Best Mei Tai Baby Carriers Of 2021

If you’re ready to get started with babywearing, it’s likely that you have some questions and concerns. Chief among them for many parents is finding a worn carrier that’s easy to use and comfortable to wear — this is where a mei tai carrier comes in.

The carrying style has been used for centuries, making use of a soft, fabric-based carrier with a structured seat and long ties that doesn’t require learning wraps and is highly adjustable for wearer sharing.

Eager to learn more? Check out our eagle-eyed list of 2020’s best mei tai baby carriers.

What are some benefits of choosing a mei tai carrier?

  • It’s less complicated: Unlike lengthy fabric wraps, there’s very little learning curve to using a mei tai carrier. The device makes it easy to figure out where and how baby should be placed, and you won’t have to memorize folds and knots. There are also no clunky buckles and thick straps to struggle with — just tie on your mei tai and you’re ready to roll.
  • It’s easy to wash: Although wraps don’t have this issue, soft-structured carriers can be frustrating to clean. While many allow you to machine-wash your carrier, they advise against tumble drying, and air drying can take as long as 24 hours in some cases. We won’t lie, most manufacturers advise against machine drying your mei tai, but it air dries much faster.
  • There are no buckles: As we noted, the mei tai makes use of long fabric ties rather than thick straps and buckles to fiddle with, so putting it on is as simple as knotting the ties.
  • It’s easy to share: The nature of a mei tai’s design makes it easy to share between wearers, because the ties of most carriers are long enough to accommodate larger wearers. They’re also often enjoyed by plus-size wearers for this reason.

Editor’s note: Babywearing can be a great way to incorporate Kangaroo care, skin to skin with your little one.1Ferber, S. G., & Makhoul, I. R. (2004). The effect of skin-to-skin contact (kangaroo care) shortly after birth on the neurobehavioral responses of the term newborn: a randomized, controlled trial.
Pediatrics, 113(4), 858-865.

Also can be a convenient way to breastfeed the baby as you get used to your carrier 2Reynolds-Miller, R. L. (2016). Potential therapeutic benefits of babywearing. Creative nursing, 22(1), 17-23.

What are some things I should consider when shopping for my mei tai carrier?

  • Ease of use: Mei tais, also sometimes called meh dais, are a very specific style of carrier, and while there’s not a lot of variance in utility between your options, some picks have ties that are a bit longer and easier to use than others. This is especially important if you’re planning on sharing your mei tai carrier, so plan accordingly. Some also have quality of life features like a hood or storage pocket which can offer some extra help and contribute to their ease of use.
  • Cleaning: It’s undeniable that babies bring love, joy, and mess, which means that their clothes and gear need to be easy to clean. In almost all cases they can be machine washed and hung to dry, but always double check the washing instructions to make sure that cleaning your carrier won’t become a major hassle.
  • Material: As with all baby carriers, a comfortable and durable fabric makes all the difference. While soft cotton and bamboo carriers tend to feel cozy against wearer and baby’s skin, 3D meshes designed to make carriers more breathable can sometimes be scratchy and uncomfortable. Look for a mei tai that has the best of both worlds, allowing you and baby to remain temperate and comfortable.
  • Comfort: As we just established, one part of staying comfortable in your mei tai is choosing a carrier made out of a soft, soothing fabric. You’ll also want to make sure you’re choosing a carrier with ties that are long enough for all intended wearers, as the length of the ties is part of what helps to achieve a comfortable weight distribution for the wearer. Some mei tais include slight shoulder padding sewn into the upper rail, which can improve comfort during wear by alleviating pressure on the wearer’s shoulders.
  • Safety: It’s always essential that you use a safe carrier when babywearing, so look for brands with safety accreditation and name recognition. If your carrier notes that it meets ASTM F2236-13 or CPSC safety requirements, you’re in the clear as far as federal standards. Remember that part of babywearing safety starts with you, and always follow carrier instructions for performing a safe carry.

Our Top Picks

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#1 Infantino Sash Wrap and Tie Baby Carrier

Editors Choice  Best for toddlers

Weight limit: 8 – 36 lbs
Color options: 1
Carrier fabric: 100% cotton, hood: 80% polyester, 20% cotton
Includes hood: Yes
Uses buckles: No
Number of carrying positions: 3

When you’re trying new gear for baby, there’s often something to be said for relying on a trusted, well-reviewed brand like Infantino. Their Sash Wrap and Tie Baby Carrier (check price on Amazon) is a classic mei tai that relies solely on ties, no buckles or adjustable straps necessary.

The long ties on this carrier make it great for plus-size parents and sharing between wearers, and there’s a detachable hood that can offer your baby or toddler some extra protection and privacy, rain or shine. Parents can carry in three positions with this mei tai, which has a sweet unisex teal and grey chevron design that’s simple and stylish.

What We Love:

  • The extra-wide shoulder straps of this pick are padded, which helps to improve weight distribution and alleviate pressure
  • A detachable hood is included, which is perfect for protecting baby from bright sun and other weather conditions

Watch out for:

  • Very small wearers may find the ties are too long and can drag behind them if not properly tucked

Check Price on Amazon

#2 DIDYMOS Mei Tai Baby Carrier

Upgrade Choice  Best for newborns

Weight limit: Not provided
Color options: Aqua; Elder; Garnet; Lime; Silver
Carrier fabric: Organic cotton
Includes hood: No
Uses buckles: No
Number of carrying positions: 3

The most natural place for your newborn to be is close to you and your partner, which babywearing facilitates quite handily. Of course, it’s important to choose carriers made out of strong but soft fabrics, like these jewel-toned picks made of 100% organic fabric. There’s no toxic dyes here, only bright colors that are safe for your baby’s delicate skin.

The DIDYMOS Mei Tai Baby Carrier (check price on Amazon) has a high back panel to securely support your baby, making this carrier especially helpful when babywearing a newborn. An interesting point of note here: manufacturer DIDYMOS acknowledges that untreated cotton naturally shrinks during its first wash, and that carriers are cut with a few extra centimeters of fabric to accommodate for any shrinkage.

What We Love: The wide front panel makes it easy for many moms to breastfeed discreetly during wear

Watch out for: The manufacturer doesn’t provide weight limits, so you may be left guessing when to stop using it

Check Price on Amazon

#3 Catbird Baby Pikkolo Carrier

Best Budget Buy

Weight limit: 8 – 40 lbs
Color options: Astoria; Victoria; Georgia; Zephyr
Carrier fabric: 100% brushed cotton canvas
Includes hood: Yes
Uses buckles: Yes
Number of carrying positions: 5

While wearing your baby can bring them a great deal of security and comfort, a carrier that’s not well-made can leave you feeling far less than comfortable after a day of babywearing. You’ll be able to leave painful shoulder strain and unsightly indentations behind with the Catbird Baby Pikkolo Carrier (check price on Amazon) , which features shoulder straps that are padded with memory foam to create a comfortable, strain-free wearing experience.

It allows for carrying in five positions and supports baby up to 40 lbs, so it’s a versatile pick that can withstand most if not all of the duration of your babywearing journey. A detachable hood, which rolls up to store in its own small pocket, offers weather and sun protection and can help to reduce noise and light while baby naps.

What We Love:

  • The straps feature memory foam, so they’ll comfortably mold to your body during wear
  • The waistband isn’t padded, so it’s easier to sit down while wearing baby

Watch out for:

  • The thin waistband may become twisted easily, which can be uncomfortable

Check Price on Amazon

#4 Suse’s Kinder One and Only Mei Tai Baby Carrier

Best for plus-size wearers

Weight limit: Not provided
Color options: 1
Carrier fabric: 100% cotton
Includes hood: No
Uses buckles: No
Number of carrying positions: 3

Babywearing is a beneficial and convenient way to bond with your baby, but quite a few carriers that brand themselves as one-size-fits-all aren’t particularly comfortable and secure on big and tall wearers. That’s not the case with the Suse’s Kinder One and Only Mei Tai Baby Carrier (check price on Amazon), which has longer-than-average straps that allow plus-size wearers the freedom to adjust the carrier for their comfort and baby’s security. The body of the mei tai has an width-adjustable middle panel, great for allowing the carrier to “grow” with baby.

Another thing to love about this pick is that it’s extremely beginner friendly — if you’ve never worn a mei tai before and are concerned about getting it right, you’ll love the textured stripes attached to the waist ties, which help you to be sure your carrier is positioned upright.

What We Love: It’s generously sized, so plus size wearers will feel comfortable and be able to effectively support baby

Watch out for: The manufacturer doesn’t provide weight limits, so you may be left guessing when to stop using it

Check Price on Amazon

#5 Infantino Go Forward Evolved Ergonomic Carrier

Best Multi-positional carrier

Weight limit: 8 – 40 lbs
Color options: 1
Carrier fabric: Cotton, polyester
Includes hood: Yes
Uses buckles: Yes
Number of carrying positions: 4

Babies aren’t shy about expressing their opinions, and when it comes to being worn during babywearing, many little ones quickly take to a favored position. A carrier that offers multiple positioning options is ideal, allowing both you and baby the freedom to use different carries as your mutual needs dictate.

Infantino takes the gold once again with the Go Forward Evolved Ergonomic Carrier (check price on Amazon), which has multi-positional carrying ability, has a weight limit of 40 lbs, and even comes with a detachable silicone teether to soothe baby during wear. The thick, padded straps help to alleviate discomfort and shoulder strain caused by babywearing, and an extra-soft and dense padded neck rest helps to support baby’s developing neck muscles.

What We Love:

  • You’ll be able to safely and easily carry baby in the position of your choosing
  • The waistband can extend to a full 60′, so it’s ideal for plus-size parents

Watch out for:

  • This carrier can be a bit bulky on a smaller wearer

Check Price on Amazon

Answering your Mei Tai Questions

Can I still use a mei tai carrier if I have back problems?

Yes! In fact, of the worn carrier styles, a mei tai may be the best pick for those with mild back issues. The style of the carrier evenly distributes weight and alleviates back and shoulder strain to help ease pain. That said, if you’ve been injured or have a serious ongoing issue, it’s best to consult your doctor before babywearing in any carrier.

Will using it increase the chances of separation anxiety in my baby?

Some parents fear the idea that wearing baby close to them often will mean that baby feels separation anxiety when they’re not being worn or will be more prone to related behaviors. There’s no proof of this; going through a period of separation anxiety is perfectly normal for all babies, worn or not.3Anisfeld, E., Casper, V., Nozyce, M., & Cunningham, N. (1990). Does infant carrying promote attachment? An experimental study of the effects of increased physical contact on the development of attachment.Child development, 61(5), 1617-1627.

Editor’s note: The 4th trimester starts when your baby arrives, baby wearing keeps that feeling of being in the womb and releases serotonin so it should keep a fussy baby less fussy.4The Fourth Trimester – 8 Ways To Create One For Your Baby

Are mei tai carriers safe?

Of course, we can’t give a blanket statement here and say that ALL mei tais are safe. However, if your mei tai carrier meets safety standards and you’re using it properly, yes, it is perfectly safe.

How can mei tai carriers be used?

Generally, mei tai carriers can be used to carry baby in all four positions — that is, front inward and outward-facing, hip, and back carry. Always adhere to pediatrician-recommended age and behavioral milestones before switching to an outward-facing or back carry for baby’s safety.

Can I make my own mei tai carrier?

If you’re a fearless champion of the sewing machine and feel like tackling the project, you can absolutely make your own mei tai carrier. Some advantages include the ability to tailor the tie length to the needs of you and your partner, as well as the ability to choose fabric type and design from many options. You’ll need a fair amount of supplies to come up with a professional looking and feeling carrier, though, so be prepared for a pricey trip to the sewing shop.

Are mei tai carriers worth the price?

If you’re a parent that’s sick of the bulkiness of soft-structured carriers but doesn’t want the complexity of fabric wraps, mei tais are absolutely worth the price. They’re an ideal balance between both worlds that are easy to learn and comfortable for the wearer and baby, which is a win in our book.

Editor’s note: Babywearing has benefits for the caregiver and the baby, you have your arms free to multitask or go for a walk and your baby gets to feel like they’re in the womb again. Also this is a sure way to get a nap out of a fussy baby.5Reynolds-Miller, R. L. (2016). Potential therapeutic benefits of babywearing. Creative nursing, 22(1), 17-23.

And The Winnes Is…

There’s a lot to love about the Infantino Sash Wrap and Tie carrier (check price on Amazon) . The thick, densely-padded shoulder straps help baby’s weight to be evenly distributed and reduce discomfort during wear. Both the shoulder and waist ties are also generous in length, which makes for a comfortable carrier for both moms and dads regardless of size. The width of the waist ties also offers improved lumbar support over other, thinner picks. Finally, it’s effortlessly cute and stylish with a pop of pattern that won’t overwhelm an outfit, making it an easy pick for our editor’s choice.

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