Friday, May 29, 2009

Review : Jellie Bellies Mei Tai

Ever try a Mei Tai? I hadn't until just recently when Michelle from Jellie Babies sent me one to review. Michelle has a great little Etsy shop where she sells her handmade Mei Tais as well as little mini Mei Tais for those little ones that want to carry their dolls. (How cute is that, right? How I would love to get one of those when my little girl is a bit older!) Plus her prices are pretty awesome too.

Here's a little ditty from Michelle:
My parents named me Michelle and I became Lloyd when I married my husband nine years ago! I married an Australian and had the privileged of living in South Australia for the first 5 years of marriage. We had 2 boys there, now 7 and 5, then we moved to the states. We've lived in my hometown of Spokane, Washington for 4 1/2 years now and are surviving the winters.....barely! We have since had 2 baby girls, now 3 and 20 months.

It was after the birth of my 3rd child that I discovered the benefits of "baby wearing". She was an extremely fussy baby. I felt that my whole life was spent on the couch nursing, and I was struggling to find a way to keep her happy and get anything else done in my day (including meaningful interaction with my boys) That is when I happened upon a sling and I never looked back. I researched other carriers and eventually landed on the Mei Tai. One of the things that attracted me to it was that I could easily make one myself and thereby change the look as much as I wanted. I loved it at first for the convenience, but have come to appreciate the wonderful benefits of having your baby so close so much of the time.

It was with the birth of my last child that I started making the carriers for other people. First, as gifts, and then I started selling them to friends who had one and wanted to give them to someone else. I never imagined I'd be selling them to people I didn't know, let alone people all over the country! I named the company Jellie Babies after my daughters - Josephine and Ellie - and chose the butterfly symbol simply because of it's beauty. I work out of my basement, mostly in the evenings when the kids are in bed and my husband is working on the computer.

The Mei Tai is something I love, but I realize there are many carriers out there and people have their own favorites. That is why I get so excited when someone else shares my enthusiasm for this carrier. I try to use designer fabrics, patterns that I love or imagine someone else will really love. I make all my carriers with sturdy, breathable, cotton twill and line them with Minky or twill, depending on your preference. I triple reinforce the stitching where straps attach to the carrier, which makes it durable. I have a carrier I used for both my girls and it's still going strong. It does take a few times practicing to get it all down, but now it's fun to put my toddler on my back, secure her with the straps, and head off down the grocery aisle. I hope you like the Jellie Babies Mei Tai as much as I do!

When I first got this in the mail, I was immediately impressed by the quality of the fabric and construction. And the fact that it had lightly padded shoulder straps! I wasn't expecting that and was very pleased to see it. I also loved the fact that it's lined with super soft Minky fabric. How awesome is that?

The instructions she sent me were easy to follow, though she's right - it took me just a couple times to really get it right. Sophia seemed very comfortable in it and proceeded to fall asleep right away. Something about being carried right up against me knocks her out every time! The carrier keeps her very secure and I never once felt as if she would fall out. It's also light weight enough to where neither one of us get to hot. I do normally put her in it while sitting down though. Makes it easier for me at this point, but I'm sure one day it'll be so second nature that I could put it on in just a couple seconds standing up. I had it tied under her bum for awhile, but have since noticed that she stays put better (doesn't slouch) if I tie it at her back.

I've since used it around the house during the day and also at the grocery store. And I'm actually able to get this review because she's in it! It's been easy to put on and it's also nice that I can take it off while she's sleeping without disturbing her to much. The only downside I've noticed with this type of carrier (each type has it's own!) is that again, the straps are long and I worry about getting them dirty when I put it on out in public. :-)

All in all it's a great carrier and really good quality. So if you're looking for a Mei Tai for yourself or as a gift for someone else, check out Jellie Babies and support handmade!

*if you purchase one of these and mention "Raising Peanuts" in your order form, Michelle will refund the shipping cost back to your paypal account!!!

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