Product Review of the Hippy Chick Hip Seat

Cool name. For the name alone, I had to have one of these! Unfortunately, they are not available in the USA so I had to go to eBay UK. And unfortunately, I overpaid. Apparently, Walmart stocks a very similar hip seat product.

I like the cool olive color. Very trendy. I like the simplicity of the product. You put it around your waist and close the buckle. What could be simpler than that?

But it didn't work! I contacted the seller because there were no instructions and was advised to put it on my waist, not my hips, and fasten it fairly snugly. Well, I am never a fan of things fastened snugly around my waist but in the interest of giving it a fair shake, I went ahead and did this and tried it with my baby. Now, keep in mind that I have some lower back issues so I am pretty specific in my needs in a baby carrier but also a great test case for a product offering the wearer balanced support.

This thing still threw me a little off to one side. If I went really tight, it was better but just too uncomfortable for me. I can't walk around like that. And also, the seat part sticks out so far, I feel really ridiculous with no baby on my hip. Lastly, since baby is not in any way strapped in, she didn't want to stay on the seat and for me, a large part of why I use a baby carrier is so my baby will stay put.

Still, I could see this being useful. At home, I do a fair bit with baby on my hip so why not have her sitting on this Hippy Chick Hip Seat and take a load off? Well...my arm is needed anyway to hold her there so why not keep building my bicep? No, that's not right; it is best to not do off-balance carries. But this just didn't help enough.

Give me my Ergo baby carrier any day!


A month of life in the Ergo

If you were going away and could only take one baby carrier with you, what would it be?

I just evacuated Florida for the entire month of September to avoid hurricanes. I traveled alone with my 5 year old and my 15 month old and 2 carry-on pieces of luggage. I can't bear checking luggage because something always seems to happen to it and anyway, can you really imagine trying to collect luggage with a toddler and another child to keep track of in New York City?

My baby is now a bit of a runner. Everything requires fine planning; I need to get to the airport early enough so I am not stressed but I certainly can't be hanging around there too terribly long with a toddler. Having just made a solo trip with both girls to Massachusetts, I know her threshold for being in the Ergo on public transportation is quite long, so long as I'm on the move and it's interesting. An airport terminal is pretty boring.

Sure enough, about 5 minutes before I could board, she got fussy and I had to keep moving to keep her happy. I wanted to board first because I didn't want to be shuffling in a slow line with her on my back. Once I got on the plane (Jet Blue - they are so helpful), she was fine. I mean, she was all over the place, on my lap, on the floor, but she stayed put, thank goodness, and mostly napped on my lap once we took off.

I didn't want to risk public transportation on the way to my mother's place so I took a taxi. What a mistake. The idiot driver didn't give me a moment to get the carseat strapped down securely. I was flopping all over the back of the cab as was the baby and he simply would not pull over. I finally had to give up and just do the best I could so we didn't both get killed. I have a Costco travel baby seat which weighs only 4 pounds and I don't think she was very impressed with it. My older daughter I put in her booster seat which is just a seat base so it's very portable as well.

During our stay, we used a stroller for local trips and tried to avoid taking it on subways and buses. It is really quite a pain to get up and down subway stairs with a stroller banging upside your leg. On the days I was without it, I felt totally free and relieved. Of course, carrying a baby all the time does become quite tiring day after day when you're not used to it. I admit that I lost 5 pounds over the course of the month because of a combination of carrying my baby all the time and also the fact that in the city, you wind up walking about 2 miles a day. Some days we walked 4 or 5 miles but on those days I took the stroller and had my older daughter on a Buggy Board on the back. So I was still getting a workout pushing her.

I learned some great tips for wearing the Ergo during my stay. I'll be putting these on my website. One tip is for wearing the Ergo on the front. In order to get the chest strap closed behind you, loosen one shoulder strap a lot and then close the strap with ease behind you. Then simply tighten the shoulder strap. The same applies to the Patapum Baby Carrier.

On the way home, I took public transportation all the way from New Jersey to JFK airport in Queens. It took a lot of doing and I did have a few choice words for the New York MTA subway stop at which the PATH dropped me off as there was no access for someone carrying babies and luggage but mainly, it went quite well, due, in no small part, to the Ergo freeing me up to be able to carry my 2 carry-on bags.

Think about that for a second. I was able to travel from New Jersey via PATH to the NYC subways to the Air Train and through stairways and elevators and across streets and bridges all without my husband's help and with my baby on my back. I could not have managed this without the Ergo. I would have had to take a taxi and that one ride would have cost more than the Ergo! Plus, how would I have negotiated the airport without the Ergo? I would have had to gate check my luggage and then worry about it and deal with entertaining 2 children while I waited for my bag to show up. No thanks! This was such a breeze!

By the way, now that I'm back in Florida, of course the hurricanes are not cooperating with my plans and keep coming. We lost power for a few days after Hurricane Wilma and I had to climb the stairs in my building many times. I'm still feeling the Ergo love as I put baby on my back and hauled up whatever supplies we were able to find on foot since there are no gas stations open and we were not willing to use any gas just in case we had to evacuate due to FPL warnings that power might not be restored for a month. Whew! If you're panting from reading that sentence, you should have heard my breathing at the top of the stairs!


The Ultimate Hip Carrier

Well it's official! I am feeling the love! I have been waiting six
years for the Ultimate Hip Carrier and I finally have it! It is not
only gorgeous, but it is so
comfy and easy to use. I have never been a huge fan of slings because
they just feel too heavy after about 10 or 12 pounds. But by
transferring some of the weight to the hips, I'm not feeling like I
have to carry such a huge pull on my neck, shoulder and spine. The
shoulder strap is wonderful. It's so easy to adjust and it doesn't ride
up my neck like the Walking Rock Farm baby carriers that I used years
ago. I even contacted that company with my suggestions years ago and
while they were extremely nice, they never fixed the issue. I tried
taking my carrier apart and replacing the shoulder strap but I'm just
not that handy a seamstress! I am so thrilled with the redesign of the
EllaRoo Mei Hip baby carrier. It is, without a doubt, the Ultimate Hip


Product review of the Sutemi baby carrier

I have finally laid another worry to rest. I love my Ergo Baby Carrier more than any other carrier but I've always wondered about the Sutemi. I was able to lay my doubts to rest after I purchased one for testing. Don't get me wrong; it's a great carrier. But compared to the Ergo Baby Carrier? No way. I had a lot of issues with it.

If you wear it on your back, getting it on is tricky. In fact, it doesn't come with instructions! It says that only those experienced with back carries should attempt it. I can see why; this is not the carrier to learn with. Because this carrier crosses in front, in order to get baby on your back without help, you need to unfasten both straps. Then you need to reach back and find the correct strap and cross it over yourself, and buckle it on the opposite side, all the while holding baby. My baby sits still so it is fairly straightforward but this is not a beginner maneuver!

Another issue with wearing it on the back. If you cross the straps above your boobs, it kind of chokes you. If you cross them below your boobs, it certainly lifts and separates. I can see why most women are not comfortable with this look. Plus, either way, it feels like a mastitis risk. The Ergo Baby Carrier and Patapum Baby Carrier just don't seem to squash the breasts. I guess it would be great for men to wear this on the back with no boobs to get in the way.

I don't get quite why but it made my shoulders feel tired right away. The Ergo Baby Carrier and Patapum Baby Carrier straps seem to sit right to my shoulders. These straps seemed to float and I just couldn't get a tight cinch. And the more I tightened, the more my boobs were squashed and lifted and separated.

And the last issue with wearing it on the back is that there is no sleep hood. What if baby falls asleep?

On the front, it was still not all that comfy. It's fine but somehow the straps aren't fitting my build. I have slightly sloping shoulders so maybe this is specific to me.

And I really didn't care for the logo. It sits right on the shoulder instead of somewhere like the baby's tush and it looks like a Red Cross logo or something. It is just so darned red!


Product Tester Review of The Hip Daddy (not available yet)

Today I got to try a new baby carrier (to be released in a few weeks). You'd think that after 6 years of babywearing, I wouldn't get excited every time a package with something new arrived. You'd think. But I had high hopes for this baby carrier and I will say right now, I was not disappointed. And that is saying something because I have been waiting for a product that met my specific requirements for a hip carrier for nearly as long as I've been wearing babies!

These are the areas I have been looking for:

Comfortable - Four thumbs up. Even though it appears deceptively simple in design, it is comfortable all around. The waist strap does not dig in but rather transfers weight to my hips. I was concerned because it is not very structured. I am pretty sure I'm wearing it correctly - I have the waist band flipped down so it creates a pocket for baby to sit. To be honest, I had to take apart the entire carrier the moment I got it so I could wear it black side out and there is a possibility I misunderstood how it was supposed to be assembled. I used to do sports that were heavy on the whole threading straps through buckles thing so I am pretty good with it but it can be tricky and instructions would be helpful. Regardless, I am happy with how I am wearing it. At first, I didn't even realize that the shoulder support opened up to form a cap for your shoulder. When I wore it closed, it did not ride up into my neck, which suprised me and attests to the lovely soft cotton that was chosen for this part of the carrier. The clever way it opens up to cap the shoulder means that only a minimum of padding is required for comfort. Rather, comfort is achieved simply by spreading out the weight.

Stylish - I quite like the batik material but I still chose to put that on the inside and wear basic black. I can have just a flash of color showing where the top folds down or I can choose to flip this bit to the inside and have a completely black carrier. Nice. I have a cat and the black fabric does not appear to be overly furry which is important; for some reason, the darker the fabric, the more it attracts fur in general. This was a good choice of material in that it is quite soft but not too magnetic.

Spine straight - The wearer's spine should be vertical; the wearer should not need to cock a hip out to the side. I am able to adjust the carrier so that I can walk naturally and stand as I please and feel my spine is in perfect alignment. What makes it possible to adjust this carrier so perfectly is the fact that it can be tightened easily both on the front and back. The shoulder pad is rather small, but baby can be moved a little forward or back and by tightening or loosening the front or back strap, it is easy to keep the shoulder pad right on the cap of the shoulder, nice and snug.

Can be used on either hip - I've worn it on both hips. It is very straightforward.

Well-made - all the straps are 2 inch webbing. All seams are well-stiched. The toy rings are a great touch! My daughter loves them and I haven't even put toys on. While I was rethreading it, she kept hurling herself at me, trying to get back in! It was totally irritating (the whole spacial aspect of rethreading buckles requires all my concentration and being hurried doesn't help) and totally cute!

Cool - I can't believe how breezy and breathable the cotton is.

Light weight - there is nothing to it! It weighs mere ounces! I am going away and was only going to take one carrier. Hah. This one won't take but a corner of my suitcase.

The instructions say to put the waist strap on the waist. I believe shoving it down a bit and tightening across the hip bones is going to prove more comfortable; if I wore it on my natural waist, I'd feel ill.

Threading instructions with a diagram would be helpful for those of us who choose to reverse the carrier.

I am very tall. I have no idea how it will work on someone shorter but I'll try to find out.

I would much prefer a buckle attachment for getting in and out of the thing. Since it is reversable, this would require the buckle be on both the front and the back. I have tried two methods for putting it on. First, I was in such a hurry that I didn't read the instructions so I just put the whole carrier on and then slid baby in from the top. This worked fine but would not work with a baby over a certain height as their legs would be too long. So I tried the recommended method as well, which is to sit baby in the carrier and then lift the very loose straps up and over baby's head and your head. It's tricky! My husband didn't like this maneuver either. Possibly, it's one of those things that just becomes second nature with practice. For now, I felt like I was messing up my hair and slouching and ducking and still the straps needed more lengthening to get over my head. And then, once there, are so long that it takes a lot of fussing to get them short enough.

My baby is 15 months and rather slender. I will have to see how it works with both smaller and larger babies. I am concerned that it would be tiring with a very heavy baby.


Yea! Ergos with solid lining

Yippie! The other day, my new shipment of Ergos arrived and I was pleased to see that the lining and sleep hood is solid. I wasn't too thrilled with that critters print. I know some people like it but I was never crazy about it. So yippie! Check out the old lining on my web page: http://sobebabies.com/babywearing.htm

I will be putting pictures of the solid lining up some time in October. I am making changes frantically for the next week and then I'm off to New York for a month with the girls while my husband holds down the fort alone for a month! I can NOT wait to meet up with the NYC babywearing crowd. They are so active. Maybe I will learn a few things from them so I can get my local group more stirred up.


Wearing my baby makes me sane

I am not one of those mamas that can stand to chase a toddler. I just can't do it!

My older daughter spared me that in two ways. First, she never ever wanted to be put down, so I wore her pretty much all the time or held her in my lap. And second, she never could stand to not be in complete physical contact with me so running away wasn't an option.

I knew even from pregnancy that I wouldn't be so-blessed again. That's one reason I made it a point to wear my second daughter a lot. At times when I was going out to the car and could just as easily have held her in my hands, I always made a point of putting her in a wrap or Ergo baby carrier.

The result of my efforts is that she doesn't expect to get to run away and I am not always chasing her. She is quite calm to ride on my back.

My husband doesn't always wear her and lately, I've noticed him chasing her all over the place when we're trying to get somewhere or get home.

In short, I'm thrilled that my life is made so much easier because she is content to be worn and view the world from up high.


Traveling alone with a baby and a kid, AKA I love my Ergo baby carrier

I just have to share this story because it's so amazing to me. Amazing in that it was no big deal! When I had just one child, I couldn't have, in a million years, dreamed of traveling alone with her. I couldn't have managed her and all the stuff. We always had a carseat and a stroller to carry the carseat and luggage piled on top of that.

Fast-forward to my recent trip to visit friends. My husband dropped me off at the airport and off I went with my 5 year old, my baby on my back in the Ergo baby carrier, and 2 carry-on pieces of luggage. That's it!

I always get really stressed out about going through the security checkpoint and this time was no different. But putting the luggage on the rack to get x-rayed was no big deal. My shoes went into a plastic bin. They insisted on xraying the Ergo but I just walked through carrying my baby, got her on my back right away, slipped my shoes back on, and off I went with my two daughters. Honestly, it was a breeze.

But that wasn't the end. Getting on the plane was so easy with my baby safely on my back, directly behind me. My daughter wheeled her luggage so I felt very free with only one piece of luggage to handle. As baby was behind me, stowing my own luggage was a breeze. Same thing when we landed.

The friend who was picking us up wasn't able to meet us when the plane landed and there was no way I was going to hang out in a major airport for hours so I took public transportation. Had to, really; I had no carseats. I wound up taking a bus, train, trolley, train, and another bus. It took about an hour and a half. The baby snoozed in the Ergo on my back, hoodrest up, and arrived refreshed. I could not be more thrilled to have pulled that off. Much more relaxing to keep moving than to try to keep track of a toddler in an airport and luggage and my older daughter. What a nightmare that would have been!

Baby Wearing 101

So you've got yourself a baby. And you've got 2 arms. And whoa! How come you never ever get to use your arms anymore 'cause they're always filled with baby?

Is the solution really to just be able to put baby down? 'Cause baby sure doesn't seem to think so!

But those dishes!

Okay, let's start at the beginning. If you still dont' believe you ought to wear a baby, go read When to wear your baby for a few ideas on why baby wearing is for you.

Now, let's start at the beginning.

If your baby is a little-little, you can get by with a sling, or (shudder) that other front carrier you're using. I'm not going to name names but I will say that the sooner you get your baby out of that thing, the better. It's not doing baby's hips any good. Check this article out if you don't believe me: http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading/spinalStress.html.

So a sling will do but a wrap is nicer.

And best of all is a soft front/back carrier like Ergo Baby Carrier or the Patapum Baby Carrier. What's so great about these? Well you get your baby off the ground, hands-free, and it's ergonomically correct for you both. I suffer from back pain and yet I can still carry my baby on my back for hours. Because a lot of the weight is supported on my hips, my shoulders never tire. Actually, this is a bit of a miracle because I've worn traditional frame backpacks and frame-style baby carriers and found them so bulky and heavy but also they caused a lot of neck pain. With the Ergo or Patapum, that issue just doesn't exist for me. It's a streamlined carrier that is simple to use with no pain!

Now, some of you are simply sick of having your baby on the front but don't feel comfortable with a back carry yet. But you still want your arms back. That is when a hip carrier comes into play and I have found the Ultimate Hip Carrier! The reason I recommend this carrier so highly is because slings throw your back out of whack and other hip carriers with waist supports do not have a comfortable shoulder support system. This is the only hip carrier where the shoulder strap spreads out and cups the wearer's shoulder, so the weight is distributed evenly. A plain old strap will ride up to your neck. To compensate for this discomfort, you might try wearing the strap on the outside of your shoulder, but that's not a wise move. It will pin your arm to your side and you will always have to be adjusting it. A strap that cups the shoulder and stays put is the way to go.

If you're like me and my friends, you'll switch around between a few carriers. After all, do you only have one pair of shoes?