Frequently Asked Questions
Feel free to email me if your question is not answered here.
Q. For what age can I use the MangoBaby baby carrier?
A. The MangoBaby baby carrier can accommodate a newborn up to toddler, as long as you are comfortable with the weight. The seams are triple-sewn like a pair of jeans, and can safely hold the weight of a small child. In China, children are routinely carried up to the age of 4 to 5 years. I personally carried my toddler until she was 3.
Q. Will I need longer straps?
A. If you are doing the back carry with the twist & tuck, the straps should be long enough for people of generous size. Because this style of mei tai is really meant to be a back carrier, I designed the Mangobaby to have strap extensions tucked into the pockets so that people of all different sizes can do a front carry easily. This will also allow you to do the ruck sack and the front cross carry. The straps are about 1.2m (46") in length from the centre of the baby carrier, and total length of the shoulder straps with the extensions is 2m (78").
Q. How is the twist & tuck mei tai different from the other mei tais on the market?
A. The twist & tuck mei tai has four straps of equal length that is secured with a twist & tuck, and does not need longer shoulder straps. The twist & tuck mei tai is very popular in the Cantonese region of China. Any mei tais I've seen in Chinatowns are the twist & tuck mei tai. The other mei tais you see sold today are based on a design that has shorter waist straps, and longer shoulder straps that are wrapped around and tied under the bum. I am not sure of the origin of this style and whether or not it is currently used. To my knowledge, the Mangobaby is the only twist & tuck mei tai currently being sold on the web.
Q. What advantages does the MangoBaby have over other mei tais?
1. The all-fabric design means no padding, and folds up more compactly making it very portable.
2. The wide shoulder straps are very comfortable like a wrap and not as bulky as padding.
3. The wide body accommodates baby in the cradle position, as well as front-facing with legs in.
4. The curved shape keeps even a newborn baby securely in without extra tying.
5. The four straps are the same length, and are shorter than the shoulder straps on modern mei tais.
6. The optional straps make the shoulder straps longer for larger people and allow for the same variety of ties as modern mei tais.
Q. What disadvantages does the MangoBaby have over other mei tais?
1. In order to take advantage of the wide shoulder straps, the straps must be crossed in front of you with the twist & tuck method, or the front cross method.
2. Although you can do other back carries that don't cross the straps in front, if you prefer these carries, it will not be as comfortable as a mei tai with padded straps.
3. There is no toy loop, hood, or other modern features, but when using the twist & tuck, you can use the traditional pockets at the ends of the straps to carry small items such as keys, change, and your phone.
Q. Is the MangoBaby available in stores?
A. For the time being, the MangoBaby is not available in stores.
Instructions and Wearing
Q. How do I use the MangoBaby with a newborn?
A. Using the MangoBaby with your newborn may take some experimentation. Some mothers have preferred carrying baby in the cradle position, and others prefer the upright position. When in the cradle position, you may need to provide some support with a rolled up receiving blanket. Another variation is to have baby upright but diagonal, so the head is supported by a strap. Others find handling a newborn in a carrier awkward, and wait until baby has head control to use a baby carrier. I have also had mothers who swaddled their newborns before putting them in a baby carrier.
Q. I am a wrap-user, and I am having trouble getting the MangoBaby snug enough.
A. The technique for the MangoBaby vs. the wrap are slightly different. It is important to wait until after you are finished tying to spread out the shoulder straps across your shoulders. Many wrap users try to take up slack with the straps already spread out at their shoulders, however this creates too much friction. The shoulder straps should remain gathered until you are finished tying, as demonstrated in the videos.
Q. How do I provide head support in the back carry?
A. If your baby is still small enough, you can have someone help you pull up the fabric over baby's head. You can also lean forward while baby is asleep and redo the baby carrier, pulling it up far enough to support his head when you re-tie it. As your baby gets longer, the baby carrier will be too short to do this. Traditionally in China, a long scarf does the trick. Just flip it over baby's head, and tie it around you diagonally, like a sling. I use a light silk scarf.
Q. Will you be making a hood for the MangoBaby?
A. Right now, there are no plans to make a hood for the MangoBaby. I want to keep the look and structure of the mei tai as traditional as possible, and feel that an attached hood would take away from that.
Q. My baby gets red marks on her legs after being carried. Should I be worried about this?
A. Sitting on any textured surface will cause red marks on the skin, so this is completely normal. Look for signs from your baby to see if he is comfortable. If he is not complaining, then there shouldn't be any cause for concern.
Q. Is it okay for baby to sit with her legs spread out so wide?
A. Once your baby is out of the frog-like newborn legs, they can have their legs straddled around you. This is actually how they naturally would be if you didn't have a baby carrier and were hip carrying. It is also commonly known that in places such as China, where babies are often carried straddled, that there is a much lower to non-existent incidence of hip displasia, something your pediatrician checks for at every appointment. Babies in cultures where they are swaddled or straight for long periods of time are also known to have higher incidences of hip displasia. Also, keeping baby's legs spread apart is the common treatment for those who do develop hip displacement.
Q. When can I do the back carry with my baby?
A. As soon as you feel baby has enough head support, you can do a back carry. It also depends on your comfort level. Some people are more comfortable doing a back carry with a smaller baby than others. Others wait until baby is bigger.