This is probably going to be a bit of a reoccurring trend – but I must apologise for being absent for so long! I had a few products lined up for review shortly after the Stokke MyCarrier, but Cora is really good at keeping me tied up and away from the computer. I may still choose a few relevant items to review at a later date, so keep your eyes peeled and I will do my best!
The purpose of this post was a quick update to let you all know about the back carry method for the Stokke MyCarrier. In my last post, which is a fair few month’s back, Cora was not yet long enough to travel safely in the back carry position, so I was not able to review it on that aspect fully. Since then, we have taken trips using that method several times so I will endeavour to give you feedback in as much detail as possible.
Chinese Mei Tai – A Little Back Story…
As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve gone through various carrier types including the Chinese Mei Tai. For those who are unfamiliar with this carrier, it’s basically a square of fabric (more like a rectangle actually), with long straps of equal length attached to each corner. There are various ways to accomplish getting baby onto your back, but basically baby is positioned length ways on the fabric, whilst the top two straps then go over your shoulders and the bottom two go under each of baby’s legs and around your hips. This achieves the ‘Happy Hips’ / ‘Froggy Legs’ optimum carry position to be safe for baby’s hips/spine. The Chinese Mei Tai was originally designed mainly for back-carrying, and having had the chance to compare Mei Tai to Stokke, I have to say the Mei Tai performs admirably considering the simplicity of its design. Why am I talking about the Mei Tai? All will be explained further down…
Stokke MyCarrier Back Carry Vs. Chinese Mei Tai
So to achieve the back carry in the Stokke, you must first unzip the main piece and attach the alternative piece and insert the lumbar support (detailed images can be found in my first post) – the zip and positioning can be slightly fiddly if it’s been a while since you’ve had to mess around with the assembly of the carrier, but shouldn’t present too much problem. Baby then can be clipped into the carrier and then lifted easily and safely straight onto your back like a backpack! This is the niftiest part of the Stokke and the feature I love the most – the designers have certainly put a lot of thought into the execution of getting baby onto your back.
Carrying Cora around town in the back carry position was an interesting experience. One trip lasted over an hour, by which time Cora was understandably fed up and wanted out. This left me in a bind as I didn’t have the buggy, and I had a whole bunch of shopping too – not an experience I am keen to repeat any time soon!
I can’t be sure if my build or size had anything to do with it, or even my dubious posture, but I found back carrying to be a lot more tiring and uncomfortable than front carrying on the Stokke. I have spoken to Cora Daddy at length about both carrying positions as he has had lengthy durations of both, and he doesn’t find there is a noticeable difference in comfort levels. He does prefer front carrying, but only because he likes to be able to see Cora at all times and feels he is more in control of her safety when she is up front.
This is a noteworthy point as most public places can get rather crowded at times, and I felt that the Stokke’s back carrying position wasn’t quite ‘close’ enough to mum or dad’s body to feel completely confident in the safety of baby. Without the tactile feel of baby being right up close to your back, and in fact with baby leaning at a slight angle away from your back, it can sometimes feel like she could easily catch on objects or people when you are in a narrow space and particularly when turning around. I found myself very conscious of turning in crowds and in shops, afraid she might accidentally knock into something or someone.
This is also the main reason I mentioned the Mei Tai earlier. With a carrier like the Mei Tai, baby is very cosily pressed up against your back so you can be certain she is creating as compact a footprint as possible – it’s much easier to gauge how much more space you have to allow for yourself and her when in a crowded area and so for me personally, it is a much better method of back carrying than the Stokke.
Essentially this is not a problem, as I quite like front carrying in general and so the Stokke still serves that end very well. But on the occasions where I want to back carry, I definitely prefer using something like a Mei Tai.
The Mei Tai that I have is a very basic, bog-standard one that I purchased from Hong Kong. It is the preferred method of carrying in Asia and significantly more popular than buggies or prams as space is very limited there. Due to it being very no-frills, the support and comfort of the straps on my shoulders definitely have room for improvement, but it’s not something that greatly impacts the carrying experience. It is also just a piece of sturdy but soft fabric, so the build up of heat is greatly reduced and it is significantly lighter too. Mine is nothing to look at, and is actually a horrific, almost neon(!) pink, with a really awful flower motif on it. Think garish curtain meets terrible table-cloth… BUT! Fear not – for those of you who are fashion-conscious and would never be seen dead at home with a table-cloth on your back (let alone outdoors), there is hope – a few online boutiques specialising in custom-made Mei Tais produce some amazing designs and colours, with more built-in luxuries than you could shake a stick at. A good place to get an idea of the possibilities is here – Simply Mei Tai has many good design examples, and have modified their design to incorporate front carrying, hip carrying and all sorts of other interesting ideas. From padded-straps to silk inner linings, and hoods to shade baby and keep their heads secure when asleep, the modernised (or westernised?) version of the Mei Tai is really quite swanky.
The only downside? These perks come at a premium. My Mei Tai cost me approximately £3.00, and the trade-off is that overall the designs and colours are very limited. In the UK or the US however, you will need to expect to pay around the £90 mark – with many custom designs over £100. Is it worth that much extra? I’d like to know too. If these modern Mei Tais are anywhere near as good as mine for back carrying, I’d definitely be intrigued as to how it would perform for all the other carries too. The magpie in me also loves the choice of a nice looking design and colour, with all the extra trimmings!
So that concludes the full Stokke MyCarrier review – all in all it is a sturdy and safe carrier, and you cannot fault it for build quality and materials. My personal preference is the front carry (facing inwards or outwards), but I would go for something else to back carry. Have any readers since bought and used the Stokke? What are your thoughts, and how have you been getting on? I would love to hear from you all, and also anyone who has experience with the modern Mei Tais – do get in touch!