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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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Published in Babywearing


  1. Mar


    Perfect timing with this post! My Mei Tai was delivered today, cant wait to take it out for a test run tomorrow.

    • Meredith


      Hope you love your MT – let us know how it goes!

  2. I just refound my love for my MT and back carries with my one year old, I wish could just teach her that yanking Mummy’s hair was not as fun for Mummy as it was for her.

    • Meredith


      Yes – that’s one of the hazards of the back carry! I had some luck wearing a nursing necklace for Callum to play with when he was in that stage. Glad you found the MT love again though!

  3. Emma


    A nursing necklace is a great idea will have to give it a go.

  4. Erin


    Are you sure this is for a two month old? The baby in the video looks way older. Just tried it with my 4 month old and his body and legs are way too short for this to work.

    • Meredith


      Definitely is a two month old there – although I do have big babies 😉 I’d also recommend mastering a front carry first!

  5. Teresa


    What does this mean when talking about making the MT body shorter “If you mei tai doesn’t have a built in cinching mechanism, you can use a ribbon”?

    • Meredith


      Simply tie a ribbon near the waist band to cinch in the body a bit 🙂

  6. Teresa


    BTW, love your website and all the videos. I’m a FTM and am diving into the world of carriers. I have a stretchy wrap, a mei tai, an Ellaroo on the way, and I’m looking for a ring sling now. Your website, in addition to my local babywearing group have been a huge help. Thanks!

  7. Stacey


    Excellent video! My little one is just over 3 months and is wanting to peer around at everything. Thus he doesn’t want to be in the front carry anymore.

  8. Tiffany


    I’m glad I found this video! I just got my first MT and I wasn’t sure if I could place my 2 1/5 month old in a back carry position. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Heather


    I am a first time mom with minimal support … Your videos have been beyond helpful! Thank you! I am going to try the back carry tomorrow 🙂

  10. Katie


    I really struggle getting the shoulder straps over and then under baby’s legs. Can I just go under and allow the panel to support their weight or do the straps need to go over their legs before going under?

    • Meredith


      Over under is best practice – it helps to close off the sides of the MT and prevent a wiggler from sliding out the side.

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