Recently I was approached by a caregiver who straight out said I should really wear my meh dai straps under the babies legs instead of over as it could cut the baby’s legs circulation off (I don’t have correct verbiage because I’m human and have mom brain). However it was along the lines of my baby being harmed. I have spent some time reflecting on this encounter. I will not be explaining the encounter detail by detail but I am compelled to explain a few things going on in my head.
I think that a meh dai is a carrier that is misunderstood and quite often underrated. Some people show concern that the top straps that go across the baby’s body is going to harm the baby. Also some people find the long straps overwhelming and intimidating. These are feelings and concerns I’ve heard from caregiver’s that I have helped.
Here are some things to know about meh dai’s:
- How you choose to tie off your meh dai is stylistic. The panel provides the most support and with correct tightening and tying off you have an optimal carry.
- In America we mainly recommend going over the knees, cross under bum, tie under bum or tie behind back double knotted. It is not suggested to tie off on the baby’s back.
- In Europe they may go under the knees and tie off.
- If you are noticing your baby’s legs are discolored (not normal looking to you) while being in any carrier there is cause for concern.
I have seen meh dai straps tied both ways. Personally I teach the over the knees, under bum technique because that’s how I’ve been taught and feel comfortable. With that said, there’s actually no standard or strict guidelines that say meh dai’s HAVE to be worn “this” way. If you are noticing discoloration or circulation issues in any carrier it could be a number of things, and honestly, if you’ve had help from an educator and it’s still happening please see your child’s physician. I really love meh dai’s so I made an instructional video to go over some of these points:
Anyway this encounter that happened brought awkwardness about and it has been weighing on my shoulders……
As a Babywearing Educator and as a babywearing caregiver I love talking about baby carriers and babywearing on the daily. I go out enough to see tons of caregiver’s wearing their children in optimal and not so optimal ways.
I don’t ever know anyone’s story or background within the babywearing world. They may be well versed or they may not. So although one may be well intentioned, bombarding them with information of any kind may completely turn them off to babywearing. Furthermore, coming straight into a conversation with a scare point isn’t always the best idea…..in any situation. No matter how the caregiver is wearing I always lead with a positive: comment or smile. Sometimes I don’t even make contact or conversation because #caregiversbebusy. There are instances where I may stop a caregiver because their baby is literally falling out and I really think they need help. A simple smile or word of encouragement really can help to open a conversation.
LET’S ENCOURAGE BABYWEARING!
If there is anything I’d love is to see more caregivers using baby carriers. The best way to do that is to encourage them. Even if you know or don’t think they’re using their carrier correctly, encourage them. If you see babywearing, celebrate it. Be inclusive. We need caregivers to feel more empowered. Bring them in and they will more likely be open to learning.
I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO OR SAY
Here are some things you can do or say to be more inclusive when meeting another caregiver who is babywearing or could use a baby carrier:
- Use encouraging language or gestures.
- Befriend them on Facebook or Instagram; seriously it’s not that awkward in this day and age.
- Invite them to a babywearing group on Facebook or in person.
- Invite them to follow or contact a certain educator you prefer.
- Get some business cards for your local babywearing chapter or local babywearing educator’s and keep them on hand to give out.
ROLL WITH THE POSITIVE TRAIN
I hope this post helps us all remember those days when we first began babywearing and how a little encouragement took us a long way. No one is perfect in this world but when we know better, we do better.
“Be an Encourager: When you encourage others, you boost their self-esteem, enhance their self-confidence, make them work harder, lift their spirits and make them successful in their endeavors. Encouragement goes straight to the heart and is always available. Be an encourager. Always.”
― Roy T. Bennet