There are lots of different carriers inspired by traditional carriers used in Asia. Here’s a bit more about the different options:
Mei Tai (pronounced “MAY tie”): has a square shaped body and fasten at the waist and over the shoulder using long ties that can be wrapped around you and your baby. Depending on carrier size, Mei Tais are suitable for babies and toddlers and can be worn front, back or hip. Mei Tais are Chinese in origin; “Mei” means ‘to carry on the shoulders’, and “Tai” means ‘belt; band/bring’. Brands of Mei Tai include Babyhawk, Hop-Tye and Melkaj.
Onbuhimo (Onbu) “on-boo-HEE-moh” – has a Mei Tai style body, but instead of waist straps there are rings at the bottom corners that the shoulder straps are looped through before tying at parent’s waist. Most suitable for back carries. Onbuhimos are Japanese in origin; “onbuhimo” means ‘carried on the back’.
Podaegi (Pod) “poh-DAY-jee” – has a long rectangular body shape (sometimes referred to as a blanket) and long shoulder straps that tie around parent and child. There are no waist straps. Most suitable for back carries. Podaegis are from Korea; “podaegi” means ‘baby carrier’.
‘Half Buckle’ carriers usually have Mei Tai style shoulder straps and body panel but fasten at the waist with a buckle rather than tied straps. They may have additional padding in the waist similar to a Soft Structure Carrier.
Wrap Conversion – any other carrier type made from specially woven wrap fabric. There are many skilled professionals who can convert a woven wrap into a custom Mei Tai, Podeagi etc. You can often choose options such as whether or not to have a sleep hood, padding for your child’s legs or arms, a buckled or tied waist, etc. If you’re thinking of having your own custom wrap conversion carrier made, we’re more than happy to have a chat about the pros and cons of different options, and to point you in the direction of a well-respected UK professional carrier maker.
Wrap-Tai – This is a Mei Tai made from the same special fabric as a woven wrap. These have the same basic shape as a Mei Tai, but with wide straps that can be spread in a similar way to a woven wrap to better distribute a child’s weight. These can be better than standard Mei Tais for comfortable hip carries and some front and back carry variations as the wide straps cup your shoulder well. You can have a Wrap-Tai specially made (see Wrap Conversion above), or buy them ready made – brands include Hop-Tye and Didy-Tai.