Friday, October 8, 2010

The putting on and the taking off: Back Carry with Mei Tai

All you need is a couch or a soft chair, the mei tai, a baby, and yourself.
Lay the mei tai out somewhat like the straps aren't all in a huddle:
(I don't always have them so distinctly spread out...but for you guys, I did.)

When Natasha was wee,
I always had the sleep hood tied to the shoulder straps to support her floppy head.
That helped keep her head from flopping
back when I brought her up to my back.
Now though, she has enough head support, I don't always have it tied.
In this little demonstration, the sleep hood is not tied.
In fact, I didn't even make it cute. It's just hanging there. Oh well.

So, you'll want to situate the baby in the center of the mei tai,
with her bum close to the top of the waist strap:

Back up to the couch, and bring the waist straps around to tie in front.
Tie a double knot at your natural waistline, not your hips.
Scooch (is that a word?!) the baby's bum close to your back, above the waist strap.
If you have an itty-bitty baby, her legs can sit like a frog.
(That is, with her feet flat and knees up, spread apart.)
If you have an older baby, say, 3-4 months or so, her legs can go out.
I was still trying to put Natasha in a froggy position, until her legs kept coming out while she was on my back. I then realized, oh! I bet she's big enough to ride with her legs out!
So, position them above the waist strap and out to the sides.
Either way, keep the bum low, and the knees up.

Once you get that nice and snug, (and I do mean, nice and snug,)
reach behind you and grasp each shoulder strap.

Carefully bring the straps up over your shoulders.
In the process, the baby comes too!

You can stand up now!
You might have to shift things around a bit some...
Either to get baby's feet into the froggy position
if they slipped during the "coming up" process,
or get them "un-stuck" and properly out to the sides.

You want baby's tummy to be close to your back, with no gaps.
So hike baby pretty close and snug to yourself.

Now. You have two options of tying the straps.
My favorite, because it's more comfortable, and creates less of'busty appearance' in front, is the cross method.
Plus, it gives me more freedom of motion for my arms.

Simply cross the straps in front.

Next, bring the straps around and cross them over the baby's back.

Some people tie another double knot here, but I don't. As long as I have it nice and snug, we're okay without an extra knot. (Plus, my straps aren't long enough for that extra knot.)

Tying the straps across the baby's back is especially important for a wee baby who might not have such good support yet. Truthfully, I haven't tried tying them under Natasha's bum yet, which is what you do with an older baby. I like the secure feeling of the straps being across her back.

Oops, her arm is above the sleep hood.

Stop and re-do all you've already done, and try again:
You might have to do a little jig to get baby nice and snug to yourself...

Then, bring the straps to the front, and tie a double knot:

The alternative to crossing the shoulder straps in the front, is to bring them under your arms like a backpack. I started out tying them like this, but found they dug under my arms too much. I don't know if it's because the straps are slightly wide, or what. But I prefer the cross method.
There are other tying methods, and one I've heard of is the "Tibetan". But, I don't know how to do it...I've just stuck with this for now.
If you tie them backpack style, you do the same as the cross method in the back.
Cross them across baby's back and bring around to the front to tie in a double knot.

Hmm...I think that sock is going to fall off...

Eventually, you'll need to feed baby, or take her off for some reason or another. :) To do that, untie the shoulder straps from your waist and carefully back up to that couch again...attempting to get baby's bum as close to the cushion as possible:

Like she's sitting on the couch:
Slowly, and carefully, let down the mei tai and baby onto the couch:

Then you can untie the waist strap, turn around and see who's been riding on your back this whole time!

P.S. I know I always referred to my baby as a she...because...she IS a she.
But back carries work exactly the same for a little boy too. ;)


  1. When I ride in Mommy's back in the mei tai, she tiesthe waist strap so the carrier is at her side, gets me situated and then holds the top straps, and slides me around to the back... That way we don't need a couch or chair or anything - I'm 13 months though and we JUST started that a few months ago - it probably wouldn't work with an itty bitty. Maybe I'll post a tutorial, too - that description is a bit confusing. :)

  2. Great tutorial! And Natasha is so adorable!

    I have a youtube video of how to get them on and off your back without starting from the couch. I started wearing Maya on my back when she was about 4 or 5 months old and used this method from the beginning (cause noone ever told me about the couch method! :)). I did do it over a bed the first few times, but after that we were both confident enough to venture away from the bed! :)

    I was using an Ergo, but used the same method when I had a mei tai :)


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