I didn’t know anything, not one single thing, about Mei Tai-style baby carriers when Melanie at Gentle Nest told me she wanted me to try one. It is unusual for me to say no to her, so I was game. I knew Moa Pô was an awesome, Quebec-based company with products I’d already admired from afar, so I thought it likely their Mei Tai would be pretty sweet.
It arrived in all its strappy, camo-print glory:
(Since I can’t even fold a map back up properly, I confess I have never been able to fold my carrier up so nicely since I unpackaged it).
In case you are ignorant to what a Mei Tai carrier is (like me), here it is all opened up:
When I was a baby, my Popo carried me, my brother and my cousins around on her front and back using a Mei Tai… after all, she is Chinese, and in Cantonese (the language of my grandparents, which I sadly do not speak), Mei Tai means “mei: to carry on the shoulders / tai: strap, band.” (source)
Look! Here she is wearing my brother, circa 1987! (Let’s all admire my Dad’s awesome car posters in the background.)
Having recently tried my first wrap, and being a buckle carrier veteran, I feel confident stating that the Moa Pô is the perfect fusion of a wrap and an SSC. It’s a nice compromise between the totally mainstream and the more traditional baby wearing styles.
I am not sure I would have been at ease getting Cub in a Mei Tai when he was as little as Little Miss. I remember being stressed even getting him in our Ergo. I watched a quick YouTube video and was wearing Little Miss in a front carry within minutes. I immediately messaged Melanie to tell her how comfortable the Moa Pô was.
The straps are long enough for me to actually tie in the front, which means I don’t have two tails hanging at the back. (True story: I forgot about the tail one of my first times using the Moa Pô and there was a bathroom incident.) Although all soft-structured buckle carriers are marketed as a universal, one-size fit, the benefit of a Mei Tai is that there’s no need to fiddle with three (or more) sets of buckles when swapping the carrier between users. My Mama is about 5 inches shorter than me, and we had her Moa Pô-ing in minutes:
The thing that most boggled my mind about my Moa Pô was that it makes a back carry with a much younger baby totally possible and totally safe. It didn’t even take me much practice to get her up there completely unassisted. Like I said, I would not have felt comfortable doing this with Cub!
The first time I tried a back carry (she was about 3 months old, but you can do it sooner), it was with the assistance of a babywearing-expert pal. She showed me that I could tie the carrier right under my breasts in order to get Little Miss as high up on my back as possible. This way I would be able to hear and feel her breathing, and know she’s safe and snug.
The tricky part when doing a back carry on your own is getting the straps crossed nicely around baby’s bum like you do in a front carry. I still need a lot more practice for this part. Whenever I do it, the straps cross under her knees.
At the front, I finish the tie with what’s known as a Tibetan tie off. (Here’s a photo tutorial.)
Being able to carry Little Miss on my back so young is hugely beneficial. I can get so much more done! I can eat without dropping stuff on her head! With a soft-structured carrier you want to wait at least until baby sits unassisted (around 6 months) for a back carry, and many brands don’t recommend it til 12 months. With a Mei Tai, you can start as soon as you are comfortable!
Advantages of the Moa Pô Mei Tai
- No need for an infant insert to wear a newborn;
- No need to wait til babe is sitting independently to do a back carry;
- Those with a smaller frame who find buckle straps do not shorten enough for them can get the fit they need;
- You know that not-so-awesome tummy pooch the buckle of a SSC gives you when you do a back carry? Non existent with the Moa Pô because you tie it higher:
- Super duper, ridiculously comfortable, wide straps that don’t dig into your curves and create an even weight distribution;
- Fits perfectly on all shapes and sizes of wearer;
- No fussing with buckles when swapping between users or tightening on yourself;
- Perfect adjustment as you are not limited by the placement of buckles;
- Reversible: wear the print or the solid facing out;
- No plastic parts;
- Easily machine washed;
- Very affordable and durable newborn to toddler option at $128 CAD;
- Made in Canada with organic fabric and non-toxic dyes.
Disadvantages of the Moa Pô Mei Tai
- Tying the long straps isn’t ideal if you’re outdoors on a wet day, say, in a parking lot.
- More of a learning curve than a buckle carrier, so not ideal for anyone who is reticent about babywearing.
- The hood isn’t as easy to use as on most buckle carrier models, but it is more adjustable.
I didn’t know I needed a Moa Pô Mei Tai in my life until I had one. Now I’m sad I never had one with my firstborn. It’s my most comfortable carry of all the styles and brands I’ve tried, and the early back carry is a total game changer for me.
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Melanie at Gentle Nest has your back when it comes to Moa Pô Mei Tai Carriers!