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.