CatBird Baby Pikkolo Review- and a thank you!

If you’ve been to a meeting, you’ve probably realized we talk a lot about Catbird Baby products.  Catbird Baby Pikkolos and Catbird Baby Mei Tais are well loved in our group.  We’d like to send some huge thank you’s and point out why they are such a hit here!  We received a donation of two newer style Pikkolos earlier this year, and are super excited and wanted to say thanks.   The four libraries have practically had to fight over them they are so popular… We also wanted to share why we love the Catbird Products.


1.  They are fantastic quality, durable, and a great fit for differently sized babies, caregivers, and caregivers of different abilities.  

They work for small, petite parents, and also taller, fluffier parents alike.  The traditional mei tai is generously sized, easily adjustable, and high quality.  The Pikkolo soft structured carrier (SSC) fits many caregivers easily.   The dual adjust shoulder buckle can be adjusted from both directions.  This means it’s easier for parents who have limited mobility or shorter arms, to be able to adjust them easily.  The buckles can always be pre-set to allow the wearer to pull forward to adjust, which can be a make-it-or-break-it point for some parents.


2.  They have a truly one-of-a-kind product in the market.  

They are the neatest form of “hybrid” for a carrier that is SSC based, with some of the more traditional, asian style mei tai features blended in.  How is that you ask??  Unlike other SSC’s, where there is a padded waist support, Pikkolo gives you the option to have a padded or unpadded waist.  Without the waist support belt, it is worn in the traditional “Mei Tai” style, also called apron-style, or J style.  Here is a great explanation on what that means:  Defining apron-style

Sometimes caregivers don’t like the waist padding, and prefer less “stuff” around the waist, or might just like the mei tai feel, but want an easy buckle adjust.  This Pikkolo SSC gives that option.  And as babe gets bigger and heavier, the optional support belt can be added!  The dual adjust buckles and strap length allows the carrier to be worn in the X pattern across the back for a front carry.  Many parents find this to be the ULTIMATE carrying position for a front carry.

It’s also a fantastic younger baby carrier because the combination of the unpadded waist and ladderlock buckle (to adjust down the base of the carrier) allows it to be used for smaller babies without any special inserts or attachments.  The buckle just gets adjusted as babe continues to grow, and is a great fit.

They can be worn on the front facing in, on the front facing out (when babe has good head, neck, and trunk control), on the hip, and also on the back!


3.  They are helping us “spread the love”.

They have offered carriers in the past for the library, so we have some, and have used them extensively.   🙂  They have always been generous, and our group has all loved them… some past the point of retirement.

4.  They are local and we “know” them personally (full disclosure here).  

Catbird Baby is a Chicagoland based manufacturer and distributor, and we love that.  They started out in our neck of the woods.  And the two women who developed both the Mei Tai and the Pikkolo are both FANTASTIC, and we consider them friends.  They were also both involved in the leadership of the two previous groups that merged to form our combined group in January 2011-  (the previous BWI Chicago City Slingers group and Lake County Babywearers group).  One was with Slingers, and the other with Lake County Babywearers.  We love to support local based businesses that have fantastic products.

Beth, the owner of Catbird Baby sent us two newer style Pikkolos earlier this year.  They were so well received and well loved.  I say “newer style” since the version we had previously was the toggle adjust at the base of each side of the carrier, not the current ladderlock buckle.  We still have the older toggle adjust Pikkolo in the library, and they still works great, and are constantly checked out.  We hope to replace more with the newer version this year, since those are close to the point of “too loved to lend out”.


Photo taken by the 5 year old brother 🙂

5.  They are super easy to find locally.  

It was really great to get the current styles in the library to show what can be found at some of the local stores.  Three local stores that carry her products also offer us free space for our free meetings  (Be By Baby, New Mother New Baby, and Cygnus Lactation).  We also want to say again thank you to these businesses as well!  You make our lives easier, and we appreciate your help!

It’s really nice when a parent is in the market to purchase one and we can show them a Pikkolo and they can actually order or buy it on the spot if they love it.  It’s great when parents find carriers they love and we can help make their lives easier!  Beth has been generous to Babywearing groups in the past (not just ours).


We want to send a HUGE thank you to Catbird Baby for the donation!!

Playdate this Friday, July 26, 2013

The normal playdate meeting that was scheduled for Friday in Mundelein is being tagged onto a playdate happening close by a bit later in the day.  Sara is planning a regular playdate at Warren Township Park for 11 am on Friday morning.  The location of the park is about 10 minutes north of Mundelein Playdate meeting.

And to entice you further, we’re including some photos from last month’s park playdate meet up!

Preschool Snacking at Kracklauer Park

Preschool Snacking at Kracklauer Park- 4 year 11 month old in a Toddler Kinderpack with the hood hanging out

If someone would prefer to just swap carriers in or out with Heather in Mundelein on Friday, that is also an option. Send an email to or contact via Heather Facebook to swap carriers in Mundelein.

Toddler Snuggles at the June Park Playdate!

Toddler Snuggles at the June Park Playdate!

Otherwise, plan to visit Sara at Warren Township Park.  Warren Park is *technically* Gurnee, but still really close for those who were planning to come to Cygnus.  Enter the park on Almond Road.  It is at the Southwest corner of Almond and Washington streets, and only about 10 minutes north of Cygnus Lactation.  If a BWI member plans to check in our check out any carriers, please send an email to or send Heather a facebook message through our closed group.  Sara will be bringing ONE SMALL suitcase for swapping stuff out.  This won’t be a regular meeting, but will be an opportunity to swap carriers in or out. It’s also an opportunity to drop off carriers that are due.  We just need to know what you’re interested in by Thursday mid-day!

Back Snuggles in an Action Baby Carrier (ABC)

Back Snuggles in an Action Baby Carrier (ABC)

Warren township does have a sand area that also includes some water features/ spouts, and regular bathrooms with flushing toilets and sinks.  The park is lot of fun for the kids.  A little more parental effort is needed to keep track of kids who run/ take off in parks, since there are some openings to the outside, parking lots, etc.  Just wanted everyone to be aware; it’s a great park, but not a small one you can just let preschoolers run wild and still be able to see them everywhere from sitting on a bench.  It’s a favorite park for some of our families, because there are great structures for younger and also older children (and adults too)!  If your kids like sand/ water sand, consider bringing a change of clothes to leave in the car. 😉

Park Playdate!!

Warren Township Park is located in the Warren Township Center (Campus), located at 17801 W. Washington Street, Gurnee, IL.
Here is their website information:


Membership Drive and Trade-In Event!

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Wintertime Information for Meetings

So, it’s that time of year again.  It gets cold, snow starts to fall, and it seems like every school aged kid gets sick.  So of course it’s time for our annual group announcements.

Winter Weather

Winter Weather


Cancellations or Single Leader Meetings

We try really hard to keep all meetings going that we have scheduled.  Inevitably, one or two meetings each year get cancelled or changed because of either the weather, driving conditions, or health of leaders or their children.  Some of the leaders drive over an hour to get to some of the meetings, IN GOOD WEATHER.  If the weather is poor (or there is sickness), we may still have a meeting, but it  might have less educators there to help.  We ask that you please try and be patient with us.  We also ask that folks who are comfortable helping out let a leader know you are willing to come and help.

Meeting Napping

Meeting Napping

In the event a meeting or playdate is cancelled, the following will happen: it will be changed in our Facebook group, on the Facebook event, the calendar here will be updated, the location will be notified, and we make a quick post to let everyone know.  For this reason, PLEASE check one of these locations before the meetings this winter.  Because there will be multiple notices everywhere, we will hope to catch everyone.  And for BWI members, if a meeting is cancelled and you have a carrier checked out, we will notify you of how we will handle carrier swaps or holding the carrier an extra month.


Cold and Flu Season

Newborn Wrapping

Newborn Wrapping

With the winter flu season approaching, we want to send a few health reminders out. We have pregnant mamas and newborns coming to our meetings every month.  We also try to keep leaders healthy so we can still come lead other meetings in different areas each month. Sick leaders also mean cancelled meetings, and we try and overlap to avoid this.  It’s just that time of year.

Baby Snuggles

Baby Snuggles

Please STAY HOME if you or your family are feeling sick. We all understand teethy kids, but if you or your child is actively sick, has the flu, has been running a fever within the last 24 hours, or has a rash of any sort related to previous fever/sickness, please wait to visit us until the next meeting.

Lingering runny noses and leftover coughs seem like a normal part of wintertime, but we want to ensure people who are ACTIVELY sick wait to visit us.  We promise, we’re not going anywhere.  We will be here next week, or even next month.  This is not meant to cause stress or concern, it’s just the annual reminder since wintertime tends to coincide with children and adults who are ill.

If you really need help and are sick, we can make arrangements to meetup after the meeting when you or your children are feeling better. Or feel free to pop by for a moment and exchange a carrier if you are a BWI member and need to trade something out quickly.   We will work with you to swap carriers, and depending on the area you live in, there might be another accessible meeting the next week you could attend as well.


Wishes for a Healthy December

We hope you all have a healthy month.  As I sit here with a sick first grader who is WAY too big for me to wear him, I’m reminded of two great benefits to using carriers that I miss now with my older boy.  It’s a great way to comfort and calm a sick child.  Sick kids usually just want to be held all the time anyway, your carrier can help you do that.  It can also to keep folks you don’t know from pawing at your new little babe!  Take the opportunity to wrap them up nice and close, and keep them safe and secure.


Mundelein Meeting Changes

Group Growth

It’s no secret that we’ve been outgrowing the space at Cygnus for the monthly morning meeting in Mundelein.  As our group has grown we’ve been evaluating options for the Mundelein Meeting.  This is a good problem to have, but a problem none the less.  The meetings have gotten so busy that it has become overwhelming for some of us as leaders, so we can only imagine how overwhelming it can be for new parents!

(Now, granted, this ring sling photo isn’t the best (the rings could be down lower and the shoulder a little farther out) but the photo shows from one end of the Cygnus meeting space to the other.  I think I put my younger boy up to show how you could still wear a 3 year old in a ring sling.  This was my handy dandy Sleeping Baby Productions (SBP) ring sling wrap conversion made from BB Slen Passion Fruit….)

We love the space and kind accommodations at Cygnus.  Jeanne has hosted our meeting since long before the Lake County Babywearers and Slingers merged almost 2 years ago.  It’s a free, available space, with toys and close restrooms.  Jeanne, thanks SO MUCH for letting us meet at your spot.


Scheduling through libraries is actually a little bit of work that adds up all year round… figuring out schedules, not having a consistent time, asking and waiting for the ok, only being able to schedule 2-3 months in advance, needing someone with a card (and at some locations that person has to open/close the room), and constantly updating our group info with new events.  Having a standing meeting is REALLY convenient for leaders.  To try and keep that convenience and better meet the needs of new parents, we’re going to make some changes.


Trying something new

We have an early afternoon meeting in Gurnee, and an evening meeting in Grayslake, and both of these locations are pretty close to the Mundelein meeting.  Hopefully, if the Mundelein changes don’t work with your schedule,  one of the other two might be a good substitute.


The standing meeting at Cygnus the SECOND friday morning of every month will continue, but it will become more of a “Babywearing 101” meeting.  The library will be available, and we will focus on more of the basics, safety, different types of carriers, general questions.  We want parents to bring the carriers they have, and we will help them get more comfortable.  This “101” meeting is targeted for new parents or parents who are just learning about baby carriers and are looking for basic information or help with a carrier they own.  It may be helpful to come to the more basic 101 meeting a few times before moving to the playdate based meeting.


The hope for this “101” meeting is that it will be a little calmer, a little *teeny* bit quieter, and a better environment for new parents that won’t be quite so overwhelming.  This meeting will be 1.5 hours, to accommodate leader schedules.


A few parents from meetings at Cygnus, who were still early on in their babywearing journey, who would have benefitted from this new format:

(Sakura Bloom, Moby Wrap, Gypsymama Breeze, and Angelpack SSC featured here)


Playdate based?

We are going to add a second Mundelein meeting for the THIRD Friday of every month. This meeting will be more playdate based, and targeted for folks who have already been to a meeting, and heard the general info at LEAST once, but preferably a number of times.  The hope for this meeting, is that it will be more playdate based, more peer-to-peer learning, and less “talking” from leaders.


Let’s be honest, some of the regulars who have come to a year or two of meetings really don’t need or want to hear about an open airway for the 25th time.   Unless they want to step up into a leadership position… but we’ll talk more about that in a post in the near future.


The playdate based meeting will probably be a better option for folks who don’t get scared off by excited toddlers and preschoolers, and want to revel in some babywearing geekery.  We will start off having this at Cygnus. If we outgrow Cygnus we will look for an alternate location.


Normal Meeting Information

Meetings:  Our meetings are ALWAYS free.  Parents and caregivers are ALWAYS free to try out the carriers we bring to the meetings.  If you would like to support our group and become an official BWI Member, with privileges to borrow carriers between meetings, a 30.00 optional membership is available for a 12 month period.

The lending library will be available at both meetings.

If you *can’t* come to the meeting that best fulfills your needs, you are free to come to the alternate meeting.  We’d rather have you come to the alternate meeting than not come at all.  We’re just trying this option out to see if it helps everyone as much as it will help leaders.Please note: though this meeting is held at a lactation office, babies and children who are fed by both formula and breast milk are always welcomed.  We can teach you how bottle feed in a carrier just as easily as we can teach you how to nurse in a carrier.  Jeanne Cygnus provides her meeting space to our group for free and we appreciate the availability.

Thank You’s and a chance at some Goodies-

We want to announce some fundraising efforts and thank some people and businesses, both local and online.  I know some of you have been waiting VERY PATIENTLY to hear what we have this year.  But first we want to introduce you to the folks who’ve made these donations (in no particular order)…  We are so thankful for these donations.  Some of the items donated will be raffled off.  Some of the items donated will be incorporated into our lending libraries.


THANK YOU ERGOBABY (and Heather L.) for allowing us to have our own BWI Chicagoland Ergo giveaway.  One of our members, Cheryl Hansen will get to choose her new Ergo from a few different options!  In addition, Ergo sent me some waist extenders, teething suck pads, and a black front pack that I’m donating to the group.  The front pack will be part of the fundraiser, the teething pads and waist extenders will be added to the lending libraries.  Here is a direct link to the front pack.


THANK YOU to Kristie from Max and Jack’s Room, for the donations of the Kissaluvs Proucts including two premium organic cloth wipes (in the Dino Mino and Owl’s Life prints)… and a 4 oz. bottle of Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion spray.


THANK YOU Susan Field, one of our leaders, for a donation of a Large (18-30lbs) Loveybums Crepe Wool diaper cover in mint green (with snaps) and one Beco Mini toy carrier.


THANK YOU to Jen at Marsupial Mamas for her donations of a two fantastic Natibaby Ring Sling carriers, a Iris Ring Sling, and a Dinos Ring Sling.














THANK YOU to Kristy at Little Trendsetters for 4 reversible pairs of carrier teething/suck pads.  I think these might be the cutest I’ve ever seen in person!

THANK YOU to Natibaby for two fantastic woven wraps.  The Natibaby bamboo/linen blend Pancy Pearl (maxi 5.2 meter) will be raffled off, and the Natibaby Organic Ecru size 6 wrap will be added to the lending library!  (Sorry the Natibaby photo on bottom with both is a little yellowed out from the photo).  One of our leaders, Rachel, just dyed it a gorgeous color that will work great for the lending library!

Isn’t this a beautiful dye job for a new lending library wrap?


THANK YOU to Jen Manzi, who is starting a new business called Manziknitz, for her donation of a semi-custom knitted hat.  The winner will provide measurements of their child’s head and Jen will give a few different options for the hat style she will knit.

THANK YOU to one of our members, Allison Myers, for her donation of a bottle of Young Living Essential Oils Gentle Baby Oil.


THANK YOU to Corry of Clean Green Nappy for her donation of multiple pairs of Rock-A-Thigh Baby Socks.  We have a few different sizes of the grey and the chunky monkey patterns!  (These are two for pics that are out of the plastic packaging.)


THANK YOU to Janelle Dent, another leader, for her donation of a Beco mini (child’s play) carrier.


THANK YOU to Fluff Envy for hosting a special event for some of our families in the western suburbs.  It was so nice of them to host us, especially outside normal store hours.  Justine also offered a 25.00 gift certificate at the event, and we are SO thankful for that!


THANK YOU to New Mother New Baby for hosting our big event last week, and also the generous donation of MULTIPLE items that were given away at their store.  There was a JuJuBe bag, an Ergo, a Boba Wrap, gift certificates, mama products, baby products, socks, and a TON of other prizes that I know our members will appreciate.

The Nitty Gritty Details…

Now for the fun stuff!  Raffle tickets will be available through Saturday October 27th.  Winners will be drawn on Sunday October 28th.

Tickets are 5.00 each or 5 tickets for 20.00.

You can get tickets by contacting a leader through our Facebook group, or also emailing the group address,  Leaders can be found in Elburn, Algonquin, Harvard, Mundelein, Wildwood, Hainesville, Waukegan, and Chicago.   We can take cash, check, or paypal for the tickets.  The extra time is to accommodate anyone who would like to forward a check in the mail!

Contact Heather, Janelle, or Tabitha for raffle tickets (a few of our leaders are going to be out of town).  There will also be tickets available at the Gurnee meeting on Monday afternoon, or the McHenry meeting on Friday morning.  And please bear with us if it takes a day or so to get back to you with the busy weekends, we will be following up with anyone who wants tickets!  There will be follow up confirmations made with anyone who has interest or gets tickets before anything is drawn on Sunday October 28th.

You will choose which raffle you would like each ticket entered into.  Winners will need to pick up their item from either a meeting or a leader’s house (or near a leader’s house).  Alternatively, the items can be shipped locally, but the winner would need to pay for shipping.



The Goodies!

Pictures and additional info for each raffle is listed in the thank you section above. 🙂

Raffle 1- Natibaby Ring Sling:  Dinos, size Medium

Raffle 2- Natibaby Woven Wrap:  Pearl Pancy, size 5.2m

Raffle 3- Baby Package:   Young Living baby oil, Loveybums Diaper cover, 4oz. Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion, and a pair of premium Kissaluvs cloth wipes

Raffle 4- Boyish Fun Pack:  Beco Mini Toy Doll Carrier (the one donated by Susan, with the blue, gray, and white leaves), Your choice of one of the pairs of Boyish Teething Pads from Little Trendsetters, and a pair of Rock-a-Thigh baby socks

Raffle 5- Girly Fun Pack:  Beco Mini Toy Doll Carrier (the one donated by Janelle, with the turqoise background, pink, white and orange flowers), Your choice of one of the pairs of Girlish Teething Pads from Little Trendsetters, and a pair of Rock-a-Thigh baby socks

Raffle 6- Babywearing Accessory Package:  Manziknitz hat, 2 pairs of Rock-a-Thigh baby socks, and a black Ergo front pack

IBW Week 2012- A Week to Celebrate and Share Your Knowledge

International Babywearing Week 2012

So, by now you’ve probably heard all the hoopla about our special celebratory week that happens every October.

Well, this year our celebration “officially” begins Monday October 8th and goes through Sunday October 14th.

The theme for this year is “Carrying on Traditions”. What does that mean to you?

We’re also going to be announcing some exciting giveaways and fundraising raffles before IBW week starts. You’ll have to wait just a little longer to hear about some of the goodies we’re raffling off, giving away, or adding to our lending libraries!

Week at a Glance

We have a few potential events in process right now, but many events have been firmed up. Here is our tentative schedule of events for the week:

Monday October 8th: GROUP PHOTOSHOOT- We’re firming up details for 1-3 locations to meet up and get some group photos taken. There will be more details to follow on these events.

Tuesday October 9th: ZOO MEETUP- We’ll be meeting up at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago at 10 am, pending favorable weather. This zoo is free to enter, and it’s not as large as Brookfield Zoo. It will be easier to find each other. For questions or meeting up, details will be posted both here and on facebook shortly before the event. Alternatively, when you get to the zoo (if you’re late) you can text Laura or Heather for directions to the group.  Details will be posted as an event on the calendar.  If the weather is not favorable, this may be moved or postponed since it is an outside event.  If that were to happen, it would be posted both here and in our group.

Meet new friends at the zoo!

Second event for Tuesday October 9th: BLOG POSTINGS- We would love you to link a personal blog post about how using baby carriers have positively impacted your life as a parent or caregiver. Or a blog post about why using carriers is important to you. And we’ll be linking them all up on our site here. Alternatively, if you don’t have a blog yourself, we’d love to share your story here. If we have a lot of stories to share, we’ll do some just before or after Tuesday. Please forward your post information to with the title IBW WEEK BLOG POST.

Wednesday October 10th: FACEBOOK GROUP DAY- We’ll be doing some online activites in our facebook group. Asking some questions… maybe what’s your…favorite carrier, favorite carry, favorite memory wearing your child, favorite benefit. Who knows? You’ll just have to wait and see!

Thursday October 11th: PHOTO CONTEST- We will be having a photo contest of caregivers and children using carriers. There will be a few categories, as well as a few “guidelines”. If anyone takes any individual photos on Monday, they can be entered into the photo contest!

Meet up with other parents who use carriers

One of the categories will be focused on SAFE hands-free activities while babywearing. These will be posted on this public website, so we’ll require that caregivers are appropriately dressed, we’ll be including family friendly photos. As a general rule of thumb, if you would be embarrassed your teenage son looked at this, it’s not appropriate. 😉

Friday October 12th: MEETING CELEBRATIONS- There will be a celebratory meet ups at two different locations. There will be a northerly meeting in Mundelein, at Cygnus Lactation, at 9:30 am. IBW week happens to fall during our normal meeting time! Details will be posted on the Calendar.

There will be a meeting in Sugar Grove at 10 am as well (slightly south and quite west of Chicago). This will be the second meeting for Kane/Kendall County. We’re looking forward to seeing you there! Details will be posted on the calendar.

Saturday October 13th: WEEKEND CELEBRATION EVENT- New Mother New Baby in Northbrook has volunteered to host us for a weekend celebration.  It’s a nice room, with a wall of mirrors to check your carry out.  New Mother New Baby has donated some items to raffle off and give away at this event.   Details will be posted on the calendar.

Sunday October 14th:  HISTORICAL BABYWEARING- Historical babywearing photos will be posted both here and on our facebook page. It’s a way to think about how we are “Carrying on Traditions”, following the theme of this year’s celebration.

We can’t wait to share more information over the next week or two as we approach this very busy week!  Won’t you join us?