Product Review: CatBird Baby Mei Tai Carrier

catbirdbaby_meitaiAsian-Style Baby Carrier
Retail Price: $90 USD

Between two kids, I’ve had my fair share of experience with baby-wearing devices.  When I was pregnant with my first son in 2006, we registered for the Infantino SlingRider.   I had never actually seen anyone do any baby wearing, but I liked the picture on the product in the store, and it seemed like a pretty good idea.  Well, the first time I put my brand new son in this carrier was the last time.  It folded him up like a taco, and I was terrified that he’d suffocate to death.  Honestly, I don’t know how anyone uses this for a small baby, and clearly the reviews on the product indicate that a lot of others agree with me.  So we returned that and bought the Evenflo Snugli which was basically the cheaper version of the Baby Bjorn.  Well, I hated that thing too.  It was terribly uncomfortable, and seemed to suspend baby from his crotch, rather than cradle him against my body.

After that I gave up on baby wearing for the time being.  I had no idea that other, more natural styles of baby wearing devices existed until my Mexican-born nanny started wearing our son around the house in a Rebozo.  I hadn’t seen that before, and before I got a chance to figure out where to get one of those, we moved away from her.  I didn’t see that type of thing again until my doula brought one over during one of her visits.  After my second son was born, with the Rebozo still on temporary loan, I tucked my 6-day-old in and went for a walk with my family.  I loved the concept, and wearing my baby close to me seemed very natural, but wasn’t totally sold on the style of the Rebozo.  However, it sparked my interest in finding other wraps or carriers that would keep my back from aching, and keep my baby comfy.  I searched around and settled on making myself a homemade version of the Moby Wrap.  I couldn’t afford the real thing at the time, and the fact that I could make a “no-sew” version for about $8 made it quite appealing to me.  It worked well when my son was small, and it’s a very comfortable carrier, but my rapidly growing son quickly became too heavy for it.   The search was back on. 

Six months later, on a whim, I decided to buy the cheap Jelly Bean sling I saw in Target.  Again – I liked the concept, but that product was ill-fitting, back breaking, and not made well.  So I returned that one, and made up my mind to get serious about finding the right carrier for us before both my sons were too big to bother.  I decided to head to Be By Baby in Chicago because they are the biggest “granola-mama” shop I know of in the city with the biggest selection of slings around.  I was excited to see that I could demo all the devices and that the sales staff was more than happy to help me try everything out.  I was originally thinking of a Ring-Sling, but because of the size of my son, the sales lady suggested either the Mei Tai or an Ergo carrier.  The husband and I both tried each of them on, with both my 32 lb toddler, and with my 25 lb infant.  It only took a few minutes for us to agree that the Mei Tai was the way to go.  It’s so dang comfortable, and we love that there are no buckles to adjust.  I’ve never seen another carrier that fits a small woman and a tall man so comfortably without any cumbersome adjusting.

So now we use our CatBird Baby Mei Tai so much that I’m even thinking of buying another one so we can each wear our boys at the same time.  This carrier supports children up to 40 lbs(!) which means we’ll be able to use this carrier for a lot longer than any other kind on the market.  When my boys are in it, they are content, safe, and have a great view.  I have worn them each all day downtown, for several hours at a time walking through the zoo, and on every trip we take to the store.  It even has a hood that can tie up to help support/shelter baby’s head when they fall asleep (which my younger son often does while being worn in this).  This product has become 100% integrated into our travel as a family.  We use this now more than either of our expensive strollers, and the product is so well-made that I see this lasting through the next several years.  Finally, the search for the perfect carrier for our family is over, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

~TFS

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2 Responses to “Product Review: CatBird Baby Mei Tai Carrier”

  1. Coralie Says:

    I used a Babasling for my boy, right up until he was about 2 years old when he refused to get in it anymore. He refused to be in it, yet a year or so ago (he’s 5 year old now) when I sent it to a friend who wanted to borrow it for her fussy newborn, he was ever so upset. Funny boy.

    The babasling is a fairly simple ring sling type, with padded ‘rails’, one worn on one side at the front or the back. I did find myself getting a bit uncomfortable in it because of it being on one side all the time, but I got around this by adjusting where the strap sat on, or over my shoulder.

    It was invaluable when he was younger. I was able to get stuff done while he was right on me and breastfeed him while he was in it.

    Slings and carriers that hold your baby close absolutely rule. 🙂

  2. Noble Savage Says:

    I just got an Ellaroo Mei Tai, upon your recommendations of the mei tai style, and loooove it. I haven’t mastered the back carry yet but we’re getting there. It is hands down the most comfortable baby carrier I’ve ever worn.

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