Diva Milano Essenza Mei Tai | Berry | Wrap Conversion Mei Tai WCMT | Review

 

This carrier is:

  • Diva Milano brand.
  • Mei Tai (an Asian-style carrier).
  • Wrap conversion mei tai (WCMT), meaning sewn from a woven wrap.
  • Manufacturer made (the same manufacturer who weaves and sells the woven wraps, sews and sells these carriers).
  • 100% cotton.
  • “Essenza” is the name of the wrap pattern and fabric, as named by the manufacturer.
  • “Berry” is the name of the color.
  • This is the newer newer Diva Milano Essenza mei tais have a slightly larger body panel, reach ties on the hood, and metal rings to attach the hood ties. The older style of Diva Milano Essenza mei tai measures slightly smaller, has a hood without reach ties, and has plastic toggles to attach the hood ties.

Words I would use to describe this carrier:

  • textured
  • soft
  • adjustable
  • elegant
  • bouncy
  • diagonal stretch
  • comfortable

We would be thrilled if you would add YOUR OWN review of this carrier! Reader reviews located at the end of the post near the comments section.

With my second child, I used mei tais almost exclusively for his first six months of life. Of all the brands I tried, the Diva Milano was hands-down the best for a newborn.

The body panel is the smallest of all the mei tais I tried, and the cinching mechanisms allow it to become even smaller, for a tiny newborn. The body panel cinches both top and bottom – less common even for adjustable mei tais. The top cinch ends up providing head support for a floppy newborn. I did need to fold / roll the waist up and away from my body, when he was first born, to shorten the body panel for his height.

It was the only carrier I tried with my newborn, where I did not feel the need to support his newborn head when he fell asleep. The top cinch provided excellent head support, whether he was awake or asleep.

In prior reviews, I have shown the Smeraldo color with my baby about three weeks old. I have shown the Argento color with my baby about five months old.

In these photos, my son is thirteen months old, thirty inches tall, and weighs 21 lb. He still fits in it nicely, with room to grow. I would venture to say it would fit until around 18 months for the average child.

FABRIC

The fabric has significant diagonal stretch, making it bouncy and forgiving on the shoulders.  It is not stretchy like a Moby Wrap, but has a bounce to the weave that reminds me of hemp or wool blend wraps. The fabric is still remarkable supportive, considering the wide wrap straps are unpadded. I found it quite comfortable on the shoulders, as padded straps tend to dig into my shoulders and concentrate baby’s weight in a narrower section, compared to wrap straps which spread the weight over the entire shoulder.

The fabric is medium thickness to thin (the newer models are slightly thicker than the older models). It is soft to the touch, though not as ultra soft as the softest things I’ve owned (such as Didymos Lisca). It has some texture and grip to it from the pattern of the weave.

It comes in a wide range of colors, all stunning, vibrant and elegant. I noticed no fading or color change after several trips through the washer.

 

SIZING

Best for newborn through about one year old, perhaps eighteen months.

Body panel is one of the smallest, which means it fits an infant better, and a toddler not at all.

Diva Milano changed the body panel in 2014, as stated by websites who sell their carriers in the U.S. The original Essenza mei tai was approximately 14×14 inches, and the newer ones approximately 15×15 inches. If purchasing a used one, I would ask for measurements to verify the sizing. The newest models have metal rings on the shoulder straps, instead of white plastic toggles, to attach the hood.

HIGHLIGHTS

Body panel cinches top and bottom, and has elastic on the sides. The small size held a small baby perfectly. The cinching at the top of the body panel provided fantastic head support for a newborn lacking head control. Newborns tend to roll their heads back or sideways since they don’t have head control.  This was the only carrier that completely supported my newborn’s head. In other carriers I sometimes needed to adjust the hood periodically, or even hold his sleeping head up with my hand.

Elegant woven fabric in a paisley-type pattern.  Fabric comes in only one pattern and thickness, but in a variety of vibrant colors.

Fabric is thin and neither too grippy or too slippery.  It is sturdy for how thin it, and has just the right amount of diagonal stretch.  This is important for brand newborns or preemies who need the support of a strong (not stretchy) fabric. (Keep in mind that preemie wearing has special considerations and is definitely a good opportunity to consult a babywearing educator).

Fabric is particularly breathable and light for hot weather.

Waist and shoulder straps are extra long.

CONSIDERATIONS

Waist straps are narrow, and combined with the thinness of the fabric, can dig into the wearer’s waist when baby gets heavier.  I had mild discomfort from the pressure of the waist strap after my baby exceeded 16 lb or so.  Prior to that, it was not an issue at all. The newer versions are slightly thicker, and I did not have this problem with my baby at thirteen months in a newer model.

Small body panel size will not ideally support a toddler.  This isn’t a carrier to last from newborn through two years old. I have seen a photo of someone wearing it with their two year old, and am still trying to figure out how they made that work!

MEASUREMENTS

The following measurements apply to the newer models. Please see my reviews of Smeraldo or Argento for measurements for the older models.

MEASUREMENTS – BODY

Body Panel Structure – cinches at base and top of body panel, elastic on sides of body panel

Body Panel Width – 15″ wide, cinches to 5″ wide at base and 4″ wide at top of panel

Body Panel Height – new model, 18″ tall measured from top to bottom of entire panel. Fits more like 15/16″ tall, because there is no defined waist band so some of the body panel is used up as the waist.

MEASUREMENTS – WAIST

Waist Band Structure – unstructured, no defined waist, double layer of fabric throughout

Waist Band Height – 3″ tall / wide

Waist Band Length – 35″ from where body panel ends, to end of one side (making a total of 85″ of waist from end to end)

MEASUREMENTS – SHOULDER STRAP

Shoulder Strap Structure – Single layer of fabric, unpadded wrap strap style shoulders, box pleat attachment to body panel

Shoulder Strap Width – 8.5″

Shoulder Strap Length – 83″ long from shoulder to short taper, 87″ long from shoulder to long taper

MEASUREMENTS – HOOD

Hood Style – Newer model is double layer, cinching, with reach ties. It has a tapered shape, and a seamed dart at the top center of the hood. Older model is flat, not cinching, no reach ties, and has two small loops on the corners, to attach to the toggles. The newer model hood is substantially larger.

Hood Height – 11″

Hood Width – 10″ wide at base tapers to 13.5″ wide at top

Reach Ties – 6″

We would be thrilled if you would add YOUR OWN review of this carrier! Reader reviews located at the end of the post near the comments section.

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