As I’ve mentioned previously, I now own two mei tai baby carriers, one from BabyHawk.com and one from Mei Tai Baby (their image pictured). I love both carriers, and now (finally!) so does my baby. However, there are some differences that affect when and how I use them.
- Mei Tai Baby is known for its wonderful adjustable crotch. I ordered the full snap tab and minimized the crotch area for my baby until just a couple of weeks ago, when I began using the middle snap. I believe he hated having his legs in the “froggy” position, and until he was about four or five months old and able to comfortably fit in a full-width mei tai, the adjustable crotch was the only way I could wear him. The adjustable crotch feature was therefore a lifesaver for me. Until a couple of months, I used my Mei Tai Baby exclusively because my son simply wasn’t big enough to go into the BabyHawk with his legs hanging out.
- The Mei Tai Baby is more breathable than the BabyHawk so it’s a better summer carrier. The Mei Tai Baby is a nice cotton material that’s not too thick and firm but soft. My BabyHawk, on the other hand, is a thicker, stiffer material and has a gorgeous minkee lining that’s super soft and feels wonderful but makes the mei tai pretty warm. (Because my sonwas born in December, I thought the minkee would be nice during the colder months. It never occurred to me that he’d hate the carrier and that I wouldn’t be able to use it regularly until it was already hot outside!)
- Because the non-minkee material on my BabyHawk is stiffer than the material on my Mei Tai Baby, the straps stay flat better at the side. Flat equals comfort (i.e., no digging into my sides).
- Both mei tais have padding in the straps at the shoulder, which makes them a little more comfortable. However, the BabyHawk is a tad bulkier. Both mei tais are extremely comfortable to wear – a world of difference from the Baby Bjorn that I had with my older son (and which I never used). If my back starts to hurt, I just tug the straps slightly to adjust them and it’s all better.
- The BabyHawk has a wonderful headrest, which means it comes up higher behind my son’s head. This was particularly reassuring when my son’s head control was questionable and I worried that he might fling his head back without warning. I love this feature as much as I love the adjustable crotch on the Mei Tai Baby and wish that I could combine the two for the perfect mei tai. However, now that he’s older and likes to look around, I think my son is less fond of this feature than I am since it impedes his view. I’ve folded it down at times but I don’t think it helps that much. It turns out, though, that Mei Tai Baby offers a removable headrest. At $25, it’s a pricy extra but would combine my favorite features from each of these mei tais nicely.
- They have very different fabric selections. That’s what attracted me to BabyHawk first since they offer a camouflage pattern. I wasn’t crazy about the Mei Tai Baby patterns but they’re the only ones who offer the adjustable crotch.
- A basic Mei Tai Baby is less expensive (about $70) than a basic BabyHawk (about $80), though both have options (such as Mei Tai Baby’s adjustable crotch) that can quickly add up.
- Finally, both mei tais are super easy to wash. I put them in a large lingerie bag and then into the washer. I machine wash them, but hang them to dry, taking care to flatten the straps.
So which do I like better? Neither! I love them both, and I’m glad I have two carriers so that I can keep one in the house and one in the car. But, if I could only have one, I would have to pick the Mei Tai Baby simply because I live in hot Southern California and the Mei Tai Baby is more breathable.
Keep in mind that there are other great mei tai brands out there, too (Kozy Carrier is one that’s extremely popular). If you want to learn more about baby carriers, a good starting place is The Babywearer, which has information on just about every kind of carrier out there.