How to Use your Oyako Mei Tai


Read This First

Is using a Mei Tai easy?  Yes!  Like many good things, it might take a few tries to get used to, but with a little practice, you will soon be getting your Mei Tai and baby on and off in seconds.  Baby will have the security and comfort of being snuggled against your body, and you will have two hands free to do...  whatever else you need to do!

I have made the following instructions as detailed and as clear as possible.  Go through them a couple of times before beginning, and make sure baby is rested, fed, and changed before trying it the first time.  Some babies and mothers love it straight away, for others, it may help to start with shorter periods of wearing each day and build up as both mum and bub get used to it.

Mei Tai baby carriers are very safe and comfortable when used properly.  It is your responsibility to use caution and to ensure that baby is safe when putting them in and wearing them in any baby sling (see “Conditions of Sale”). Extra care should be taken when bending over, squatting, or moving in narrow spaces (through doorways, etc.).  Be aware of how far baby can reach, as they may try to grab things close by.  Shoulder straps should always be tied with a full square knot or bow. Check your straps and knots often to ensure they are secure and correctly positioned, and that baby is safe and comfortable.  Any NEVER leave baby alone unattended with any baby carrier that has straps.

**With any infant carrier, always ensure that baby's face and airways are clear.  You are responsible for your child's safety!**

If you have any questions about the care or use of your Mei Tai that are not answered below, please feel free to ask!

Care Instructions

Your Oyako Mei Tai can be machine washed on cold, and line dried.  Use a washing bag to avoid the straps getting tangled or yanked in the machine.  Always check baby carriers before use, and do not use if the buckle, seams or fabric are worn or damaged.

When carrying newborns and small babies in any sling or carrier, it is important to ensure that their faces and airways are clear, and their back and neck are supported.  A newborn’s airway is only the size of a drinking straw, so if it is bent the airflow will be severely restricted.  For this reason, it is essential to frequently check your child to ensure they have not slumped to a “chin-on-chest” position, and that they are breathing freely.  For small babies who are not yet able to control their own head position, only carry them on your front so that you can check them easily. One method is to place baby high on your chest, and place the Mei Tai over them with the shoulder strap folded inward on one side to provide head support in a semi-reclined position (see also photo below). Cross shoulder straps behind you as per normal, then bring them forward as high as possible under your arms.  Either tie under baby’s bottom, or cross/twist under baby’s bottom and bring back to tie behind your back.

Tips and Troubleshooting

  1.    If straps are digging in uncomfortably, make sure they are flat (not twisted) along their entire length. The straps won't dig in if they are not bunched up.

    •    If the
    waist straps feel too tight, try wearing them lower on your hips (still nice and firm, not loose).  If they still dig in, perhaps your shoulders are not supporting enough of the weight. Baby should not be hanging from the waist straps but sit above them close to your body.  Try tightening the shoulder straps or tying them under or behind baby to hold him higher or closer to your body. 

    •    If the Mei Tai is to be
    worn with the plain colour out (reversed) or with the waistband rolled for long periods, it may be more comfortable to unthread the waistband buckle and re-thread it the opposite way.

    •    If the Mei Tai is
    making your shoulders or back sore, it is probably too loose. In order to not swing or pull on your shoulders, baby should be held flat against your body, and as high as possible. It can help to undo the knot and pull everything tight and high after a few minutes to allow for baby settling and the fabric adjusting after you have put it on.

    •    If
    baby’s head is hanging back when he falls asleep, the body of the Mei Tai should be pulled up higher to support the head. For small babies with poor head control, the body needs to be supporting their head at all times. You can pull up on the body of the Mei Tai while bouncing baby lower, or retie the shoulder straps to let baby sink lower in the body (still keeping baby and Mei Tai tight and high against you when you retie).

** Please note that the head support built into this Mei Tai provides only light support, and can  shelter baby from wind and cold - it is not designed to hold the full weight of a large baby or toddler's head. 

"Quick Bundle" (for when it's not in use)

  1. 1.Bring shoulder straps together and lay them on top of the Mei Tai.

  2. 2.Fold over the top third of the Mei Tai.

  3. 3.Fold over once more so shoulder straps are contained within the body of the Mei Tai.

  4. 4.Cross the waist straps over the bundle.

  5. 5.Turn it over and buckle the waist straps at the back of the bundle to keep it all together.  If desired, tuck any excess straps into the middle to keep them out of the way.


Carrying Newborns in a Mei Tai

Until baby is able to sit comfortably in the Mei Tai with their legs out,  they can be carried with their legs tucked in front of them in a foetal position, or "froggy style".  This still allows their hips to be correctly flexed with their bottom down and knees up, a position recommended for facilitating proper hip development.

For small babies who want to look around or have their arms out, the body of the Mei Tai can be shortened by rolling the waistband upward.  If desired, it can then also be bunched slightly to allow smaller babies to put their legs out at the sides (see front carry video).

Breastfeeding in a Mei Tai

With a bit of experience and some good feeding-friendly tops, nursing in your mei tai can be comfortable and discreet. First, loosen the straps slightly to lower baby to the desired level, then retie.  If necessary, loosen the waist band so it sits lower around your hips.  Smaller babies (up to around 3 mths) can be semi-reclined by flipping the shoulder strap inward on the feeding side (as shown - keep an arm around them for support); older babies are easier to feed in an upright position.  Keep the head rest up, or wear a jacket or nursing cover over the top for added privacy. After nursing, change baby’s position so that their face is turned upward, away from the mother’s breast.

(The following videos are provided as a guide only, and should be used in compliance with all other relevant instructions and conditions provided on this website.) 

** IMPORTANT NOTE ** in relation to carrying NEWBORNS:  It is NOT recommended anymore to tie straps behind a newborn’s back.  The pressure from the straps should be supporting a newborn’s weight (ie, under the bottom/behind the knees, NOT putting tight pressure against their back.  (See paragraph below about “Carrying Newborns”)