Photo-Tutorial: Newborn Front Carry in a Meh Dai

A meh dai can do a wonderfully comfortable and secure carry with a newborn!  A meh dai is a baby carrier that has a panel to support the baby, two short straps (which are for your waist) and two long straps (which are for your shoulders).  It’s quick and easy to use.  This photo-tutorial will show you how to use your meh dai to do a newborn front carry.

Step 1:  Hold your carrier by the waist straps (the shorter straps) with the decorative panel turned toward you.

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Step 2:  Decide where to tie the waist straps.

Remember that your newborn is quite small and you want their head to be on the flat part of your chest just below your collarbone.  For some caregivers, it works out to the the waist straps at the natural waist, but for taller caregivers, sometimes it works best to tie at the ribcage.  I’m tall with a long torso, so I tie the panel just below my bust line for a newborn.  This puts the newborn’s head nice and high on my chest.  I also find that the waistband lowers a bit after I put baby in it, and that starting with it higher on my body makes it easier for me to find the right placement.  You may need to play around with where to tie the waistband to find the right placement for you.

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Step 3:  Fold the waist band forward once or twice.

The first time you do this, you will need to figure out how far to fold the panel to fit your newborn.  My newborn in the images was quite big at 1 month and 12 pounds, so I only folded the waistband one time.  However, if your newborn is 8-9 pounds, you will likely need to fold the waist band forward twice.  Check the minimum weight requirement for your carrier and do not use it until your baby meets the minimum for your particular carrier.  For most brands, the minimum weight is 8 pounds.


Step 4:  Tie the waistband on with a snug double knot.

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Step 5:  Use your hand to scrunch the panel.

The distance from one knee to the other knee on your baby is probably about the length of your hand.  You want the panel to extend from knee to knee but not past the knee.  Scrunch the panel until it about the length of your hand.

Step 6:  Pick up your baby and hold them on your shoulder as if you are about to burp the baby.

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Step 7:  Center the baby on your body and take a moment to get baby comfortably positioned.

Baby’s knees should be slightly higher than their bottom.  For more about newborn positioning, see this post.  I’ll link it at the bottom of this post too.

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Step 8:  Support the baby with one hand.  With the other hand, bring the panel between your baby’s knees.

For these directions, we are keeping baby’s legs out.  It is also possible to do a legs in carry with a newborn and some babies prefer having legs in.  I recommend trying legs out first and see how it feels because I find that most babies over 8 pounds (which is the minimum weight for most meh dai carriers) are happies legs out.  If your baby doesn’t seem comfortable legs out, try legs in next.

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Step 9: Supporting your baby with one hand, smooth the panel up and over your baby’s back.

Note the baby’s positioning in this photo.  Baby’s knees are higher than baby’s bottom.  I am pushing up slightly on the baby’s ankle or foot to help position the baby with knees above bottom.

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Step 10:  Bring both shoulder straps over your shoulders.  Keep a hand on baby while you do this.

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Step 11:  With one hand on baby, reach behind you with the other hand.  Pull the second strap that you feel down to tighten the carry.

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Step 12: After tightening by pulling down, pull the strap across your back.

Pull down on the strap and then across your back.  A lot of times when someone is first using a meh dai, they pull the strap across their back without pulling down first.  If you forget to pull down, the shoulder strap will be positioned high on your back, which can be uncomfortable after a while.  Remember, pull down first, then over.  Taking the extra moment to pull down on the strap ensures that your shoulder straps will be positioned nice and low on your back in a comfortable X.

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Step 13:  Hold the first strap that you worked with in front of you and repeat on the other side.  Pull the second strap down to tighten.

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Step 14:  Then pull across your back.  The shoulder straps should make an X across your back.

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Step 15:  Tie a double knot in front, just under baby’s bottom and you’re done!

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Tie Off Options for Longer Straps

If you tie in front and feel that your meh dai straps are too long (especially if you worry that you will trip on them when walking), you can also tie off in the back.

Tie off Option Number 1:

Cross the straps over baby’s bottom.  Then take each strap under baby’s legs.  Tie a double knot in the back.

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Tie off Option Number 2:

Cross the straps higher on baby’s back, making an X that starts on the top of baby’s diaper and then goes under each knee.  Tie a double knot in the back.

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Which Tie Off Method is Best?

All of the tie off options are great. However, sometimes babies or caregivers have preferences in tie off options.

Some caregivers prefer the shorter strap tie off (tying a double knot in front).  This makes it easy to find the shoulder straps to untie them when you’re done because they aren’t tied in the back with the waist straps.  Other caregivers prefer to tie in the back and not have straps in the front.

Sometimes babies have tie off preferences as well. Take a look at these two pictures of tie off options for longer straps.  The first image is tie-off option #1.  In this image the shoulder straps are on top of the baby’s knees.  Most babies don’t mind this, but occasionally I meet a baby that doesn’t seem comfortable with tie off number one.  If your baby seems uncomfortable, try the second tie off option.  You can see in the second image that the shoulder straps is above the knee and not touching baby’s leg at all. Tie off option number two works well for babies who do not like having the strap touching their knees.  Some babies (particularly bigger or older babies) don’t like the feeling of the strap touching their knees.


Video Tutorial

If you prefer learning by watching videos, here is a tutorial for you.  For captions, press CC.

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I hope you are able to get comfortable with your meh dai and your newborn!  If you have further questions, leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to help.  🙂

Further Reading:

Newborn Positioning
Babywearing Safety – How to check your carry!
How to Use a Meh Dai – More tutorials and tips!
Meh Dai Hip Carry Photo-Tutorial