Review: First time use of handmade mei tai


I completed my mei tai right on schedule! I wanted to have it done by this weekend so I could use it on our trip to see friends and family.

Later I’ll post pictures and the steps I took, along with the links to sites I used for instruction and inspiration! I’ll also give a more detailed critique of my handiwork and what I will do differently if there is a next time. Which I think there will be, I plan to make a “man-tai” for Alex, as he is much larger than I and loudly proclaims that he will not be caught dead in public wearing a girly bohemian carrier. Maybe I will fashion his to look like a laptop and he’ll be more than happy to wear it 🙂

Conveniently, when I’d completed the main construction of the mei tai, it was time to wake Dexter for his feeding. I began don my mei tai, as instructed by OliviaBolivia, however, it was not quite as easy as she makes it look. Granted, this was my first time compared to probably her 300th time. Therefore, I cut myself some slack and encourage other first-timers to do the same.

I could tell an immediate difference between the mei tai and my devil carrier, the Infantino Easy Rider (yeah right). There was no pinching and none of my vertebrae felt like they were breaking. Dexter seemed almost as weightless as Scandi-fans claimed he would!

However, I soon learned that there are some downsides to the carrier. First, all my ties met in the back, it seemed I had no other choice. And because the straps need to be so wide and of such a sturdy material, those knots can be pretty bulky. When I sat down with Dex still attached, it felt like I’d strategically placed two carefully-selected mini-boulders against my spine. So I couldn’t resist the urge to untie the knots, despite the fact that Dexter was screaming because he’d lost patience with me playing with my new toy.

When I retied him, I tried to remedy this by tying the waist straps at my hip, and by knotting the shoulder straps under his bottom instead of behind my back. Then I tucked all the long strap ends into various parts of the carrier.

It was at this juncture that I learned the importance of positioning the baby just right for his enjoyment. When he was sleepy, he was just fine sitting low in the carrier, but now that he was fed and alert, he wanted to be up where he could see. So I had to retie everything to push him up a little bit higher.

I then decided to test the comfort over time by taking a short walk with him to the mailbox. We were out about 10 minutes, which consisted of walking up and down a flight of stairs, and up and down a steep hill. I was surprised at how comfortable it was. Obviously, not as comfortable as carrying nothing, but great in terms of carrying a nearly 13.5 lb baby. This walk also gave us the opportunity to try out some of the features I’d added, like the sleeping hood (to protect him from the sun, and because he actually did fall asleep as soon as we started walking) and the plastic rings I added for attaching items.

While there are certainly some changes I’d make, as far as the some construction elements and strap design go, I’d give this carrier an A+. I encourage anyone who’s considering a mei tai to go for it!

Life Change, Blog Change, Baby Carrier Change

So. Dexter is now 11 weeks 3 days old (well, 4 days as it’s after midnight now). Things have started settling down. We’re finally getting into a routine, a shaky one, but a routine nonetheless. I’ve been able to start venturing back into the wonderful world of art. I’ve completed one painting, a few crafts for my sister’s baby shower, and started sewing again.
My most recent obsession is making a baby carrier. I’ll post more on that later. Right now I’m using a makeshift wrap from a length of jersey knit I’d planned to use for a dress, but I can’t wear it out because I haven’t cut it and it’s quite unsightly. It comes in very handy around the house though, and Dexter really seems to love it. I can tell he feels very snuggled when he’s in it and it supports his back well so he can look around while I do things. I don’t wear him all the time, I just use it when I’d be carrying him anyway, like when he’s crying right after he wakes up and I’m rushing to fix his bottle while keeping him happy. (For more info on wraps visit Moby. I decided to use the knit I had on hand in order to see if I even liked using it before I committed to one.)

wrap-distance wrap-closeup

This was the first time I attempted the wrap. This piece of cloth is about 4 times too wide, so it’s much bulkier than a typical wrap would be. As you can see, Dexter seems quite cozy. And it’s very comfortable for my back, which is the single reason I started looking for a new carrier. Tip: Do not get a cheap carrier that you have not researched. I skimped and got a $15 carrier so I could take my time deciding what permanent carrier I wanted to use. Even for temporary use I believe this was a mistake. Using that carrier the few times I have has been torture. I believe strongly in protecting your back anyway you can. You only have one back, don’t take it for granted!