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
- 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.
- 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.
That’s it! Easy, right? Here’s what it looks like from behind:
Catbird Baby Pikkolo
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.