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The High Back Carry in a Buckle Carrier (with Video Tutorial)

19 Jun

Recently, there’s been a bit of a surge in popularity in the online babywearing community of wearing SSCs and buckle carriers in a “high back carry.”  To be honest, I’m in the camp of “Use the structured waist of the ssc the way it was intended to be used…to distribute weight to the wearers hips (on short torsoed people, this may be higher but still around the waist), with the weight of the baby being taken off the shoulders by loosening the shoulder straps enough to allow baby’s weight to really fall down into that supportive structure of the waist.” (whew! that was a mouthful!)

There are definitely those who prefer the feel of the high back carry, and many older babies and toddlers like it, as they can see over their caregivers’ shoulders.  However, often, when I see buckle carriers with structured waists used to achieve this carry, we run into a couple of issues…

1. You’re losing all of the support that the structured waist is supposed to give (and that you pay for!) in those types of buckle carriers.

2. Since you’re not using the structured waist to distribute baby’s weight, the weight should be distributed by pulling baby in close.  Since you may not be able to cinch the straps in tight enough to really get that nice high and tight fit, you may be distributing all of baby’s weight from your shoulders!

2. In some SSCs (or on some body types) buckling that structured waist so far up creates a giant pocket of fabric and baby doesn’t fill the entire body of the carrier from top to bottom, but rather sits in a fold of fabric at the middle of the carrier body.  This means that the body panel may be too low on baby’s back and too loose (allowing baby or toddler to lean back and definitely not supportive for the wearer).

Now for the good news…

If you DO like the feel of a high and tight back carry, there are carriers perfectly suited for that! They are wraps, mei tais, and even buckle mei tais like the Catbird Baby Pikkolo!

Check out my newest video tutorial to show how I get a high back carry with my toddler in the buckle carrier I believe is really SUPER at the high back carry!



Tweak of the Week: Buckle Carrier Back Carry

15 Feb

Getting your baby onto your back is one of the most freeing moments in babywearing!  Not only is a back carry most ergonomic for you, once baby approaches the 20 lb. mark and beyond, but this is when you truly get to be “hands free.”

Safety Note: Generally speaking, back carrying in a buckle carrier or SSC is recommended when baby is old enough to sit up unassisted.  Also, at first, practice in front of a mirror, if possible, over a SOFT surface and WITH a spotter!  This will ensure everyone stays safe and happy.  If baby is not into it and is bucking and fighting, try again at another time. 🙂

Your first back carry can be a bit daunting.  In this video below, I am using my Catbird Baby Pikkolo carrier (though the method is similar for any buckle/SSC carrier, except with others you would buckle the structured waist belt around you with the structured waist sitting on top of your hip area and the body of the carrier flopping down from the top of the structured waist belt).  First, I show a classic back carry with the carrier hanging down from your back, baby is scooted around (using the “hip scoot” method) and the carrier is brought up from between her legs and over her back.  After that carry, I demonstrate a carry in which you bring baby AND the carrier around with you.  This method is better for the beginner, because you can secure baby as you bring the carrier around and there is less to worry about…though it does tend to move your clothes around with you as you move baby in the carrier from your hip to your back.


Catbird Baby Babywearing Essentials Mei Tai Review

16 Oct

Oh, Catbird Baby Mei Tai, where have you been all of my “wearing” life? LOL.  Everyone knows I’m a HUGE fan of the Pikkolo, but while I’ve used the Catbird Baby Babywearing Essentials Mei Tai every now and again, I never really gave it a good “wear”…until the other day.  Wow!  For such an affordable mei tai, this baby is comfy as all heck.  (as you can see by baby who fell asleep in less than 5 minutes of wearing…)


First of all, though the canvas is sturdy and so supportive, the brushed nature gives the fabric a soft and squishy feel.  The wide straps are lightly padded and form so nicely on your shoulders (and allow you to fold them in a back carry if, like me, you have narrow shoulders and only prefer the wide straps in a front carry).


The nice wide feeling of the straps and the fact that they are lightly padded but not overly-so means that they lay very comfortably as they cross on your back, as well, spreading generously and distributing baby’s weight with amazing comfort.


Headrest? No headrest? It’s really a matter of personal opinion, but Catbird Baby Babywearing Essentials mei tais give you the best of both worlds with a small, supportive headrest piece that can be flipped up for down, depending on your and baby’s needs.  I tend to flip it down (as pictured) when baby is awake so that she can see around, and then flip up when she’s asleep ( as in the first picture).


Another reason I’m loving the CBB mei tais (call me vain) is the wonderfully wide waist belt area that tends to cover up the post-pregnancy fluff/muffin-top without creating bulging areas from digging or rope-like straps.


I don’t have a picture, but I’ve used it with my petite 4 year old in a back carry, and I’m still in love.  The long body means it can fit itty bitties all the way through the long and tall toddler years.  The wide body is also able to be squished for smaller leg spreads and even has an attached elastic band to help with narrowing the width if general “squishing” is too wide for your babe.

The Catbird Baby Babywearing Essentials Mei Tai was previously only available (and still is…) in 3 solid colors (Spring, Earth, and Sunset).  QuirkyBaby, however, now offers the same great design and structure of the Essentials Mei Tai in select prints, too!  Try one out today!  You won’t be sorry.

Kinderpacks are HERE!

1 Oct


They’re here!…..


QuirkyBaby is so excited to add Kinderpacks to its offerings!  Kinderpacks are the perfect buckle carrier for ultimate comfort when carrying your older and heavier toddler AND big kid!  My husband and I have been using a Toddler Kinderpack with our daughter since she was about 2 and a half and she finally fills it out at 4 years and 30 lbs!  (granted she’s on the petite side, so it took her a while to grow into the length).  She may not fit knee-to-knee in terms of the width anymore, but because of the unique design of the Kinderpack with it’s incredibly deep seat construction, it maintains that ideal “M” shape position with her knees higher than her bum, even at 4 years old.  With a 50lb. weight limit, we’ll probably see our oldest age out of it before we reach that maximum weight.  Looking for a carrier for your tall and heavy toddler?  The Kinderpack is the buckle carrier for you!  Believe the hype. 🙂

A little bit about the Kinderpack:
Carrying Positions

  • Front facing in (shoulder straps can be crossed)
  • Back carry (shoulder straps backpack style)


  • Standard size:
    • Fits babies and children 18 – 50 lbs. or approximately 8 months through 3 or 4 years of age
    • 16″ h x 17″ w
    • best choice for petite toddlers or toddlers who like to ride with their arms out
    • deep, rounded seat and high weight limit make this the best choice for a Kinderpack that will last you without having to change sizes – up until about 3 years of age or a child wearing a 4T clothing size.
  • Toddler size:
    • Fits children 25-50 lbs. and 32 inches tall and taller, or approximate ages 18 months to 3 or 4 years old.
    • 18″ h x 19″ w
    • This would be the choice for the older toddler or preschooler who likes to ride arms in, or who needs a very tall back for support.  Please be aware that the Toddler size is MUCH larger than the Standard size and that the minimum recommended size may still be too large for a child just meeting the minimum requirements.
  • Standard and Toddler carriers with Standard Straps will fit most sizes from a women’s size 4 to a women’s size 22 with adjustable 19-20″ straps.


  • Contoured carrier body and deep, rounded seat to support baby in a proper seat position
  • Three-part, slightly curved waist belt that molds to your body and doesn’t push pants down
  • Super padded, dual adjustable shoulder straps with Perfect Fit Adjusters to custom fit strap length
  • Straps can be worn crossed or backpack style
  • Stuffable hood
  • Made in the USA by a WAHM
  • Recommended spot clean or hand wash and lay flat to dry to prevent shrinkage, color bleeding, or damage to the carrier.  If machine wash is necessary, use Gentle Cold Cycle and on Large Load to help water dilute any dyes with carrier in a pillow case.  Color catcher sheets are recommended to prevent color bleeding. Lay flat to dry.


And next on the list for trying out with a newborn… the lillebaby COMPLETE!

2 Aug

Since having little Miss S., I’ve been primarily ring slinging or wrapping her.  My other go-to carrier (and my hubby’s fav!) has been our Catbird Baby Pikkolo (see previous blog for more about the Pikkolo with a newborn).  Now that she’s a bit bigger and has some head/trunk control, I’ve been trying out some other buckle carriers with the little lady.  We really enjoyed the lillebaby COMPLETE Airflow one hot afternoon.  Click the picture below for all of the reasons why!


Catbird Baby Pikkolo – My top buckle carrier choice for newborns!

12 Jul

I have a lot of love for my Pikkolo!  It was my very first carrier purchase (from QuirkyBaby, no less) in 2009 when my first daughter was only 2 weeks old.

When my older daughter was tiny, I tried using it with the base wide, like a mei tai, and with her legs “froggied” inside, but she really didn’t like that!  (Some babies do, some don’t.  My kiddos have been those who “don’t” lol!) So, I ended up using one of the best features of the Pikkolo from the get go – the adjustable base!  Unlike other buckle carriers that can be snapped to a narrow base position, the Pikkolo allows you to adjust the base to custom fit your baby’s spread-squat position.  As baby grows, you can continue to widen it, as needed, until baby is ready for the full width of the carrier.

With my new little squish, I had the opportunity to really try every carrier designed to “snap down” for newborns, and I can honestly say that the Pikkolo is my favorite choice.  To be honest, I typically carry daughter #2 in wraps and ring slings, as you can adjust them to the exact size and shape of any size newborn, baby, or older child.  However, if I’m going to use something quick and easy and want to grab a buckle carrier, I’m grabbing my Pikkolo!

2013-07-12 12.40.31

What I found when trying out the other buckle carriers in the “newborn” position, was that, though her legs were “out” of the carrier, they did not fully support her knees in the position we’re really striving for – knees above bum (think of an M shape).  In fact, as she is so tiny and that M-shape position is so important, I found that I was more likely to widen the bases on the other carriers and try to achieve that position with her legs still in the carriers, rather than snap them to the narrow position and allow her legs to dangle.   The Pikkolo, however, allowed me to adjust the base of the carrier to her exact knee to knee width.  Also, since it does not need the structured support belt until later on, it buckles on and forms a nice deep pocket for baby’s bum.  The scoop of that pocket, along with the custom width supporting her knees, allowed me to really get her in that “knees bent and higher than bum” position. (For reference, dd is 4 weeks old and a little over 8 lbs. in picture.)

2013-07-12 12.37.59

Another reason I generally choose wraps and ring slings for newborns with no head control is because buckle carriers and mei tais often create a curved opening at the top where baby’s head is. As long as I’m vigilant and make sure that baby’s head is not slumping forward in a chin to chest position, it’s fine, but not ideal.  However, with the Pikkolo, because of the wide memory-foam straps, I’m able to spread the shoulder straps out toward my arms and mold to the curve of my shoulders, which brings the top of the carrier in and holds her head much better against my chest. (see picture above)

Some other features I really love about the Pikkolo are the lack of the waist belt (until you want or need it for more support), which allows me wear the carrier high on my body, as well as sit down comfortably with nothing digging into my lap; the crossable shoulder straps to distribute weight across my back and shoulders; and the VERY easy-to-adjust dual adjustable buckles that make lowering little one down to nurse a breeze!

For all of these reasons (and, yes, maybe with a little bias since it WAS my first carrier), the Catbird Baby Pikkolo is my top choice for a buckle carrier to use during the newborn days…and beyond!

Beco Gemini Clearance Sale!

9 Jun

Beco is allowing a sale on discontinued prints!  Gemini prints in Sunset, Espresso, Enzo, and Serenity are now available at QuirkyBaby for only $109 plus FREE US shipping!  Now is a great time to get a Gemini at a fabulous sale price, and, if you follow Beco, these sales don’t happen very often! 🙂

gemini serenity

The Beco Gemini carrier is a super comfortable, ergonomic, and stylish baby carrier that fits a wide variety of body types and will help you carry your baby from newborn through toddler stages.  The Gemini allows a front facing in, facing out, hip, or back carry position.  When wearing in a front carry, you have the ability to cross the straps on your back in an “X” position to help distribute baby’s weight.  No need for uncomfortable or bulky infant inserts, as the base is able to be narrowed for little newborns to have their legs out and support them in a seated position.  Once baby grows a bit, snap the base back to its wide position for more ergonomic comfort for both you and baby.  The narrow and sleek body, while padded, allows air circulation and still maintains a great seat for baby, even when he or she reaches toddlerhood!


If you’re interested in a carrier more geared toward the older baby and toddler, there’s also the Beco Soleil to check out!

Tweak of the Week #5 – Threading Your Pikkolo Support Belt

29 May

I’ve met up with a few mamas who had some trouble figuring out how to thread the separate waist support belt onto their Catbird Baby Pikkolo carriers. So… when my darling husband took my daughter grocery shopping last night so that I could get a little rest (baby #2 due in just a few weeks!), I decided to make a little video to try to help figure it out. Had to shoot the video one-handed, so please excuse the slight shakiness.

Tweak of the Week #3 – Mei Tais

3 Apr

Doing my best with the growing belly in the way (and pregnancy brain making me flub my words a bit!), but here are some tips to adjusting the length of your mei tai or buckle mei tai.


lillebaby COMPLETE: a review…

17 Mar

Lillebaby COMPLETE Carrier
A couple of months ago, QuirkyBaby added the new lillebaby COMPLETE carrier to its buckle carrier selection. I’m so excited about this new carrier. I’ve tried the other “lillebaby” carriers that had previously been available at the bigger box stores and wasn’t impressed. When looking into the COMPLETE, I was surprised to find out that lillebaby, the company, was under a reboot! The older “lillebaby” carriers had actually been produced under the Scandinavian Child brand, and now, the small company from Colorado was taking their company back and redesigning a new carrier that really strives to be “complete.” With features like an infant harness and a seat that can narrow to eliminate the need for a separate, bulky insert, a body that has the ability to be snapped up or down to fit smaller and taller babies, padding on the side webbing and chest clip to prevent rubbing and digging, a head support AND sleeping hood, an optional lumbar support pad, the ability to wear straps in the “H” or “X” position, and stirrups sold separately for older/long-legged kiddos, the lillebaby COMPLETE really does try to address every common complaint of other buckle carriers on the market. It even comes in a mesh model – the lillebaby COMPLETE Airflow. The only thing I think would really make it “complete” would be the addition of a pocket on the back for stuffing little items (who knows…maybe in a future model?).

So, I had tried the lillebaby COMPLETE a few times with my 3 year old over the summer, and it was pretty darn comfy. But, I wanted to give it a real test with someone who would be wearing for longer periods than I was wearing my 3 year old AND a mama who had a more full figure, since buckle carriers are not always the best fit for curvier mamas. A few weeks ago, I let my good friend Lauren borrow a lillebaby COMPLETE in Purple/Pink to try out with her one-year-old daughter. She was gracious enough to do a little “blogging” about it for QuirkyBaby. 😉

lillebaby COMPLETE Purple/Pink
It wasn’t love at first click for me and Buckle Carriers….I had read a bunch, seen a bunch, looked a bunch and really thought I’d love them… everyone did right?

I excitedly registered for a certain well known soft structured carrier ( hint: rhymes with… Bergo… ), received it for my baby shower and anxiously awaited my little one’s arrival to try it out.

It’s a great carrier in lots of ways, but there were certain things I didn’t like about it. The black webbing would dig into the back of my shoulder blades and alongside my breasts. Not a great sensation for a breast feeding (and already pretty curvy) mother. The waist band would fold over and lose comfort and support. The chest clip never really hit me at a great spot (granted, not a carrier issue, more a wearer issue). And lastly – worn so low on my waist, it would make me bulgy in places I’d rather hide post partum. While many folks loved them and didn’t have such issues, it became a back-of-the-closet carrier for me and I explored other options to wear my little girl.

I was a staunch mei tai lover, an outspoken ring sling lover… But when mamas asked me about SSC’s, I would speak honestly about their ease of use, their comfort level, some versatility across ages/sizes, though my enthusiasm was perhaps lacking as it wasn’t my favorite type.

Then I was given the lillebaby Complete to try out. With one walk with my little girl, my opinion of SSCs changed. This carrier is beyond comfortable. The lillebaby Complete has padded the webbing to eliminate the digging issue I had with my other SSC. The padded, structured waist is super supportive, doesn’t get squished and floppy or fold over (even on my squishy, floppy waist). She had a lovely, deep seat due to the way the body is structured (It has a cupped seat design with seat darts, which helps keep baby’s spine in a naturally curved position). I wish I had had the carrier when she was a newborn as it’s COMPLETEly (get it?) adjustable to a newborns tiny squishy-ness without the need for any inserts or extra pieces. Now as a toddler – I can expand the body easily and quickly to have one of the widest seated and tallest carriers available. It truly can take you from infancy to preschooler without needing to purchase any accessories or a different carrier!

Finding versatility, comfort and ease of use in a baby carrier can be a bit of a stretch goal, but the lillebaby Complete achieves that goal. My daughter completely loved it. She felt safe, secure and is always happy on mommy’s back. I had a more petite, non-mommy girlfriend try the carrier on for her input and she danced away with my little girl on her back (literally danced, there’s video proof!). It suited her petite frame and my curvy frame with equal levels of comfort! Also, it’s super daddy-friendly. My husband was able to get her on easily and comfortably (his admission). If you know my husband, a compliment on a baby carrier is high praise. He’s been a bit of a reluctant wearer!

I can’t recommend the lillebaby Complete carrier enough. It’s made a buckle convert out of me. My next child is due soon and I know I’ll want to try it out with him when he’s here! I really think babywearers new or experienced, even those who have sworn off buckle carriers, should give the lillebaby COMPLETE a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Thanks, Lauren! 🙂 Have you tried the lillebaby COMPLETE? Leave a comment to let us know what you think!