Did you know you can do a hip carry in your mei tai? It’s super easy and pretty comfortable. Hip carries can be really wonderful. From a hip carry, your baby can see everything that’s going on in front of or behind you. Hip carries are wonderful for speech development because when you talk to your baby in a hip carry, your baby can see what you are talking about and also watch your mouth moving as you talk. If your baby likes to be carried on your hip and loves looking around at everything, your baby will probably love it!
Before we begin the tutorial, the answers to a couple of common mei tai questions:
How do you say Mei Tai?
It’s pronounced “may tie” – as in “May I tie your mei tai?”
How do I know if my baby is ready for a hip carry?
When you are naturally carrying your baby on the hip, your baby is ready for a hip carry. This usually happens some time between 4 and 6 months, but every baby is different! If you’re not sure, ask your local babywearing educator for help. Links to find an educator near you are at the bottom of this tutorial.
Do I tie it like an apron? Or do I tie it on like a Soft Structured Carrier, non-apron style?
This is going to depend on your mei tai. Check the instructions for your particular mei tai. Generally, if the mei tai has an unstructured and unpadded waist, the manufacturer instructions will say to tie it on like an apron (as shown in this tutorial). If your mei tai has a padded, structured waist, the instructions might say to fold waist band and tie it on like a soft structured carrier. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for your mei tai. For a full explanation of apron versus non apron, see this post.
Now, the tutorial . . . .
Step 1: Locate the waist straps of your mei tai (these are the shorter straps). Tie the mei tai on your waist. I am tying this mei tai on like an apron with the panel hanging down from my waist.
Step 2: Tie a double knot at the opposite hip.
Step 3: Hold your baby on your hip and position baby comfortably with knees slightly higher than bottom.
Step 4: Spread the panel of the carrier up over your baby’s back.
Step 5: Bring the front strap over your opposite shoulder.
Step 6: Supporting baby with one hand, reach behind you and pull the strap straight down to tighten the carry.
Step 7: After pulling straight down, bring the strap at a diagonal across your back.
Step 8: Now bring that strap back toward the front (taking it over baby’s legs). Hold the strap and baby with one hand.
Step 9: With your other hand, locate the strap right beside your arm. Bring this strap under your arm. It can help to pin this strap under your armpit to hold it still.
Step 10: Keeping one hand on baby, reach behind you with the opposite hand. Locate the strap that you just pinned under your arm.
Step 11: Bring this strap straight across your back.
Step 12: Bring the strap back around to the front (taking it over baby’s leg). Tie a double knot under baby’s bottom.
Step 13: For your comfort, pull the front strap away from your neck, out to the outside of your shoulder.
Now you have a super comfortable hip carry in a mei tai! 🙂 The mei tai pictured is a BabyHawk.
If you prefer learning from videos, this tutorial shows how to do a hip carry in a mei tai: