“ Brand: Nest / Type: Frameless / Position: Front / Style: Asian-stlye Mai Tai Carrier „
Mei tai baby carriers are based on traditional far eastern tie-on fabric baby carriers. They are a simple design - effectively a rectangle of fabric with long strips of cloth running out from each corner. The bottom of the rectangle is folded round the bottom of the baby, with the child's legs sticking out each side, and then the cloth strips are tied around the parent's waist / shoulders to support the infant. There are various carrying positions possible with a mei tai; with the baby on the parent's front, back or hip - the instructions that come with the 'nest' mei tai aren't terribly informative, but there are abundant home videos on e.g. youtube wherein people demonstrate how they can be used. While one person adept in mei tai use can successfully tie a baby onto their back in the sling without additional help, for mei tai novices a second person to assist in positioning the mei tai correctly is definitely recommended.
These slings are 'vertical carry' slings and are thus suitable for babies that can hold their heads up unsupported up to toddlers weighing 15kg which equates to two to three years old.
I had high hopes for the Minizone 'nest' mei tai, as my 17 month old baby is now really a bit too big for his front-carry Baby Bjorn sling. The nest mei tai is a basic brown sturdy canvas-like fabric, with an embroidered design of cartoon birds on the front. It's well-made and robust, with strong seams and stitching - which is of course what you want first of all from a sling like this.
Like all mei tais, it has a very simple design; it's basically just cloth, with slight padding sewn into the shoulder straps and around the edge of the baby-supporting rectangle. It comes packaged in a simple, heavy-duty plastic bag, with just the thin cardboard sheet of colour-printed instructions on how to use it. I got mine new for about £17 including P&P from a business seller on Ebay; the same sling is also available from other companies such as amazon.co.uk but tends to sell for upwards of £20 to £25. If you haven't tried a sling like this before, I'd say try and borrow one if you possibly can, to see how you and your baby get on with one before buying your own.
Unfortunately my baby - I think I can only say - freaked out the two times I tried to fit him into the mei tai. He refused to sit still to allow me to tie the mei tai on properly and when I enlisted the help of my partner to get him into it, screamed the house down when I tried him in the 'back carry' position. I think this would have happened irrespective of the brand of mei tai I'd purchased; he just hates the entire tie-on sling concept, or perhaps is so used to the front-carrying Baby Bjorn sling I've used for him since birth that he won't accept being carried behind me instead.
Because of this I've found the Minizone mei tai pretty much useless, although as I've said this would probably have happened whatever brand of mei tai I'd bought. I have to say that irrespective of my baby disliking it, I found it tricky to tie on properly (although if I'd had to put it on more than a total of twice, I might've gotten used to it or discovered some knack to using it). I find it very unwieldy, as the straps are enormously long - and in fact when it's sitting on the chair where I keep it, the straps are so long and trailing that they tend to unfurl onto the floor, where they constitute something of a trip hazard.
I'd have liked to use a simple fabric sling like this, but found it impossible to use as my son dislikes it so much. Had I been able to use it at all it would've warranted an extra review star no doubt.