Carrying babies directly on oneself is increasingly popular and used. In addition to the classic baby carriers and the already well-known baby slings, there is also the Mei Tai , a semi-structured support of Asian origin.
Halfway between a long sling and an ergonomic baby carrier, it has structured parts that guarantee the baby a stable and safe support, and parts in simple fabric to tie and tie. It is generally used from 4 months up to 3 years of age. Let’s get to know it more closely and find out what its characteristics are.
Mei Tai, what is it
The Mei Tai is a support for carrying the baby of Asian inspiration (as the name suggests). It is a cross between a classic baby carrier and a long sling that can hold children up to 3 years, for a maximum of about 18 kg.
Structure of the Mei Tai
Let’s see how it is made and which parts it is composed of:
- a rectangular central body that supports a child from which 2 pairs of fabric bands start
- abdominal bands, pair of shorter bands, to tie the Mei Tai to the wearer’s waist
- long bands , copy of bands useful for securing the child to the body of the person who supports it. They must be crossed on the bearer’s torso and under the baby’s bottom, and then be knotted so as to lock and support the baby
Mei Tai is not recommended for infants, as they are unable to hold their heads on their own. The ideal is to start using it from 4-5 months of age. It can be used up to 3 years.
Generally, being packaged with triple warp cotton, it guarantees excellent weight resistance. For this it can bear children up to 18 kg in weight. Which means that, under average normal conditions, it can be used for up to about 3 or 4 years.
Mei Tai in Asia
The original term mei-tai comes from Cantonese. Mei means ‘to carry on the shoulders’ while Tai means ‘band’ or ‘strap’.
The custom of carrying babies on the back, or in any case close to the mother’s body, is centuries old and typical of many civilizations, both Eastern, African and South American.
Mei Tai and long baby sling: the differences
In the world of babywearing , the Mei Tai is considered a cross between the long baby sling and the baby carrier.
The most difference between the two systems for carrying babies on the body:
- Headband : it is an unstructured baby carrier simply made up of long bands of fabric to be tied in various ways.
- Mei Tai, is a semi structured support, since it has a basic structure set.
Practicality of Mei Tai
This support is more practical than the long band and the way to wear it is much simpler and more immediate than a long band.
Here are its advantages as a more practical baby support:
- the binding process is simple and intuitive
- the fabric bands are shorter
- the bulk is minimal as there are no excessive fabric scraps around the waist
- it is easily adjustable even while walking, without having to remove the child and undo the entire binding
The advantages of Mei Tai
The benefits are intuitive:
- Extremely comfortable (for parent and child)
- Practical and intuitive to use
- Distributes the load evenly without putting too much pressure on the parent’s shoulders and back
- You can carry the baby in various positions
- Packaged with a durable cotton
- It holds up well the weight of the child up to 18 kg
- Adjustable as the child grows
- Free of hooks and rings, it has a minimal design
How to wear the Mei Tai
This fabric can be used in the 3 canonical positions:
- On the side
- on the back
Mei Tai ligature
Let’s see below how to make the ligature:
- fasten the pair of lower bands to the wearer’s waist
- place the baby in the semi-rigid frame
- cross the pair of upper bands (first on the bearer’s torso and then under the baby’s bottom)
- knotted to complete the binding
The different positions of Mei Tai
Let’s now review the different positions, focusing on the pros and cons of each of them.
For the frontal position we can make a distinction between:
- frog , suitable for newborns (although Mei Tai is still recommended from 4-5 months). Inside, the baby’s legs are curled up in a fetal position, which is a very natural position.
- kangaroo , perfect when the baby is able to keep his head erect, very comfortable to breastfeed discreetly. The baby’s legs must remain spread around the wearer’s belly.
Comfortable position even if a little unbalanced as it makes the child’s weight hang all over one side of the body. Therefore suitable for short-term journeys.
On the back
Perfect position for when the child gets bigger and heavier. On a technical level, this is the position that requires the most attention and practice. The first few times the ideal is to get help from another person.
For all positions, it is obviously advisable to follow the instructions included in the product in detail. There are also many tutorials on the net to follow.
High useful tips on using Mei Tai
Position of the child
For the maximum comfort of the child and the health of his posture, here are some suggestions to follow about the position that the child must assume:
- guarantee the child a physiological position : symmetrical, vertical and spread-sitting
- the bottom should be lower and the knees higher
- the head at kiss height
- the buttocks at the level of the wearer’s navel ; it is okay a little higher, but never below
- the feet must be parallel to the floor
- the newborn must be guaranteed physiological kyphosis, the C-shaped curvature of the spinal column
The safety of Mei Tai
It is also important to have certain precautions for the safety of the baby:
- always close each tie with a double knot
- do not wear the sling with the child in the car , bicycle or other means (public transport is to be used only for short journeys)
- make sure that the baby’s nose and mouth are always free from any obstacle
- check the constant adherence between the child’s body and that of the bearer: closeness means safety
Mei Tai Mhug
Mhug has patented an original model: more comfortable, versatile and safe but also beautiful, more suited to the lifestyle of modern Western mothers.
Mei Tai Sweet contact
Dolce Contatto is an artisan workshop that creates baby wraps, mei tai and accessories (shawl, neck warmer) with jacquard and diagonal weave fabrics woven in Italy.
Each piece is therefore unique and customizable. Great attention is also given to the creation of the designs for the fabrics.
Mei Tai Didymos
Didymos is a manufacturer of various types of baby sling founded by Erika Hoffmann when she was pregnant with twins.
His innovative idea was therefore born out of a personal practical need and was inspired by African, Asian and Latin American cultures, where it was (and still is) customary to “wear” your baby with a sling. This practice is now increasingly widespread also in Europe but which, until a few years ago, was supplanted by prams and strollers.
The brand comes from the homonymous Greek word which means “twins”.
“Wearing the baby” is not only comfortable to move around, but it is also a very intimate experience, to promote the bond between parent and child and create the deepest feeling of security.
Mei Tai, the advantages for the parent-child relationship
Let us now analyze the psychological-emotional advantages that the babywearing technique , in general, brings for the development of the child and for the parent-child relationship.
- Satisfies the baby’s need for contact , making detachment from the womb less traumatic
- It gives a sense of protection and security, the ideal position to face the stimuli of the still unknown outside world
- It makes the baby more peaceful and happy and will tend to cry much less
- It stimulates the thermor and golatrice function of the newborn
- It is healthy for the mother who, having the baby always with her, can move with more ease and think a little more about herself too
- It also allows dads to connect with the child
- It guarantees comfort and convenience for both
- It facilitates communication also through gestures and expressions