Wearing a Newborn in a Mei Tai: High Back Carries

I’ve shared one way you can get a small baby high on your back using a woven wrap.  If you aren’t into wrapping, a mei tai is another great choice for newborn/small baby back carries (for other recommended newborn/young baby carriers, check out our guide).  I suppose Eleanor isn’t technically a newborn anymore (or maybe she is – when does that stage end?), but this technique works well for any wee baby who you want to get nice and high on your back.

First, a word about mei tais…  Our mei tai page has basic info on styles and brands of mei tais.  But here are a few things to consider if you are thinking about a mei tai for your young baby.

  • While there are many fabulous padded waist mei tais on the market, I think a non-padded waist is a better choice for a small baby.  You don’t really need the extra support a padded waist offers and a non-padded waist allows you to cinch the bottom of the carrier to allow baby to go legs out sooner.  You certainly can use a small sized padded waist mei tai with a newborn, but you’ll probably need to stick to the froggy leg position for a while.  A non-padded waist mei tai is also easy to wear higher on your back as a padded waist is meant to be worn at your waist or hips.
  • If the body of your mei tai is too tall for your baby, simply roll it a time or two to make it the right height.  If you mei tai doesn’t have a built in cinching mechanism, you can use a ribbon.
  • Mei tais often come with hoods or headrests to support baby’s head.
  • Because you can wear a mei tai high on your back, you can back carry much earlier than you can with a buckle carrier.  Remember, a newborn/small baby should always be worn high – her head should be at the nape of your neck.  Most buckle carriers are designed to sit low on your hips so you can’t get a young baby high enough to be safe.  I also don’t feel comfortable recommending a froggy legged back carry in a mei tai so you’ll want something you can cinch if need be.
  • Mei tais are a nice alternative for someone who isn’t a fan of wrapping.  True it does involve tying (although that also allows for a custom fit), but they are quite simple to get on and may feel more secure for someone nervous about back wrapping.
  • There are several easily found mei tais that are well suited for newborns:  Babyhawk (my personal favorite), Kozy, Mei Tai Baby, CatBird Baby, and Freehand.  If you are looking for a wrap conversion to use with a small baby, check out our review of the Hop-Tye.

And now, without further ado, here’s our video tutorial of a mei tai high back carry with a young baby.  Remember, always use a spotter (or practice over the bed) until you are very comfortable with the carry.  Practicing in front of a mirror can help too.  You’ll be a pro in no time!

 

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