Last week we hosted the traveling Meitai baby carrier from Kol Kol Baby Carriers. We had it with us for all of one week and we fell in love with it completely. Get a head’s up about baby wearing here.
My current collection of baby wearing stuff has a stretchy wrap, a Soft Structured Carrier with buckle and a Ring Sling. I had always assumed a Mei Tai was complicated, especially after my messy wrapping attempts with my Moby wrap. So when my traveling carrier arrived I was transported back to the early days when babyT was a new-born and I would struggle and be dissuaded by family from wrapping him. I think a large part of my discomfort with early baby wearing can be attributed to family dissuasion. But maybe I should have persisted and made them see the benefits of it in practice, as I did with cloth diapers. (Yes, with me every topic has to include something about cloth diapers.)
So after a day of it just lying there, I mustered enough courage to read and re-read the manual and then watch Bayiravi’s Youtube video. And so I tried it on and babyT was up in less than two minutes. No kidding! Mind = Blown. And babyT was so comfortable in it that he kicked a right old fuss to be taken out of the house immediately. I think this picture shows his desperation to get out. Cursed myself for not wearing decent clothes, grabbed the keys and we were out the door… babyT squealed in delight. I knew we had a winner then.
We roamed around the apartment complex for about ten minutes. BabyT felt light as a feather, I felt I had nothing on… no complex harnesses, no yards upon yards of fabric, no plastic buckles or metal rings. It felt like another part of my attire. I was confident of expanding my geography and we went for a long walk. We were out for a good hour and I was beyond impressed.
What is a Mei Tai?
It is a traditional South East Asian baby carrier. It has a front panel to which fabric straps are attached, forming the shoulder straps. There is also a panel with strap to tie around your waist. Kol Kol’s Mei Tai also comes with an attached hood to shield baby from the sun or for discreet nursing. (Image source: Google)
The Kol Kol Mei Tai comes with an adjustable waist. It has Velcro sewn in inside the waist belt, such that the front panel can be made narrower or wider so as to fit a new-born baby as well as an older baby. Similarly, you can also fold over the front panel before tying it on, to reduce the height of the carrier. You can see how this is done here.
- Tie the waist panel around yourself and tighten at the back with two knots. Tight as you can.
- Take your baby and place him on your chest, this should take the natural M position, with knees higher than the bum.
- Take the front panel up around baby’s body and toss the shoulder straps over your back.
- While one hand holds baby, take one of the two shoulder straps and cross it over, then the other. Both the straps should make a cross on your back. The straps should be pulled tight, spread them out nicely for a better hold.
- Then bring them over to the front, and cross over baby’s bottom (on top of the front panel.) Twist them twice, no need for knots. I like to spread the straps out a bit, before twisting them, to give a good support to baby’s bottom.
- Pass the straps from under baby’s knees to your back and tie a double knot. And you are done.
For a better pictorial description, look here. Or for a video, see this.
What I love:
- The fabric is 100% cotton, super soft, breathable – which is a boon for our Indian weather.
- It is strong enough to hold an almost ten kg baby, yet light and comfortable at the same time, without any bulk.
- No plastic buckles or metallic rings. It’s cotton in and out.
- Feels like second skin. If you wear it correctly baby even seems weightless in it. Don’t take my word for it, but daddy dearest also loved the complete hands free, comfort that came with wearing babyT in it.
- Vibrant colours & patterns. Kol Kol has very Indian patterns as well as some gorgeous culture neutral prints.
- Very easy to get on – I am a klutz when it comes to wrapping and even need help getting our soft structured carrier on, but I think I can safely say I am a pro at wearing babyT in the MeiTai. And not just me, but I tied it on to my dad, and then taught my husband to wear babyT in it. Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can.
What I thought could be better:
- After about an hour of wearing babyT in this, I found he had slid down a bit. However I asked the experts and they have told me it is normal. This can be avoided by making sure the Mei Tai is worn tightly and this gets better with practice.
- I so wish they were reversible, two designs in one carrier would be so great. Wishful thinking.
My ratings for this baby carrier:
- Ease of use: 5/5
- Appearance: 4/5 (just being stingy)
- Value for money: 5/5
- Baby’s comfort: 5/5
- Baby wearer’s comfort: 4/5 (stingy again)
The Mei Tai has been elevated to number one position in my baby wearing charts. I am so glad I was pushed by a friend to sign up for the traveling carrier program and even happier that I was selected to try it on. I am sorely missing the carrier, now that it has been passed on to the next person in this program. I am waiting for Bayiravi to add some new prints to the MT collection and look forward to welcoming a piece soon.