Product Type: Babyhawk baby products
Newest Review: ... shopping around, as mine came in at £65 delivered, which compares very well with most retailers. I felt very confident when it came to... more
A stylish, comfy and lightweight baby carrier!
Babyhawk Mei Tai
Member Name: pootlegirl
Babyhawk Mei Tai
Advantages: Stylish, comfy, lightweight and portable!
Disadvantages: Could do with a handy bag to keep it in!
Having being a huge fan of the Moby wrap/sling I was really disappointed when I felt my little boy was becoming too heavy for it. Although still a no where near the maximum weight for the wrap, I found that if he was in it for any length of time the material would stretch with his weight so it felt like he was dangling off me, stopping to tighten it up was not the easiest task with an energetic 3 year old it tow so I was on the lookout for a new carrier!
Summer was approaching so I didn't want another wrap (way too much material for hot days!) so I decided a Mei Tai style carrier was the way to go. A Mei Tai is basically a square piece of fabric with straps coming from each corner. After several weeks perusing my options I decided to go for a Babyhawk, for both practical and asthetic reasons!!
*** The Babyhawk ***
A Babyhawk can be used from newborn up to 40lbs. You can carry baby on your front or your back, though Babyhawk recommend only the front carry for the first 6 months.
The body of the Babyhawk is the shape you get if you place half a hexagon on top of a square! The hexagon part is padded and provides neck/head support for younger babies (this can be folded down if not needed to give baby a better view of the world). The square is the bit that forms a seat for the baby to sit in.
Coming from each corner (or thereabouts) of the square is a strap. The bottom corner straps are not padded and go round your waist, the first section of the top corner straps are padded and go over your shoulders (more about this later!)
The Babyhawk looks extremely stylish. The straps and the border of the square come in a great range of colours, then for the finishing touch there is a panel on the square which comes in an unbelievable number of different designs - all stunning in their own right! It is even reversible so, although the straps are the same colour, you can have a different patterned panel on each side. What's more, if you go to the Babyhawk website you can choose your own colours/fabrics and get exactly what you want - for no extra cost! It is a US company, but at the time of my purchase they had an offer on shipping costs which meant it was going to cost me the same to be shipping from the US as it would from a UK company. They regularly do this so it's worth keeping an eye out and having the privilidge of choosing all your own fabrics. As my other half sometimes uses the carrier I went for a more masculine print on one side and a lovely feminine print on the other!
There is also the option of having a pocket inside the panel (I declined this) and/ a toy ring sewn into the shoulder strap, I did go for this. I don't use it often, but it is extremely handy for attaching toys to if I know my little boy is going to be in the carrier for any length of time.
There is also the option of having the Babyhawk lined with minky fabric to make it extra snuggly, but unless you can afford a summer AND winter carrier then I wouldn't both with this!
*** Putting it on ***
Wearing the Babyhawk is very simple, if you've never worn a cloth carrier before it may seem a little daunting, but trust me, you will soon get the hang of it....even where the back carry is concerned! There are several ways of wearing the Babyhawk, the following is the one I always used for the front carry.
You start by putting the Babyhawk on as though you are putting an apron on! So the body (square part!) of the carrier hangs down over you knees and you tie the waist straps around your back. You then hold your baby to your chest and pull the body of the carrier up against baby's back. The next bit can be a bit tricky the first few times. You toss the straps over your shoulders. They have to cross across your back and be brought back round to the front. At this point make pull the straps tight and make sure baby is sat deep into the carrier (I sometimes do a little jump to jiggle them down!). You take the straps over the top of baby's legs. Cross them over, take them under his legs around to your back and tie in a secure double knot. Don't worry - it sounds far more complicated than it is! I suggest that you have someone around to help you the first couple of times, and do it when baby is happy - not screaming!
Getting baby into the back carry is a little trickier! Tying the Babyhawk is basically the same, though I tend not to cross the straps across my chest as I find it uncomfy, but wear them more like a rucksack. It's getting baby onto your back that is a bit of an artform. There are suggestions on the website...and on youTube! The best thing to do is watch several, try a few out and you will find one that works for you. I tend to do one where I cross my arms in front of me, pick baby up under his armpits. I then lift him over my head (I already have the Babyhawk tied apron style, with the straps passed under my shoulders and held between my knees!), which uncrosses my arms and puts him in the perfect position. I then bend forward, grab the straps whilst he balances on my back, pass them over my shoulders, pull them tight and he is secure enough by that point for me to stand up, jiggle him down and continue tying! Believe me, I practised this one many, many times with hubby stood ready to catch the falling baby before I dare do it on my own! But, he never fell! He is now almost one and we have it down to a fine art!
*** Comfort - you and baby! ***
I find the Babyhawk incredibly comfy. The weight of the baby is very evenly distributed so there is no pulling on the shoulders and the padding in the shoulder straps prevents them from digging in. I have used it extensively for both front and back carry's. As my son has got older and heavier I find a back carry is much comfier for me than a front carry, but still use both.
My little boy always looks very comfy when he's in it. The 'seat' of the carrier is nice and wide so it doesn't cut into them anywhere, they are definitely 'sat' in it, rather than dangling like they seem to be in some carriers. He often falls asleep in it so the padded head rest is very useful as it stops his head from lolling too far back.
Both the front and back carry are like having a great big cuddle! When my little boy is in the front carry I find it impossible not to wrap my arms round him and kiss his head repeatedly, and when he's in the back carry he wraps his arms round my waist. You don't get that when pushing a pram!
*** Cost ***
The Babyhawk is not the cheapest carrier on the market, nor is it the most expensive. Most online UK shops sell them for around £65. They start at $89 (£57) on the US Babyhawk website...and there you have a full choice of colours and fabrics...however, be warned, you may be charged by customs. I was not, my friend however was. If I remember correctly it was around £18. It is worth factoring into the cost the re-sale value of these. They sell second hand for around £30 - £40, more if the fabric is one of the more unusual ones, or is double sided, etc.
*** Durability ***
I think Babyhawk suggest you only spot clean the carrier. Mine has been in the washing machine on the hand wash cycle several times and still looks fab!
I think I should stop writing! Do I need to say I think this carrier is amazing, or have you worked that out by now?!
Oh, one other thing. The Babyhawk folds up quite small. Unfortunately it doesn't come with a bag to pop it in, this would be a great addition as once folded, if it's not in a bag it the straps can become a little unruly! I found an old drawstring bag that I keep mine in and it easily fits into my rucksack style changing bag.
Summary: A fantastic carrier that you and your baby will love....and look great in!
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