Meh Dai Troubleshooting: 8 tips for a more comfortable and secure carry

A meh dai is a wonderful carrier!  A meh dai can do a quick, comfortable, and easy front, hip, or back carry.  However, sometimes it can take some time to learn to use.  If your meh dai doesn’t feel quite comfortable or secure, don’t give up!  With a little practice and some troubleshooting, you will really love your meh dai.  The carrier should feel completely secure for your baby and comfortable for you both.  This post will walk you through the most common adjustments that I help baby wearers make with their meh dai carrier.

These are the most common meh dai troubleshooting adjustments that I help people make:

  1. Figuring out if the carrier is meant to be tied apron style or non-apron style.
  2. Deciding where on their body to tie the meh dai waist band.
  3. Rolling the waist band and cinching the panel so that the carrier isn’t too wide or tall on baby
  4. Keeping the panel lifted while tightening.
  5. Getting the X nice and wide spread and comfortably on the back.
  6. Adjusting the placement of the knot when tying in front.
  7. Adjusting the placement of the straps on baby’s legs when tying in back.
  8. Tying the shoulder straps and waist straps in different places so you can remember which is which.

Each adjustment is quick and easy and will make a big difference to your comfort and the baby’s comfort too!  I’ll tackle them one at a time.

1.  Figure out if your carrier is meant to be tied apron style or non-apron style.

Apron Style

There are two ways to tie a meh dai waist band.  You can tie it hanging straight down like an apron.  This is called apron style. If your meh dai has unpadded waist straps, it is probably meant to be tied on “apron style.”  It looks like this:

Apron Style Meh Dai
Meh Dai Carrier tied on Apron Style. The entire panel faces outward and the shoulder straps are hanging down.

Non-Apron Style

If your meh dai has padded waist straps it will likely be more comfortable tied on non-apron style.  With non-apron style tying, the waist band is folded toward you (much like you would put on a soft structured carrier waistband).  Non-apron style looks like this:

Non-Apron Style Meh Dai tying
This meh dai has a padded waist band and is being tied on non-apron style.

If you aren’t sure whether your meh dai should be tied on apron style or non-apron style, check your manufacturer’s instructions.  You can also read more about how to tie the waist band here.

2. Decide where on your body to tie the waist band.

Many times when someone needs help with their meh dai, they have simply tied the waist band a bit too high or low on their body.  For a front carry, you want to tie the waistband wherever you need to have your baby nice and high on your chest.  Baby’s head should rest on the flat part of your chest just below your collarbone.  For some wearers, the waist band should be tied at the natural waist, but for others, particularly taller wearers, the waist band should be tied a bit higher.

In this image, the waist band is tied at about the natural waist for an older baby.  This allows the baby’s head to rest on the flat part of the chest.

Meh Dai Front Carry
Meh Dai Front Carry

In this image, the waistband is tied just under the bust.  For a taller wearer who is planning to wear a newborn, higher waistband placement might be needed.

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3.  Roll the waist and cinch the panel to get a good fit with a smaller baby.

A lot of times people come to me and tell me that they can’t use their meh dai because it’s way too big.  Often they don’t realize that they can adjust it.  You should, of course, make sure that your child is at the minimum weight for your particular carrier (usually 8 pounds).  If your baby is over the minimum weight, you can get a good fit by adjusting the carrier.

In this image you can see that the baby does not fit in the carrier as I have tied it.  For one, the baby’s head is completely covered by the panel.  The baby’s head should be visible above the panel.  The panel should come no higher than the bottom of the baby’s ear.  Also, the baby’s legs are not able to bend freely and are sticking straight out of the carrier.

Meh Dai doesn't fit
This meh dai carrier does not fit this baby. The waistband needs to be rolled and the panel should be cinched to get a better fit.

If you are wearing a newborn or a smaller baby, you can roll the waist band of your meh dai down until you find the right height to fit your baby.  To roll the waist, you fold it away from you once or twice before tying on the waist band.

After rolling the waist, you can use your hand or even a small string to cinch the panel narrower.  Cinching the panel makes it so that your baby can comfortably have their legs out.

This picture shows the same carrier and the same weighted babywearing doll as the last picture.  The difference between these two pictures is that in this one, I have rolled the waist band so that the carrier is not too tall on the baby.  I have also folded down this headrest so that you can see that that panel does not come higher than baby’s ear.

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If you compare the two photos, you can see that the panel looks much shorter in the second picture.  That’s because I’ve folded the waistband over twice to shorten the panel.

Here is a video (with captions if you press CC) that shows how to roll the waist band and cinch the panel to fit a newborn or smaller baby:

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4.  Keep the panel lifted while tightening.

Using one hand, support the baby and keep the panel nice and lifted.  With your other hand pull straight down on the strap behind you to tighten the panel.  In this image my left hand is supporting the baby.  My right hand is pulling the shoulder strap straight down to tighten.

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5.  Get the X nice and wide spread and comfortable on the back.

Take a look at these two images.  In the left image, the carrier straps make an X high on the wearer’s back.  Over time, this will become uncomfortable, causing upper back and neck strain.  In the right image, the carrier straps make a wide X covering more of the wearer’s back.  This is much more comfortable.

The secret to a comfortable straps is all in the tightening.  Pull down on the strap first to tighten the carry, then pull over to the side to bring the strap across your back.

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6.  When tying in front, adjust the knot to a comfortable placement.

When tying in front, the knot should not be higher than the top of baby’s diaper.  You can tie the knot just under the baby’s bottom or tie it right behind baby’s back, no higher than the bottom of the diaper.

Tying the knot in the middle of baby’s back (as shown in this image) can be uncomfortable for the baby over time, particularly if the knot is tight.  A tight knot in the middle of the back can cause baby’s back to arch uncomfortably.

Meh Dai with Straps Tied too High on Baby's back
A meh dai with shoulder straps tied too high on the baby’s back. The straps should be tied under baby’s bottom or below the top of baby’s diaper.
A meh dai front carry with shoulder straps tied under the baby's bottom
A meh dai front carry can be more comfortable for baby when the straps are tied under the baby’s bottom.

7.  When tying in back, adjust the straps to a comfortable placement.

You can tie the straps behind you, if they are long enough, taking each strap over the first leg and under the second leg.  This is usually very comfortable for smaller babies.
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However, for older babies or toddlers, sometimes the strap can cause redness or discomfort or make it difficult for the child to freely bend their knee, as shown in this image.

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To make the carry more comfortable for an older child, you can take the straps across baby’s back making a wide X that goes from about the top of the diaper, across baby’s back, and under the knee.  This keeps the strap from rubbing on the baby’s leg or knee.  Remember to keep the X no higher than the top of baby’s diaper so that baby doesn’t end up arching their back uncomfortably.

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8. Tying the shoulder straps and waist straps in different places so you can remember which is which.

Because a meh dai has a waist strap that is tied and a shoulder strap that is tied, some people find it hard to remember which is which. When they go to untie the shoulder straps to take the baby out, they accidentally untie the waist straps (which should be untied last when taking baby down).  It can be really helpful to come up with a system for how you tie your shoulder straps. For example, I like to always tie my shoulder straps below my waist straps.  This way, when I go to untie, I remember that the shoulder straps are on the bottom and I untie those first.  Some people prefer to tie their shoulder straps in front, slightly off to the side, or on top of the waist straps.  All of these methods work well!

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I hope that you are able to get comfortable with your meh dai!  If you have any questions or are having a problem with your meh dai that I didn’t address here, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help! 🙂  Happy Babywearing!

Further Reading:

How to Use a Meh Dai
Meh Dai Hip Carry Photo-Tutorial
Should You Tie Your Meh Dai Apron, or Non-Apron Style?
Photo-Tutorial:  How to use a Meh Dai with a Newborn