Thursday, April 16, 2009

Choosing a Carrier

I was on the search for a carrier that could cover all the bases, hikes, walks with Emi, doing housework and she NEEDS to be with me not in her crib, running errands etc., but I have come to the decision that one really needs more than one carrier...just like shoes, you need a different pair for different occassions. However I did find one, actually make that two that are PRETTY AWESOME. But I had to make the super tough decision of which one I wanted, as James did not want to get both ;) hahaa. I found a great company in Ottawa (Kanata) called Chiquita Baby that offers a loaner program for their carriers, and the owner was willing to let me test them out.

The top contenders were The Beco Butterfly II and The Pikkolo by Catbird Baby. Very similar but some major differences, if that makes any sense hahaha. I wish I could take the two and mish mash them together.
Well without further ado here is my review:

Shoulder straps
PIKKOLO - Memory foam, nice and sleek, comfortable, and I LOVE how you can adjust in 2 directions (one way sort of pulls the baby in closer to your chest, the other directions tightens the carrier to your shoulders/shortens them, lifts the carrier). For front carrier its most popular to do a criss crossed back, which feels very secure on the body, but you can do "back pack style" by using the chest strap across your shoulders to secure the straps onto your shoulders
BECO - Cushy and comfortable, I thought they would feel like they would slip off, but they felt like they were secure and in place...and I did not even notice the shoulder strap across the back (I do have a bit of trouble getting this done up, so I do it up first and then slip the carrier over my head with Skyla in it -she and the beco are on the bed) - I have now figured out how to get it done up the "normal" way.

PIKKOLO - I really like how it sits higher up (natural waist) instead of on your hips, makes it very easy to go to the bathroom ha! Also prevents the carrier from digging into your thighs as you sit down, or pushing your pants down. Sometimes I found it dug into the top of my right hip bone as I am little "off center" - scoliosis. There is an add on waistbelt to purchase that is padded, for giving you more support with a bigger/heavier baby when doing back carry - can be used on any meitai as well.
BECO - Sometimes I felt like I was standing sway back, because the weight is on the hips, but I think the weight being on the hips is much better for your back over the long run. I wish the waistband was a little shorter/narrower...just being a small frame. It also took a bit of adjusting and playing around to get Skyla's legs not between my stomach and the waistband (she is tall, but young so its a little tough to get her to spread her legs instead of being in froggy position) so this carrier has been a bit more adjusting to get the right fit, which is sort of tricky when you have 2 people using it. But there is almost like a bodysuit built into the carrier, so its very easy to unstrap the carrier without taking baby out and handing the carrier with baby still in it to another holder, so that is great for shopping if I want to try on something hand her over to my sister or James or long hikes, if I want a break from carrying.

Cinching/Infant Insert
PIKKOLO - The cinch feature is neat, not easy to do once on/baby in, so you want to adjust this prior to loading your little on one. This allowed her to seat with her legs spread instead of froggy style. This also allows baby to face out and see the world, which I hear babies LOOOOVE to do, and I am sure Skyla would love it as she enjoys observing people, but pretty much as soon as she is in the carrier she falls asleep, or enjoys staring at me :) I have also heard from other moms that front facing out carry is hard to do once the hit 15-20lbs, throws off your balance and is hard on your back. So at first a front facing option was VERY appealing, but not so much anymore, and we have a wrap that allows this.
BECO - At first I thought Skyla was to big for the infant insert, but still a bit too small for the regular "bodysuit" but with some adjusting we figured it out. However it is a bit much having two bodysuits to maneouver her in when trying to get her into the carrier when it already strapped to me - it is recommened to use a couch or bed to lay baby into carrier, and then put them on. However that seems a bit unrealistic to me, as I plan to use my carrier when we are out/getting out of the car. But as I said I have figured out how to make it work for me :D

Getting Baby In
PIKKOLO - So easy for me, hubs had a bit more "trouble" in that he thought he would drop her (even though he has no probs with the moby), very easy to just strap across your waist, then it hangs like an apron...and then you hold babe and pull the straps up and over to opposite waist and attach tighten and go. Makes this very easy to do without the help of someone to adjust a strap, and no need to lay baby on a bed or couch. I wish Skyla was bigger to test out the back carry. As I have read the back carry takes a bit of practice and that alot of people are a bit uncomfortable with it, unless familar with babywearing.
BECO - As I mentioned before I thought it would be a pain since it suggests to lay baby down in it, then strap on...but I had no problem wearing it (even wore it driving - not with babe in it hehee) pulling Skyla out of the carseat and dunking her into the carrier, I just left one shoulder strap undone, and kept both of them on the loose side. I am not sure it will be that easy though once she is bigger. But my girlfriend uses her out and about, and her babe is older so she has figure out how to do it without assistance :D
Folding up
PIKKOLO - I found it a bit thick to fold up, maybe because of the memory foam and heavier fabric
BECO - Folded very easily. But neither was very small for putting in a diaper bag for "always having on hand"

Both are quite comfortable and nice looking, I found the weight was carried on your shoulders with the Pikkolo and more on your hips with the Beco (so this would be a wiser choice for much longer carries - but I did carry Skyla for 2+ hours in the Pikkolo, and only started to get a bit sore towards the end, but I am pretty sure I did not have the Pikkolo on totally right this was the first day testing it out.) I am very short and petite, so at first I much prefered the Pikkolo in looks and comfort on me... as it is worn higher on your waist and is much smaller looking with the thinner shoulder padding, and no waist padding. To me it did not look so overwhelming, but I am now really liking the look of the Beco on myself as well, lookswise they are both very attractive IMO (nicer prints with the Beco, and the fabric is softer, but the Pikkolo is suppose to soften more with wear and wash, and will probably hold up better over time being a heavier fabric) Now that I have figured out how to adjust the Beco properly and get Skyla in I find it much more comfortable then the first day. For some reason the Pikkolo was very natural to me for figuring it out, whereas some reviewers seem to think its a bit tricky. I was very torn, and kept flip flopping back and forth as to which one I wanted. But I ended up going with the Beco, and still plan to get a 3rd...yes a 3rd carrier, I want a plain jane Mei Tai (the pikkolo is like a combo of a mei tai and the beco) as I think this will be great one to always have in the diaper bag.

So far I am very happy with the Beco, it takes me a little longer to get it on and Skyla in it, then the Pikkolo...maybe even longer than the Moby (how thats possible I don't know) I have worn it lots the past week, I wore her today for about 2.5 hours, she slept the whole time, woke up at the end of our walk hungry, and I was able to feed her in it WHILE walking, no problem so that is INCREDIBLY AWESOME, in my books. James has worn it a few times, as has Nik and they are both loving it too (they loved the pikkolo as well, so it was a tough decision for the whole house ha)

I know this probably does not help anyone who is trying to decide, but I figured I would share my thoughts anyways. I highly recommend testing them out though, and if you can't borrow them from a store, go in to one and wear your babe for at least 20 minutes, walk around the store with it on and do some other shopping while there ;) if anything it will allow to have free hands, and get into tight aisles where your stroller would not go ha.

Now the fun of me sporting the two lovely carriers

Front of Beco
Side of Beco Back of BecoFront of PikkoloSide of PikkoloBack of Pikkolo

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