The mei tai that I ordered on ebay came in the mail on Saturday. I was more than excited...ask Matt. Upon taking it out of it's package, I was pleased with the pattern I chose and also impressed with the padding and how it seems to be made well. I was supposed to get a pattern on one side and a solid on the other...but I didn't provide all that information (I guess I needed to be more specific) so I was given the pattern on both sides. Fine, whatever. Normally, you'd get 2 sides, one solid, one patterned, so it's reversible. I am so glad (at least in this point in time) that I barely spent $20 including shipping when brand name sell for $80! I will admit I was shocked at first by the length of the straps. I started searching back online to see if I was supposed to order a "size." The straps are much longer than my height...which is the only "negative" thing so far. It's only negative in that I'm not sure how to put it on outside of the home without the straps dragging on the ground. I plan to figure that out though. But because the straps are long, it provides you with options for tying, which is nice.
Why did I choose this style carrier? I did a lot of reading about different carriers. I have a sling for when Stevie was little, but it really only works for newborns. I looked at ring slings because of the option of using it with older babies, but I thought the ring would dig into my shoulder (though I have no experience). I almost got a Moby wrap. I really liked how the material was stretchy/flexible and the way it's wrapped distributes the weight of your baby. I decided it was probably better for younger babies, wasn't sure how long before the stretchiness got too stretchy, and it looked hot for the summer. I just didn't want to be mummy wrapped. I really liked the beco carrier. They have more structure, are cute, have great reviews, but are expensive (too expensive for us right now, including the Ergo and Boba). I'm not a fan of spending a lot of money on something and finding out I don't like it. However, these wraps and carriers do have good resale value. We had been loaned a Snuggli, and we used it about twice. It was confusing for me to get on, and I always needed Matt's help getting it on and Stevie in. It also has a weight limit, which Stevie has outgrown. Other makers prefer different styled carriers than it also because of the way it holds the baby and the development of their little spines. So, I found myself looking into the mei tai - No rings, no buckles, adjustable, can carry on front, back, and side, balance between structured and unstructured, reversible (2 in one...well, usually, haha), off brand price was right, not mummy wrapped (except my straps are super long), and fits a variety of sizes of babies...as big as you can carry!
Stevie was napping when I found our package in the mail. So, I waited until he got up (even though it was tempting to get him up) and practiced tying it on...with his beloved stuffed cow. The first time I tried to put it on with Stevie, he was a bit cranky (ready to eat) and had an expression like, "What are you doing, Mom?" as he tried to brush the straps away. Once I got him all bundled in though, he was a fan. He just sort of hung out, all laid back. It impressed me and reminded me of when I put him in the sling the first time (well, the first time I actually got the hang of it). So, I gave him his dinner and tried it again later...it takes (well, it takes me) some practice and getting used to. Stevie loved it! It was so nice to have hands free, and he was just so relaxed. I do think the weight distributes nicely, but I'm still trying to make the straps flatten out and not bunch (it's new/stiff material...probably should've washed it first). We zoomed around the living room airplane style, and Stevie looked up at me and giggled while I blew bubble gum bubbles. I got into conversation with Matt, and then I noticed...Stevie was falling asleep! Yes, it was getting close to bedtime, but seriously, seriously...this boy fights sleep unless he's in his crib. He very rarely just falls asleep in my arms.
I'm pleased with it. I hope it stands the test of time, but hey, I didn't spend a ton to begin with. After the first few uses, I think we give it a 4 thumbs up (ya know, for both of us).