How to do a Hip Carry in a Soft Structured Carrier [+ Catbird Baby Pikkolo Review]

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I always get a lot of people at my babywearing group asking how to do a hip carry in a soft structured carrier (SSC). While it’s not my typical go to hip carry – it’s easy to do and pretty comfortable depending on which carrier you have. So I thought it would be fun to do a little picture tutorial to help! You’ll find the steps below, but just remember that every carrier is different and that some manufactures may recommend a different set of steps – so always check your manual if you’re not sure.

How to do a Hip Carry in a Soft Structured Carrier - Catbird Baby Pikkolo

How to do a Hip Carry in a Soft Structured Carrier

  • STEP 1: Buckle the waist band of the carrier with the body panel hanging down your preferred hip. With the Catbird Baby Pikkolo that I was sent to review – the body panel hangs down apron style so that the inside of the carrier is facing out.
  • STEP 2: Pick up your baby and place them on your hip. Use your other hand (that’s not holding your baby) to bring the body panel of the carrier up over baby’s back.

How to do a Hip Carry in a Soft Structured Carrier Step 1 and 2

  • STEP 3: Take the strap that’s towards the front of your body and loosen it so you have a lot of strap to work with. You can also loosen both shoulder straps before you even put it on – but I always forget! Take the strap across the front of your body, over your shoulder, across your back, and connect it with the matching buckle on the side of the body panel. Tighten the strap and adjust so it’s not riding up on your neck.
  • STEP 4: Take the other strap – that’s towards the back of your body – and bring it around your back to the front and across your waist. Connect it with the matching buckle on the side of the body panel. Tighten.

How to do a Hip Carry in a Soft Structured Carrier Step 3 and 4

That’s it! Easy, right? Here’s what it looks like from behind:

How to do a Hip Carry in a Soft Structured Carrier Back View

Catbird Baby Pikkolo

Catbird Baby Pikkolo Review

Catbird Baby makes a few different carrier styles – the Pikkolo (an SSC) and a Mei Tai Carrier – along with some accessories to make babywearing easier. The Pikkolo happens to be the carrier that I recommend the most when parents ask me what SSC is best for newborns. I actually recommend it quite frequently in my babywearing group!

Pikkolo Waist Toggle - How to do a Hip Carry in a Soft Structured Carrier Post

The reason being is that is has a feature that I’ve never seen on another carrier – a toggle that cinches the body panel width to allow it to better accommodate newborns and small babies (i.e., not having their little legs too spread apart). I didn’t get to try this feature out personally since Haley is 14 months old and 20 lbs., but I’ve seen it in action a few times and it works great.

Pikkolo Newborn Body Panel - How to do a Hip Carry in a Soft Structured Carrier Post

Another feature that isn’t common on other SSC’s and something that sets the Pikkolo apart from others is the waist band. There’s no padding and it’s actually just a simple piece of webbing material. You would think it wouldn’t be as comfortable as a padded waistband, but I actually prefer it. It doesn’t push my pants down like the padding on other carriers do. Catbird baby sells a support belt that’s padded that they recommend for use with toddlers – but I’ve never tried it.

Pikkolo Waist Strap - How to do a hip carry in a Soft Structured Carrier Post

Pikkolo Waist Buckle - how to do a hip carry in a soft structured carrier post

A feature that I often don’t utilize is the loops you’ll find on all the ends of the straps. It’s there so that you can roll up the excess strap to keep it from dangling down. Since I loan out my carriers frequently with people of all different sizes, I often prefer to just let the straps hang so people don’t have to fiddle with rolling and unrolling. If you’re the only one that uses your carrier though – the loops can help to contain some of the excess.

Pikkolo Strap Loop how to do a hip carry in a soft structured carrier post

I love SSC’s that allow the straps to be unbuckled. This allows you the versatility to either crisscross the straps in the back to distribute weight or wear them ruck style (like a backpack). It also allows you to use your SSC for a hip carry (see above). If a carrier allows crisscross straps – I always wear it this way. It’s way more comfortable because it spreads the weight of your baby out.

Pikkolo Side Strap Buckle - how to do a hip carry in a soft structured carrier

The Pikkolo also has a hood that you can hide away in a little secret pocket. I actually didn’t realize the pocket was there for quite some time! The hood provides ample coverage from the elements or you can even use it for head support if your baby falls asleep. That’s the only way Haley will let me use it. You can see in the pictures below (the ones showing a front carry) that she’s trying to pull it off! I actually don’t care for the way that the hood connects to the straps when you use it. There’s a toggle on the end that you have to thread through loops on the shoulder straps. I find it quite difficult to push through – especially when trying not to wake Haley up. I would prefer an easy clip or buckle.

Pikkolo Hood - how to do a hip carry in a soft structured carrier post

Pikkolo Hood Toggle - how to do a hip carry in a soft structured carrier post

Pikkolo Front Carry with Hood - how to do a hip carry in a soft structured carrier post

Like all other SSC’s the Pikkolo has a chest clip that needs to be fastened when doing a back carry (see back carry picture above) or if you choose to do a front carry using the straps back pack style. It clips easily, tightens, and slides up and down so you can get it in the most comfortable spot for you.

Pikkolo Chest Clip - how to do a hip carry in a soft structured carrier

The Pikkolo is well made, the stitching is appropriately reinforced at the straps, and the buckles are strong and durable. It’s definitely a carrier that’s made to last. There’s one in my groups lending library that’s been there for years – and we just recently lost the chest clip. Although the chest clip on the newer model pictured doesn’t come off like the older one – so you don’t have to worry about losing it!

Pikkolo Stitching - how to do a hip carry in a soft structured carrier post

I’ve used this carrier in the front facing in position, the hip carry, and the back carry. The carrier is also designed to ergonomically be worn front facing out for brief periods of time. Haley doesn’t care for this position so we don’t do it, but it’s definitely a safe option if your baby cares for it. I always just recommend that parents pay extra attention for overstimulation and comfort (both you and baby).

As you can see in the pictures, the Pikkolo doesn’t provide the often recommended knee to knee coverage on Haley. While that’s optimal positioning – you’ll notice that her legs are still well supported to about mid thigh and she’s in a comfortable seated position – so this carrier is still a-okay to use for bigger babies with longer legs. The weight range on this carrier is from 8-40 lbs, but I most often recommend it for newborns and younger babies. After about 20 lbs., you’ll want to add on the padded support belt (purchased separately) to maximize comfort.

Do you do a hip carry in a soft structured carrier? Have you ever tried the Pikkolo? It’s one of my favorite SSC’s!

Buy it

You can purchase the Catbird baby Pikkolo, like the one I reviewed, on the Catbird baby Website and through selected retailers for $129. It comes in several colors and prints. You can also purchase the padded support belt for $25. The carrier pictured is their Metropolitan Black.


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  1. What great instructions! I am glad you had photos, too. That helps so much!

  2. Dianna Thomas says:

    I really would like to have some kind of baby carrier– so everything that is coming out I’m checking out as best I can– this one looks pretty simple that I think both my husband and I could manage this– I really appreciate the pix steps–for people like me :-)

  3. Alycia Mundall says:

    I still need to try a hip hold…this looks so much easier then I thought!!!

  4. I’ve done hip carrying with my ergobaby, but the neck strap cuts into my neck its not so comfortable.. this looks much better. I would love to try it.

    • Try clipping the chest strap together! You’ll have to slide it around until you have it in the right position, but it’ll keep the one off your neck!

  5. Kathryn Donaldson says:

    I love love LOVE that you show how to do a hip carry with a SSC. I have been wanting too, but don’t know how. I can’t wait to try it with my little one!!

  6. Sarah Hayes says:

    very nice review and demo. im really glad to see this bc I have on of these carriers on the way. I really think im going to like it!

  7. Jennifer H says:

    Great review — I have never tried a hip carry with either of my kids — looking forward to trying it now.

  8. Thanks, Jenny! I’ll have to try out the Pikkolo when the new baby comes in March! :)

  9. Erica Williams says:

    I due with my first in January, so i’ve never tried one, and honestly didn’t even know you could do a side carry with a soft carrier. What a great review, thanks for the wonderful insight and information!

  10. I love that this carrier allows you to carry baby on the hip — a natural position. Very nice!

  11. Yeah, the hip carries with SSCs do not look comfortable to me at all! I have an Ergo, which I use often with my 16 pound eight month old. I like it well enough, but would love to try a Pikkolo! I follow your baby wearing group on FB, btw- so hello! Maybe someday I’ll make it down to your meetings. I just moved to Danville, so I’m just a bit of a hike.

    • Yes! Definitely stop by and see us if you ever make it down this way! And you might want to check out Bloom Babywearing of Central PA. My friend Danelle runs it out of Bloomsburg. :)

  12. 3 kids deep – I saw a woman walk by hip carrying in a SSC and was blown away! I had just gotten a newer model for my 3rd baby – he one I used for my first couldn’t accommodate a hold like that, but it’s completely changed my world to hip carry with one now!

  13. Great review

  14. Heather Magrow says:

    I love the PIkkolo- it’s one of my favorite carriers! Adding the optional waist support later also changes the feel. I liked it for a younger baby on my front, and loved a back carry when my LO was 1 and 2 years old!

  15. Thank you for the detailed review of the Pikkolo. I had heard it didn’t have a padded waist, but I wasn’t sure how it worked.

  16. Danielle Smith says:

    I have never seen a hip carry in a soft structured carrier before :) Thank you for the instructions!!

  17. Love to hip carry, and I do love this carrier, too! So great for a range of sizes :).

  18. Julia Pelletier-Osler says:

    Great instructions! I haven’t tried a hip hold yet.

  19. maribel gil says:

    I love that this carrier allow you to carry the baby on your hip but i haven,t try a hip carry before with either of my three boys, I would love to try one!!!

  20. Stephanie Gray says:

    I think the Pikkolo looks great. I especially like the storage pocket in the hood.
    Regarding the hip carry: I’m new to babywearing. I don’t understand why anyone would want to hip carry. I just imagine that it would hurt your back after awhile. Part of why I want to baby wear is because my body starts to hurt from carrying my baby on one side for too long. I’d love to know what the advantages of a hip carry are.

    • Hip carries are great for short periods of time. They do tend to hurt your shoulder after awhile since all the weight is on one, but many babies LOVE a hip carry – especially ones who like to face outward – this is a great alternative. And nursing is so easy in a hip carry!

  21. I had heard of Catbird’s mei tais, but not their SSC! I love that it is highly adjustable for a newborn – my older style Boba is not, but I love SSCs and want to be able to carry a newborn in one.

  22. Jennifer L. says:

    This is so good to know for when I find the carrier I fall in love with! Thank you!

  23. The photos really helped me understand how the carriers work! I tend to get really confused with all of the straps!

  24. Like the toggle that cinches the body panel width to allow it to better accommodate newborns and small babies. This is a feature that REALLY stands out!

  25. I have a SSC for back carries and the occasional front carry (facing in). Hip carries are no different to me then holding baby on your hip, I don’t see it as a hands free type carry and that usually what I need to wear for. Maybe if I wore one of my babes at a party or outing we’d try a hip carry.

  26. I’ve tried to hip carry in our Ergo; it’s definitely something to get used to but I am getting better at it. Front carrying is easier, I think. I’ve never tried a Pikkolo.

  27. krystal rivera says:

    i am loving the hood on this one really cute! and it looks very sturdy!

  28. Thanks for the info on the hip carry! My baby hated facing inward but she would tolerate hip carrying when she got a little older.

  29. fourfreaks4 says:

    Love the newborn tightening feature.

  30. I’ve never tried to side carry. I think once my LO gets older I might try it though. Your instructions are fantastic.

  31. Jennifer V. says:

    This hip carry looks surprisingly easy to do. I wonder how comfortable it would be long term for the wearer. Have you tried it out longer than 15-30 minutes?

    • 30 minutes is about my max – not because it’s not comfortable, but because my wearee is up and down a lot. It’s pretty comfortable as long as you keep the shoulder strap from riding up on your neck. :)

  32. Great photos and instructions on a hip carry. I never tried it with my son because it often just didn’t look comfortable to me. Are you able to hip carry for just as long as you could a front or back carry? I often wonder if the weight on one side would be harder.

    • I don’t hip carry as long as I would front and back, but it’s pretty comfortable as long as you keep the strap from riding up on your neck. I would say short trips are best (shopping, short walk, etc).

  33. We love catbird baby. Great to see a nice photo tutorial and review showing a hip carry since that seems to be the least intuitive of the SSC carries. Thanks!

  34. Janice Auna says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. I didn’t think you could do hip carry on these kinds of carriers. I’m gonna go try it now.

  35. desiree carver says:


  36. Katrina Smith says:

    I carry all my kids on my hip and I am dying to try a hip carrier. I love the look and design of this carrier!

  37. Great review. I have never done a hip carry with my SSC. I will have to give it a go, now that I see how easy it is. Thanks!

  38. I have never tried the Pikkolo nor have I ever done the hip carry, but I would love to try both!

  39. natalie parvis says:

    I love that it is so versatile!

  40. Christina K. says:

    It looks like a lot of straps, but since I’m new to it all, I am really interested in trying many different brands.

  41. I have never tried a hip carry but this one looks so comfortable and easy. :)

  42. Laura Miller says:

    I have never done a hip carry, I will definitely be trying when baby is a little bigger!

  43. Jessica Hughes says:

    My LO is just getting to the age where we can start hip carrying! I’m so excited to try it! As much as we both like front carries, I feel like I have little T-rex arms…

  44. Amanda Clevenger says:

    Great pictural! Definatly made using this product easy!

  45. dana baird says:

    I have never tried a hip carry with my twins, but I’m looking forward to trying it now!

  46. I haven’t tried any carriers yet in any kind of carry, but I will want to get one that I can use from birth up for my little one. This looks really nice and I like how it adjusts for comfort and safety for the really little ones. The back carry is useful for once baby gets a bit older.

  47. the carrie seem to be getting esy t use and not hard on the back any more the thing can adjust to te baby and momor dad comfort

  48. I like that it adjusts for newborns too.
    Linda Finn

  49. Ashley Kline says:

    That’s cool that you can do hip carries.

  50. Amy Gockley says:

    I never thought of trying a hip hold. I definitely need to try this and see how it works out. Thanks for the info!

  51. Brittany Wiggins says:

    I’m not normally a SSC person but I love how this can be cinched up for different sizes.

  52. I’ve never tried a hip carry in a SSC – thanks for the tips!

  53. I’ve never tried this carrier, but I have a friend who’s recommended it. It’s great to see so many close-up photos of the features! And the hip carry doesn’t look too difficult either.

  54. Jennifer A. says:

    Thank you for demonstrating how to do a hip carry!

  55. I have never tried to hip carry with a structured carrier before. It looks like it would be perfect for quick trips in the store when the little guy really wants to look around.

  56. This carrier looks so easy to use and very convenient to have! I would love to try this carrier out with my first, I’ve always been wondering how hip carries were done and this tutorial explains it perfectly! Will be pinning for later!

  57. I love the versatility of the Pikkolo, I think it’s a great feature to be able to do a front/hip/back carry all with one carrier.

  58. I think I love everything about this carrier! Though I usually like the front carry, there are times a hip carry would be so much easier. Thank you for the instructions!

  59. I’ve never had opportunity to try a carrier capable of hip carry. Would like to though.

  60. Cynthia Dingwell says:

    Fabulous product. Comfortable even for newborns. I love the freedom and support the carrier offers. Sweet. I would love to win one for my daughter expecting
    April 23,2014. Thanks!

  61. I love SSC’s, but I’ve never tried the catbird (although I’ve heard a lot about it! I am like you, a hip carry isn’t my first choice for an SSC (I prefer a ring sling for hip carries) but it IS nice to know how to do one! =)

  62. Dani Osenbaugh says:

    This makes the hip carry look so easy! I’ve always avoided it because it seemed too complicated.

  63. Rebecca Peters says:

    I have been researching carriers that have hip carry and have found very few that were easy enough for everyday use! I even bought one thinking it was the one with hip carry and then disappointed when I found out it didnt. I just like putting my baby on my hip, and she likes it there as well. This particular carrier was recommended to me by a friend for hip carry and she said she loved it, and wasnt uncomfortable like some hip carriers. From the pictures, it looks like it disturbutes a lot of the weight evenly, I like that it doesnt look retarted on your back from snapping it differently, it looks “right” . Looks are def important when it comes to carriers because you are wearing it! lol Love that it lets you roll up the excess strap too!

  64. Julie Hutson says:

    I love that it is so easy to get baby in and out. I would love to give this carrier a try. It seems great!

  65. Piper Leigh says:

    Awesome review! This is very helpful for someone like me just starting to do my research on wraps and carriers!

  66. You can do also a little workout with baby 😉


  1. […] simply swoon over this amazingly beautiful carrier from CatbirdBaby! You can check out my review here along with step by step instructions on how to do a hip carry – just like pictured above! […]

  2. […] I'll let you simply swoon over this amazingly beautiful carrier from Catbird!  Check out Jenny's review of this beautiful carrier, as well as exactly how to master a Hip Carry in a Soft Structured Carrier!  Be sure to […]

  3. […] but certainly not least, take a look at this awesome carrier from Catbird Baby!  Check out Jenny’s review of the Pikkolo and learn how to hip carry in this soft structured […]

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