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How to wear Mei Tais Newborn Pikkolo Safety Tips and Troubleshooting

Avoid These Common Babywearing Safety Mistakes

September 11, 2015
Zephyr pikkolo

The benefits of babywearing abound. It promotes physical and emotional development, strengthens the bond between parent and baby, allows baby a bird’s eye view of the world, allows parents to be hands-free and can allow for on-the-go breastfeeding. Here are some common safety errors when first using a carrier.

Too Low, Too Loose
Always aim for the baby to be high and tight or “visible and kissable.” You always want to be able to keep a close eye on your baby and be able to monitor his breathing. Remember to reposition baby after you’ve finished nursing him.

Too low and loose

Too low and loose in a Pikkolo

Too Low

Too Low and Too Loose in a Ring Sling










Fit Tip: When putting the carrier on, hold your baby in the proper position on your body (on your chest where you naturally hold him), then bring the carrier to your baby and tighten while supporting his weight. If you support the baby’s weight gently in one hand, it will be much easier to adjust your carrier.

3 mo in Catbird Baby Pikkolo

High and comfortably snug in Pikkolo

High and Snug

High and comfortably snug in Ring Sling











Carrier That’s Too Big/Unadjusted
When using a carrier that’s too big, getting the proper fit can be tough and safety can become an issue. Infants may not get the lateral and spinal support they need, the carrier may be too tall/cover the head, or their knees may be spread too far apart.

Too big without insert

Baby’s face is buried

Not sized properly

Baby’s feet are splayed










When using traditional SSCs with newborns, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, make the proper adjustments and use recommended inserts as indicated. Remember, visible and kissable!

Proper fit in SSC using infant insert

Fitted properly with recommended insert

Proper fit in SSC that is adjustable for infants.

Adjusted properly per instructions










The unstructured design of mei teis, ring slings, wraps and buckle carriers like the Catbird Baby Pikkolo are great for newborns.

3-month-old baby in mei tai

Catbird Baby Mei Tei

3-mo in Catbird Baby Pikkolo

Catbird Baby Pikkolo










Fit Tip: When babies are little, less is more. Look for carriers that provide snug support without excess fabric or padding.

Compromised Airway
Babies can sometimes slump into a chest to chin position when in their baby carriers (or car seats or bouncers). The upright, tummy-to-tummy position is the easiest way to maintain an open airway.

Cradle hold in ring sling

Cradle position can pose a risk

Tummy to tummy in ring sling

Tummy-to-tummy position for safety










Fit Tip: Make sure that your baby’s chin is off the chest and that there is adequate airflow. Never cover baby’s head with a blanket.

Babywearing is a great parenting tool! With the right carrier (or carriers), you and baby will look and feel comfortable. If you’re having trouble getting the right fit, babywearing groups, volunteer and certified babywearing educators are wonderful resources.

The post Avoid These 3 Common Babywearing Mistakes first appeared September 2, 2015 on The Leaky Boob as part of their #TLBsafeKids campaign.

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How to wear Mei Tais Product News

Hello Kitty isn’t a cat. And the pikkolo isn’t an SSC.

August 28, 2014
by Beth Warrell Leistensnider

So, major blow on Wednesday of this week. Sanrio tells us that they’re not sure what we’ve all been smoking for years, but Hello Kitty isn’t a cat. “Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature.” Sanrio, the creator of Hello Kitty, made this correction to the curator of an upcoming exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum who had submitted her notes for review. 


Whoa. Hello Kitty is not a cat? I’m going to take this opportunity to blow your mind twice in one blog post with another revelation: the pikkolo carrier is NOT an SSC.

Really. SSC, or soft structured carriers, are a genre of carrier typically characterized by, let’s be honest, their similarity to the ErgoBaby carrier with a permanently attached, firm foam-padded hip belt. This type of carrier is meant to be worn NON-apron style, with the firm foam padding resting against the lower abdomen and the carrier body pouching out in a J-shape, forming a seat for your baby.

The pikkolo, on the other hand, is something else. Yes, it has buckles. But it is really more of a mei tai. The pikkolo, like the traditional mei tai, is worn apron-style. This means that you put it on with the front of the body panel against your stomach, and before you put the baby in it, it is hanging down in front of you like an apron. When you put the baby against you (tummy to tummy) and the carrier comes up behind baby’s back, your body and the carrier form a U-shape.


The mom’s torso (back) plus the body panel of this mei tai form a U-shape.

So, maybe you are wondering: isn’t this not as good as an SSC with a foam-padded hip belt? Isn’t more padding better? Well, not always. It’s not bad, it’s different. It holds the weight of your baby differently. It works differently with your body. There are reasons some people love a thicker padded hip belt; but there is definitely a reason why I prefer the unpadded waist of a carrier like the pikkolo or a mei tai. For one, it’s way more compact. Less carrier means less to fold up when I want to stash it in the diaper bag, and less fabric surrounding me. I want to feel like I’m wearing the carrier–not the other way around. And I don’t want my carrier to push my pants down. New moms are liable to end up walking around the grocery store with two wet circles on their shirt, so wouldn’t pushing down your pants just be adding insult to injury?

hy photography 137

As with the mei tai, the mom’s torso (front) plus the carrier make a U-shape. The carrier is worn slightly above the natural waist typically.

The reason that these two different designs can both be comfortable is because they are worn in different ways. Mei tais (and some carries in a woven wrap) are meant to be worn higher and closer to the body. For the most part, an SSC with a firm-padded attached hip belt is meant to be worn around the top of the hips with the baby sitting in the carrier and effectively on top of the hip belt, with a little bit of sway, or space between your body and baby’s body. Both ways can feel comfortable. Which way you will prefer will depend on your body type and how you feel about other aspects of the carrier (such as the level of bulk, features, style, materials, etc). Often it’s really hard to know which one will work for you until you try one on (which is why we highly recommend shopping for carriers at an independent local store that has staff well-trained in babywearing and fitting baby carriers).

So now you know: a pikkolo is a mei tai with buckles. But I’m still not buying that Hello Kitty is not a cat.

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Miscellany Product News

Defining “apron-style”

March 28, 2012

This is a term that is often used by babywearers and it’s a shorthand way to describe how to wear many mei tai carriers as well as our pikkolo. A lot of soft-structured, or semi-structured, carriers today have a thick, firmly padded foam waistband and they are worn a little differently than the pikkolo. However,  I know that it is a little confusing, because if you add the babywearing support belt to the pikkolo, then you do wear it the same as other typical SSCs. When you wear the pikkolo without the support belt, it is intended to be worn apron-style. This means that when you put the pikkolo on, you will secure the waist buckle around your waist such that the front curved and piped panel will touch the tops of your thighs at first, and the printed safety warning label will be facing outward, away from your body, and the carrier itself is hanging down from your waist, in front of you, like—you guessed it—-an apron. Then you pick up baby and place him or her against your chest with legs straddling your middle, bring the carrier up between his or her legs and fasten the attachments. So the carrier now is in a J-shape. Or you could think of your chest plus the carrier forming a U-shape, and in the middle is where your baby is sitting. With an SSC with a foam padded waist/hip belt, the J-shape stops short at the waist and goes downward (the foam padded waist/hip belt) instead of upward on your abdomen (the pikkolo’s unstructured, soft fabric body). I’ve made some diagrams to try to illustrate this below. To the left of the shape is the wearer’s body, in profile (from the side):

The pikkolo forms a J-shape when worn.

The pikkolo forms a J-shape when worn.

"Traditional" SSC, with truncated J-shape with padded waist going downward.

"Traditional" SSC, with truncated J-shape with padded waist going downward.









I hope this helps to make this easier for some people to visualize! We are also working on some plans to get videos and more photo tutorials up on our blog for people.

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