May marked the 10th anniversary of our first mei tai ever sold. In babywearing industry years that makes us about eleventy billion years old. It also means we have been on quite a roller coaster ride while we’ve participated in the transition from a time when nobody had heard of a mei tai (to be honest, I was unsure if “mei tai” was going to stick or if another name would be adopted) to a time when mei tais are available on the shelves (actual or virtual) of some pretty big names in retail. And it’s true that you can often score quite a deal on one, and after all isn’t a mei tai pretty much the same everywhere?
I’m sure it will not be surprising to hear that my answer is an emphatic no. All mei tais really aren’t the same! While the beauty of mei tais is the elegant simplicity of the basic idea, there are many design and production decisions that affect the final product and how it performs. So why should you choose a mei tai from catbird baby?
- Experience: As I said, we have been in the mei tai business for 10 years; we know what we are doing! And baby carriers, and specifically mei tais, are our specialty, and focus to this day.
- Track Record: The proof is in the pudding. Our designs have been securely and comfortably carrying thousands of babies and toddlers since 2005, and hopefully will continue to do so for many more years!
- Quality: From our fabric selection to our workmanship, we make sure that everything we do is the best it can be. We use lovely 100% cotton bottom-weight* fabrics of excellent quality. We use needle-punched** cotton (with a tiny bit of polyester to prevent shrinkage) batting in our mei tai shoulder straps instead of inexpensive polyurethane foam. We use it because it is comfier and more breathable and helps the straps lay flat and mold to your shoulders. Our workmanship is top-notch; we expect the best of the sewers who craft our carriers!
- Layers: Unlike other brands, our mei tai has a minimum of 2 layers of bottomweight cotton in the body panel. If the mei tai has a print panel, this is another panel that is sewn on top of the 2 layers. Other brands often have one bottomweight layer and a light- or medium-weight top panel layer. This means our mei tai will be more supportive with a heavier baby, but since the fabric is 100% cotton and there is no foam in the body panel, it is still lightweight and breathable.
- Size: The body panel on our mei tai is larger than any other widely available non-wrap fabric mei tai. Because mei tais are so customizable, it’s simple to just fold the bottom once before putting on for a newborn and then later not fold the bottom to have high-back coverage for a toddler. Our mei tai is also wider than others, but has a sewn-in elastic loop that you can use to cinch it up if you wish.
- Stitching: Our mei tai straps are top-stitched for the full length of each strap seam. This is key in enabling the straps on our mei tai to lay flat and not get “ropey.” Again, this means more comfort for you and your baby.
- Style: We’ve been told we have an eye for fabrics and colors. And we strive to offer you choices to match your particular sense of style.
- Leadership: Catbird Baby has been an involved and committed member of the babywearing industry for 10 years. I personally served as a founding board member of the BCIA (Baby Carrier Industry Alliance) and continue to serve today.
- Mom-Designed: Our mei tai was borne out of love and practical experience as a mom. We know moms, and we know babywearing.
We are thrilled that mei tais are getting so much widespread attention! My love for mei tais is what made me so passionate about babywearing and inspired me to start Catbird Baby. We hope you will love these carriers as much as we do.
*think sturdy; bottomweight fabrics are of sufficient weight, measured in ounces per sq. yards, to wear well
**needle-punched battings are created when the fibers are felted together with thousands of needles punching them together to create the fabric (as opposed to weaving or knitting, or other methods of creating fabric)