I received a great question from a customer today trying to decide which baby carrier would be best for her. This is such a tough question to answer as everyone’s needs are different, but I tried. Keep in mind this customer already decided that she would be using a Baby Sling for the infant stage. Here was my response to her…
If it’s a choice between a Mei Tai and an Ergo Baby Carrier you’re trying to make, there are a few things you might consider. How long do you plan to use your baby carrier, and what do you use your baby carrier most often for?
Many parents find that once a baby reaches about 30-35 lbs (around 1.5 – 2 years, generally) they have outgrown the “carrying” stage and prefer to use a stroller more often. If it’s for occasional use (on a subway or bus, perhaps, or for quick shopping trips) you may be better off with a Mei Tai. If you think you will still use your carrier continuously/daily around this age/stage and beyond, than you would be better to go with an Ergo. This will allow you to carry a heavier baby for longer periods, particularly if you do a lot of walking/hiking etc.
Both baby carriers require about the same commitment level in terms of getting to know how to use it. The Mei Tai is “tied” to your body whereas the Ergo Baby Carrier is fastened on with belts/buckles. The “mainstream” appeal of the Ergo is more attractive to men, so if dad will be using the carrier as well, this might be a consideration. The Mei Tai is more compact, so it tends to fits better in a diaper bag or suitcase.
Personally, I find getting a “sleeping” baby out of a Mei Tai easier, but I think you’ll find as your daughter gets older she’ll be more interested in what’s around her and you might prefer the better support to your neck and back that the Ergo offers as she grows. I also find the Mei Tai is a bit easier to use when my daughter is in a bulky winter coat (a consideration for us here in Canada!). The coat can get in the way with the Ergo, and if you are doing a back carry in the winter, you may need help getting her situated. I can always manage on my own with the Mei Tai, even when we are both dressed for a cold Canadian winter day.
My personal choice (because I have used both extensively, and I *can* use both!) is a Mei Tai for the majority of trips and winter use, but the Ergo whenever I know she will be in the carrier for a long time. I use my Ergo when I’m gardening, doing yard work or housecleaning for an hour or more. If you are getting two carriers, with one being a Hotslings baby sling, you might find the Hotslings serves the “quick trip” purpose and the Ergo is a great accompany to this. Honestly, if I could only have one, it would be really tough to give up my Mei Tai, but I think I’d have to go with the Ergo.
I hope I haven’t confused you more! If I can answer any further questions, don’t be afraid to contact us.