A Meh Dai is an East-Asian style of soft-bodied carrier, originally from China. The meh dai has a square or rectangular body panel with four straps, one on each corner of the center panel. The baby is seated in the body panel and the straps of the meh dai are tied around the wearer.
This type of carrier is wonderful for babies through toddler age and is especially great for caregivers with back issues, as the carrier distributes weight over your entire upper body and uses 2 shoulders.
Meh Dai carriers can be used for front and back carries through preschool age as well as for hip carries. This carrier offers the option to nurse hand free, though some women with larger breasts may find it slightly difficult.
Why we love Meh Dais (mei tais):
- Versatile and easy to learn
- Super adjustable
- Minimalist feel – no buckles, no bulky padding, no stiff waistband
- One size fits most, so caregivers of different sizes can share the carrier
- Gorgeous prints and patterns!
- Great for people with back and shoulder problems since they distribute weight over both shoulders
Meh Dais (mei tais) are not ideal for:
- Wet, muddy days (due to difficulty of keeping straps from dragging on the ground)
- People only interested in hip carry (there are easier hip carriers)
- Newborn nursing (there are better carriers)
- People who aren’t able to tie and untie knots
Anatomy of Meh Dai
This picture shows a Soul Meh Dai laid out flat. This Meh Dai has wide wrap-style straps, which differentiates it from other styles, which may have narrower straps.
Basics of the Meh Dai style carrier:
- The body of the meh dai. This rectangular piece of cloth becomes the seat for the baby and support’s baby’s legs and back.
- The waistband: this is the band that goes around the wearer’s waist. It is fastened using the waist straps (#4). May be padded or unpadded, depending on the brand. On the Soul Meh Dai, the waist is wide and unpadded
- The shoulder straps of a meh dai go over the wearer’s shoulders. Shoulder straps are long enough to wrap around wearer’s body and are often crossed on the back for comfort. Straps are fastened by tying a knot.
- Waist straps – these are the straps that fasten around the wearer’s waist and secure with a knot.
- Hood – optional. Not all meh dai carriers have hoods. For those that do, the hood is used to cover baby’s head for some protection from the elements and also to support the head when baby is sleeping.
Note: Meh Dais were formerly referred to as Mei Tais on our site and elsewhere. We have changed this spelling to Meh Dai in keeping with our values of cultural sensitivity. The spelling “Meh Dai” is is a better English approximation of the Cantonese pronunciation of this carrier; it can also be spelled Bei Dai, which is similar to the pronunciation in Mandarin.
For more information about the history of the name and the appropriate pronunciation, go here.