Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The following review was written by guest blogger and fellow"Attached Mama" Susan Scantland Littleton
I was really excited for the opportunity to try out the Catbird Metropolitan (solid black) Pikkolo from our babywearing group's local lending library. My experience with SSCs (soft structured carriers) was zero; I’ve been using wraps since my son was born. So this gave me a chance not only to try a new SSC, but also to try a whole different form of babywearing.
The Pikkolo is designed to be ergonomic for front-facing in and front-facing out carries as well as back carries. As there are few carriers that allow ergonomic facing out, this will be an appealing feature for some wearers. Catbird advises facing out will be less comfortable after about 20 lbs., but I found it surprisingly comfortable with my 25 lb. 10-month-old. I wouldn’t want to carry him that way for long, but my son seemed to enjoy the new position for the twenty minutes I had him in it. By the end of that time, my back was protesting.
While designed to be ergonomic with knee-to-knee coverage, my 31 in. boy’s legs were dangling a bit. I had a friend with a slightly smaller one-year-old try on the carrier for comparison, and it was still knee-to-knee on her daughter. It certainly provides a closer to ergonomic fit than a narrow-based carrier, but my son seems to have outgrown it relatively early. It’s designed for carrying 8 to 40 lbs., and I felt no back pain carrying my son in either the front, inward facing position nor in a back carry. The padded straps are cushy without being overly bulky, and the chest clip is easy to clasp in both front and back positions.
During the two weeks I borrowed this carrier, I used it for lots of chores around the house, some 60-90 minute walks, and for errands. I appreciated the ease with which I could get him up and comfortable, compared to how long it takes to achieve a supportive carry in a wrap. My son always seemed comfy, and I never had to worry about him “popping his seat” the way he can in a wrap. It’s not possible to get him up as high on my back as I can with him wrapped, even buckling the waist belt directly under my breasts. He likes to see over my shoulder, and if he can’t, he tries to lean down under my arm. He was secure enough that when he leaned around my side to see what I was doing, I didn’t have to worry he could go anywhere, but it made me off balance.
Overall, I think the Catbird Pikkolo is a great option for the first year of babywearing. It may not fit as long as a Tula or a Kinderpack, but it’s also a less expensive option. The ability to forward face will be really appealing from babywearers crossing over from narrow-based carriers as well as those with babies who are only happy facing out. I was impressed with how it felt, even with such a big baby. Because of the size, I won’t be purchasing a Pikkolo for this baby. But it did make me think an SSC may work for us someday, and it’s definitely one I would check out if I were shopping for a smaller baby.
NOTE TO READERS FROM CATHY: Catbird Baby VERY generously donated the carrier used in this review to the community's local lending library in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are the author's own and have not been influenced by the donation. I wish to thank Catbird Baby for their generosity.