Gear Review: Cat Bird Baby Pikkolo Baby Carrier
The CatBird Baby Pikkolo baby carrier is an excellent low-profile and highly versatile carrier that is well-made and extremely comfortable. It is ideal for babies newborn to ~25 pounds (see reasoning why below), though is rated to 40 pounds.
The seat on the carrier can be modified to increase or decrease the width so even a couple month old baby can be worn with their feet out and dangling in an ergonomic hold. I find that my babies are putting weight on their legs between 2.5- 3 months (so a “froggy” hold can get a bit annoying when they are awake because they want to push off), but they aren’t big enough to spread their legs around me for a regular hold. Because the seat can be adjusted means they can have their legs out if I want them to without extra bulk.
The fact that you can change the width of the seat also means that it’s possible to wear Baby in an ergonomic (knees above hips) front-facing position. I personally advise against this for a number of reasons (see why here), but it DOES allow that option if that is important to you. Because of my strong opinion on this, I won’t be reviewing that aspect of the carrier right now. The Pikkolo is worn “apron style” so the Baby is actually sitting on the folded up part of the carrier. There is an option of adding a support belt ($25) for babies 20+ pounds. However, it isn’t something you can easily take on and off so if you are switching often between kids being worn, it’s not a great accessory. The idea is a good concept, but I didn’t like how it actually worked out. The straps dug into my waist and I didn’t think it actually added that much support.
Best functions of the Pikkolo:
– For wearing newborns with no insert needed (either with legs “froggy style” or hanging out using the more narrow seat option)
– For low bulk and easy to store/carry for on-the-go wearing
– For smaller babies who are old enough to have their feet out of the carrier, but aren’t big enough to reach a wider seat (my kids were all small and this was an issue.)
– If you want the option to do a front-facing carry
What I love:
– The memory foam straps are comfortable on my shoulders AND lower profile which means less bulk. When I am already wearing a baby, I don’t need any more “stuff” on my person than necessary.
– The absence of a waist support strap on the original pikkolo means that you again have less bulk when you don’t need it (and can add it if you want it.)
– The hood tucks into a hidden pocket in the carrier when not in use. It’s really low bulk (just like the rest of the carrier) AND provides ample coverage for most kids
– The straps can cross when using a front carry, which translates into greater comfort for the wearer with heavier loads on front (loads = kids)
– The straps also have two-way adjustment on the buckles so they can be pulled either direction (HUGE for me personally) – The design options are attractive
What I am not so crazy about:
– The way the support/shade hood attaches to the straps is really tricky. It requires threading the strap through a loop in the strap, and I am always fumbling with it. While I love how the hood is adjustable by toggle, I really miss snaps that are quick and easy for getting the hood over Baby.
– While I love the idea of the support belt, it just isn’t as supportive as other carriers with integrated support belts. The CatBird Baby Carrier excels with just it’s primary design and for smaller babies. If you mean to carry a big child for extended periods of time (20+ pounds), this carrier isn’t the best. Plus if you want to add the support belt, it’s an extra $25.
– There are absolutely no pockets. While I am not a huge fan of a bunch of bulk or objects poking Baby in the back, I miss having somewhere to keep my phone and keys.
The Bottom Line
CatBird Baby is definitely a smaller company (compared to the "big name" carriers out there) that makes a carrier that measures up well with the competition for smaller children. It is ideal for front-carries (because of the ability to cross the straps for better support) and children up to about 25 pounds. After that point, I miss a padded support belt.
In back carriers, with or without the support belt accessory, the straps dig into my waist (which means I am not comfortable for long periods of time.) However, it is my preferred carrier for front carries.
I recommend it for people who plan to only wear their babies when they are small (at least in this carrier).
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