concert gear. Daddy carried one

and I carried the other.

The venue had a very steep hill that was not at all safe for my little guy to walk on. Carrying my older boy made it easy to manuever crowds (and walk faster than a snail). Both had a great time and fell asleep during the second set.

Easy to lay down my sleeping toddler right in the carrier!

Bamberoo Mei Tai Review

By HD

 

Bamberoo Mei Tai

Reviewed with child age: 16 months

The Bamberoo MT from the BWI Peoria library has the regular style body (which is a bit more structured than many other mei tai carriers) with extra long straps. For me, extra long straps are a big bonus since I prefer to be able to tie Tibetan (adding a chest strap).

Long straps give a few more tying options and a little more to your babywearing style! Long straps can also be helpful when parents have different body sizes. 

I wore this carrier to the farmer’s market, grocery shopping and on walks. My 16 month old felt even lighter than he does in a soft structured carrier (my usual carrier) and I could easily carry him long distances. 

Using a mei tai carrier is fairly easy to learn. With my 16 month old, I use a back carry and found that after a couple of uses I had the hip scooting and the tying down pat. The tying takes a bit more time than a buckle, so I would probably use something different for quick in and out trips, but for those mid length trips, the extra time is worth the comfort. Mei tais make it easy to get just the right amount closeness in your carry and are easily adjusted.

Bamberoo carriers come in a variety of colors and patterns. They also make soft structured carriers and wrap conversions. Custom work is available. They are in high demand, so start looking for yours soon!

http://www.bamberoobaby.com/

http://hyenacart.com/stores/Bamberoo/

Chimparoo Mei Tai Review

By CS

 

The Chimparoo Mei Tai is different thanany other mei tai that I have tried and I really liked it. The key difference is that the mei tai is made out of woven wrap material. Chimparoo has their own wraps and they used this as a basis for this carrier. Since the material is so supportive, they do not need a stiffer interior canvas panel that many mei tais use. Using the woven wrap material also made the mei tai very soft and snuggly. I thought I could get a tighter fit with my son than I could with other traditional mei tais. The Chimparoo Mei Tai in our BWI Peoria library is a pretty blue and purple colorway, but there are lots of good options on their website.

I used this met tai primarily with my eight month old son. He weighs about 18 lbs. Something I really liked about this carrier is that both the height and width are adjustable. I synched the base in a little bit so he didn’t have quite as far of leg spread, and I also shortened it so he could look around. We wore it out while hiking and it performed very well. I had him in a front carry during the hike and he fell asleep. There is a built in hood that rolls up, so I unsnapped and used it to support his little head. I also did a back carry with my son in this carrier and I was able to get him really high. I tied the waist straps close under my chest and he was able to look over my shoulder. This extended the amount of time that he was content on my back.

Another thing, is this carrier was my gateway carrier for nursing. I hadn’t really mastered nursing in carriers until I tried it is this one. I don’t know if it was this carrier’s flexibility in supporting my son or something else but since mastering nursing in this carrier, I have been able to replicate with other carriers. It was also very discrete.

I like to get my money’s worth in acarrier, so any carrier I can also use with my 25 pound two year old daughter is a plus. I adjusted both the width and height to accommodate her (very easy to do quickly.) The wrap material was sufficient to support her comfortably while I cooked dinner. I was pleased with the height of the carrier on her back. I did not have the height at the maximum and the weight limit of the carrier is 30 lbs so she still has some growing room.

The adjustability in the width and some additional features allow this mei tai to be used with very young babies as well. I am looking forward to hearing what a mother with a newborn thinks of this Chimparoo.

Like some wraps, this carrier was slightly slippy and I did readjust. The carrier was brand new when I tried it and I think that this should get better as the carrier gets worn more.

Finally, this carrier is good for summer usage. I think it would be fairly cool due to the lack of interior paneling. It also folds up pretty small to tuck into a diaper bag or stash in a car. If you are a mei tai fan or if you haven’t loved mei tais before I recommend trying the Chimparoo as it is completely different from other mei tais. There is a 10% discount for BWI Peoria members as well.

 

 

What Can You Do While Babywearing? Get a Haircut!

By KS

Get a haircut! Or actually, nurse a baby while getting a haircut! At almost 4 weeks, I’m not ready to leave him with a sitter to get my hair cut, so my wonderful sister-in-law made a house-visit. Baby wasn’t in the mood for a bouncy-chair, so he got to hang out in the Catbird Mei-Tai. He, of course, got hungry in there so I loosened the strap to lower him down to nurse in the carrier (that’s why the positioning is lower than I normally would wear him). When she cut the front I held a towel up to keep the hair off of him, and he slept right through it!

Kozy Review

By B

Review of the Kozy Mei Tai

Kozy has been around for a long time! This is a name that babywearers have heard of, have come to know and respect. If you buy a Kozy and go to resell it a few years down the road, you’ll be able to. People will know of this brand. It can be harder to resell the carrier you bought from the hot WAHM at the time who, 3 years later, isn’t making carriers anymore (says the voice of experience).

Kozys have a curved headrest to offer additional head support when needed. The headrest can fold down for a taller baby, but fold back up if baby goes to sleep. The body is a little taller and wider than some other carriers on the market. You can roll it down for a smaller baby, unroll it for a larger one. The specifications: body is 17″ wide x 22″ high. Top straps are 65″, bottom straps are 30″ on a standard size. You can get XL straps, 80″ and 40″ as well. If you want to cross the straps over baby’s bum and tie them behind your back, you’ll probably want the XL straps, same with if you want to do a “Lexi twist”. I’d consider myself average size and I tie these under baby’s bottom.The waist straps on this are angled, rather than straight, which can fit some bodies better.

Shown here with my just shy of 5 months old.

Gratuitous baby adorableness shot

Kozy had the absolute best, most comprehensive mei tai tying instructions I’ve seen. They have pics and instructions for just about anything you’d want to do with your mei tai.

I love that they are a family owned and run company. You can read their story here. It’s nice dealing with a company run by the sort of people you’d like to hang out with. Kozy is definitely that company. Everyone I’ve dealt with is really as nice as can be.

These carriers run towards the more affordable side, with the basic model starting at $69. You can upgrade to cute fabric, add extra long straps or a pocket for an extra fee. Kozys also come with an adorable fabric tote.

They can be worn reversed for a different look, a nice option if you want a print, but your spouse wants something plainer.

Kozys, like other mei tais, are great for nursing. I think mei tais are the easiest carrier to nurse in. I just untie, lower baby and retie. You can a lot of good coverage, great for stealth nursing in public.

Ignore the weird face I’m making and who knows what’s on my sleeve, but I am discreetly nursing here.

Kozys are a great choice for someone looking for an affordable carrier that can go the distance, from infant to toddler, with a lot of versatility.

 

Tip Tuesday- Lexi Twist

Today we will talk about the Lexi twist.  The Lexi twist can be used with both woven wraps and Mei Tai’s.  It can provide extra support for bigger kids when used under the bum, it can help keep leaners from leaning away from you and it can be used with little newborns to keep the pressure off of their body.  You can use the Lexi twist in front carries or back carriers.

 

 

First start with baby on your back with both shoulder straps coming over your shoulders.

Bring both shoulder straps under your arm and over baby’s legs.

Cross the shoulder straps over one another.

 

 

Then cross them over each other a second time.

Bring back under baby’s legs and tie in front as you normally tie off with a knot.

In a front carry you can start off the same way with both straps coming under your arms.  I am using a Kangaroo carry here with the shoulders flipped.

Bring both straps over the legs.

 

Twist one strap over the other strap twice.

 

Then bring both straps under baby’s legs and to the back to tie in a knot.

For a newborn you would start the same way with both straps coming under your arms

 

 

Come over baby’s legs.

Do the twist below the baby’s bum.

Finish by bringing the straps below baby’s legs so that the strap is on your belly.  Bring to the back and tie in a knot.