March 22, 2007

Does This Baby Carrier Make My Manboobs Look Big?

In search of a way to carry his kid Bubba without straining his back too much, Chicago area at-home dad Howard Ludwig decided to check out a babywearing seminar at the local library. But unless you count a bunch of strangers breastfeeding, things weren't looking good. Too many "girlie fabrics."

Then the workshop organizer broke out the camo print back carrier known as a mei tai:

Bubba sat in a pouch on my lower back looking like Yoda as he trained Luke Skywalker in the Dagobah system.

It felt comfortable. But, I had to know how it looked.

I wandered into the men's room. My first thought was, "Wow, this is great. I can take a whiz while I'm carrying Bubba on my back."

Then, I looked in the mirror.

The shoulder straps smashed my man-boobs together, making me look like Phil Mickelson at Augusta.

Also, it made his gut stand out.

As you can see, Luke's mei tai didn't lift and separate. If only the bottom strap could provide a little controltop support across the belly, in business we'd be. Any tips for babywearing with a manrack?

Necessary Accessory
[ via dt reader mpt]


Wearing the mei tai on your front helps with the man boobs, but it doesn't help with the back pain. My friend does slings for men in cool fabrics:

They're useful, and a little better balanced for the back but I agree- I'd like something back mounted. Like a Baby Bjack Bjorn. Something smaller than those compound frame, baby camping chair backpacks. Also not mentioned is that mei tais are generally not made of sport fabrics like back packs are. So if it's hot outside, after removing your kid, you'll have wonderful sweat stains to show off.

greg, I believe this is your finest work thus far, the apotheosis of your career as a blogger. yodatalk AND manrack, in one glorious post.

I avoided the manboob squish be sharing my wife's peanut shell. We got one with a red and white hawaiian print on one side and basic black on the other. Little man rides to the side, making urination a non-issue (mine, not his). In fact, now that he is older, he leans forward and checks out the, uh, ehem, stream, if you will. I think the url is

To avoid the man rack, you need a mei tai with long straps. Instead of crossing the straps in the front (which looks awful with my womanrack, FWIW), pull them under your arms as if they're backpack straps, then cross or twist them under the kids butt, bring them around and tie them in the front.

[yeah, there were some lift&separate pictures I didn't want to mock, basically, but there is also a serious shortage of frontal pix to show the full effect. it's all pure product shot imagery out there. seems like it'd be vital info. -ed.]

try kangakid

My husband loves it. The kid loves it. Plus you don't also have to carry a diaper bag, it's built right in. We paid $129.00 at a travel store in Pasadena called Distant Lands on Raymond Ave.

We use a Tragetuch like these or

And I have heard lots of good things about this

Glad you got the article! In order to avoid man-boobs, men should try the backpack-style back carry (this is what we use). The best MeiTai wearing instructions I've found online are on the Kozy website ( and Charlie Mason is one of the hottest babywearing dads on the net. It was seeing pictures of him wearing his babies that convinced my hubby he would look manly while wearing our baby.

A lot of MeiTai vendors offer the option of making customs, so manly fabrics aren't an issue: I know of women who have had MTs made for their babydaddies with a jersey from their favorite sports team or a favorite rock band's logo. I've also seen some made with solarveil panels, to help with the heat issue.

If you need a waist belt that offers more lumbar support, there are some very versatile structured carriers that are a happy compromise between the MeiTai and the frame-packs: Sutemi, Yamo, Ergo, Patapum and Beco to name a few. There's a great article for dads by Paulus Wanandi on (there's also a huge babywearing men picture thread in the forums section of the site but you have to be a member in order to view it)

I would suggest an Ergo. Much more guy-friendly than most carriers and really reduces the manboob factor. The Baby Trekker does fairly well on that front too.

In the end, we all get man-boobs.

I bought my wife the Gucci baby carrier. Although she uses it everyday, I've only used it twice. It has very long adjustable straps which you criss cross around your back. She is a petite 5'0" 88lbs, while I am a 6'0" 260lbs and we can both use it. It is not like all the ones I see at stores where you strap it to your body all tight and has a 1,000 point harness. It looks like you are going to climb mt. everest or something. I've tried on the baby bjorn one time and It seriously looked like I had breasts lol. Although the gucci one does create man boobage as much as a ordinary backpack would, no one would notice, but than again, Its gucci, and everyone just stares at it, and even though they are looking at the carrier, or the baby, It makes me feel like they are staring at my temporary breasts haha.

I really like Mei Tais that have wrap style straps, like the Ball Baby or Maya Tai. Both of them come in colors men would like and I agree w/the previous poster about twisting over babys bum and returning the shoulder straps to the front. Then you can reposition both the shoulder and waist straps for the girdle like effect you desire :)

I like the multi-positional carriers. I can shift my baby around when the weight gets to be too much and most of them can hold a child up to 35lbs

As already recommended you should try the Erog, but I highly recommend the Ergo Sport, or Ergo Performance. They are both made out of really breathable fabrics with guys doing sports kind of thing, in mind! The Ergo is designed on a mei tai stye but with buckles, a bit like a much better designed baby bjack bjorn!!
Have fun!

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