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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Babywearing 101: How to Tie Mei Tai's and similar carriers

Continuing with Babywearing Month, I'm here to tackle one of my babywearing carrier weaknesses - tying Mei Tai's. I know that that I still have to pause, think and fumble as I use my own Mei Tai's. Fortunately, I was able to get/acquire a new Mei Tai (hybrid/edited) called the Ruxpin that enabled me to go...

FROM THIS

TO THIS...faster, easier and definitely with my son's (3 yrs old!) and hubby's approval.

Photo (left to right): Ruxpin with my daughter (at closing 11 months); Ruxpin with my 3 year old son

What is a Ruxpin?

It's a "Mei Tai upgrade" as what I call it. It functions the same way and the concept is the same. This is now my staple with regards to babywearing on days that it would just be me without any help.
It has a a few features that are not included in the traditional Mei Tai that I really appreciate. The max weight for this carrier is 30 lbs.

These are:
  • Fabric.The cotton & jersey combination is a fab idea! Cotton on the upper section enables a firm fit while the jersey tail-ends enables wearer to pull and stretch to fit/securely and easier without the friction of a thick and sturdy cotton while provide support. The jersey fabric also enables this carrier to have shorter tails since the length can go longer when stretched and retracts when in original position.
  • Back panel support.The a crucial reason why this is carrier rocks! It enables me to affix/place or even babywear alone since this simple panel enables me to pre-fix the back portion without having someone also check & hold its proper position. The rest is easy after someone places my baby unto the carrier since the tails are already in position for pulling and support.
  • Detachable head padding.
    It can work for babies and toddlers. Customization on a per child basis.
  • Interchangeable panel design.
    There are so many designs and colors to chose from; as an added bonus, there's a small pocket on the inside of the panel for convenience.
  • Key/Toy hook/ring.
    This enables the mom to hook up baby's toys, pacifier, her phone, keys, etc for those simple walk around the neighborhood moments
(1) front with head cushion; (2) Back with head cushion; (3) front without head cushion; (4) crucial back panel support

As a guide in helping me (and other babywearer readers here) with any type of Mei Tai, I scoured around the web for easy and visual instruction guides online. The below are a few that I found useful. I hope this would help you in your Mei Tai carriers!
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Mei Tai Photo Instructions (From Obimama.com)

Please read all instructions for front carry and back carring in a mei tai; nuggets of wisdom and babywearing gems are sprinkled throughout.

Standard Front Carry

(1-5) Tie your mei tai ( pronounced MAY tie) comfortably around your waist using a square knot. (8-10) Center your baby in the mei tai body, and lift the mei tai up between baby’s legs. Always keep at least one hand on your baby, or hold baby securely using straps. Practice over a soft surface such as a mattress, and use a mirror or other reflective surface to check your work. You can also enlist the help of a trustworthy spotter.
(11-13) Flip the straps over your shoulders, and cross them in an X on your back, taking care to not twist them. (14-16) Arrange the shoulder pads to your liking, and spread the straps wide across baby’s bottom as shown. (17-19) Pass straps underneath baby’s knees, and tie in a knot. (20) Baby should be high on your chest, not low on your belly. There should be no loose space between you and baby–the carrier should be bandage tight and very supportive. Baby’s face should be visible, her head close enough to kiss, with clear airways.

Front Carry with Lexi Twist

(1-7) Tie your mei tai comfortably around your waist using a square knot. (8-10)Center your baby in the mei tai body, and lift the mei tai up between baby’s legs.Make sure that your carrier is fitted to your torso snugly. (11-12) Flip the straps over your shoulders, taking care to not let them get twisted or bunchy. The wider your straps are, the more comfortable you will be.
 

(13-16) Cross the straps on your back, then bring them to the front and cross them over baby’s bottom (not baby’s sensitive spine). (17-19) Twist the straps, to form a seat. (20-24)Pass the straps under baby’s knees, and tie off in a secure knot. Baby’s knees should always be higher than baby’s bottom.

 Standard Back Carry

If baby can sit unassisted, he may be ready for a back carry. (1-6) Tie on carrier just below bust line, at waist, or on hips depending on age of baby or your particular physical preferences.  (7-9) Lift baby onto your back, positioned squarely. (10) Lift the body fabric between baby’s legs, all the while keeping a secure hand on baby. Tie on your baby over a soft surface such as a mattress, and use a mirror or other reflective surface to check your work. You can also enlist the help of a trustworthy spotter.

(11-12) Holding both straps, carefully bounce baby down into the carrier. Baby will be seated fully in the body of the carrier, with no bunching fabric. (13-14) Pin one strap between your legs while you arrange the other strap. (15-22) Pass the straps across baby’s bottom in an X, creating a wide, supportive seat. You should be able to feel baby’s breath on your neck.
(23-27) To create a Tibetan chest strap, crisscross the tails of the shoulder straps, passing them underneath the opposite strap at armpit level. (28-30) Tie in a square knot. (31-34) Spread the passes across your chest for greater comfort.
 

Back Carry with Lexi Twist

(1-6)Tie on carrier. You can tie the knot off to one side or centered. If baby is small but wishes to have a great view of the world, tie the waist up high on your torso. If you child is very large, long, and heavy, tie the carrier onto your hips so that your pelvis will bear some of the weight. (7-10) Slide baby squarely onto your back Keeping your back tabletop flat, bring the body of the carrier up between baby’s legs.


(11-12) Bounce her deeply into the seat so that there is no wrinkled body fabric and her knees are at a higher level than her bottom. (13-16) Cross the straps over your chest, and then cross them over baby’s bottom. (17-19) Twist the straps over baby’s bottom, creating a sort of a seat. (20-22) Bring the straps back under baby’s knees, and tie off in a square knot.

(23) A double knot is an acceptable option, but will not lie as flat as a square knot. If you have excessively long tails you can tuck them under your waistband or tie a bow. (24-28) Arrange the straps comfortably on your chest and shoulders, and go!

Tibetan Style (from Monkey MeiTai UK)

Tibetan-style is a way of providing extra support during back carries.  It is especially useful when carrying heavier / older children as it takes the pressure off the shoulders.  There are two ways of doing this: knotless, and knotted.  We will detail the knotless first.
When your child is in a secure back carry (please see our Instructions for details on how to do this), untie the shoulder straps and hold the right strap securely between your knees.  Take hold of the left strap, pass it across the front of your chest, and slip it under the right shoulder strap.

 Pass your right hand up under the diagonal formed by the left shoulder strap, and take hold of the strap.  Pull it down firmly to secure the strap.

Take hold of the right shoulder strap, pass it across your chest and under the left shoulder strap.
Pass your left hand up under the diagonal formed by the right shoulder strap, and take hold of the strap.  Pull it down firmly to secure the strap.




To achieve a knotted Tibetan carry, pass the straps diagonally under the opposite straps (forming a cross on your front) and simply knot at your chest.  For both styles, you may also choose to spread the diagonal straps for added comfort.


If you are having trouble with the above, maybe a YouTube Video will work too.
Front Tie / Back Tie / Newborn, respectively

 

Enjoy and happy babywearing!!!