Web: CatBirdBaby.com

Price: $130.

Weight Range: 8 to 40 lbs.

Comments: Maker Catbird Baby started off with a mei tai carrier, but recently expanded into a soft carrier with buckles. The straps are shorter than a mei tai, addressing a common complaint with those carriers. The Pikkolo can be used front and rear facing, on the back and on the hip like a mei tai. They offer it in only one size and recommend their original mei tai if you are very petite or large. The Pikkolo comes with an attached hood, memory foam straps, chest strap to use in the piggyback position and instruction booklet. Fabric options are limited (one solid, two patterns), made of brushed cotton canvas.

New for 2016, Catbird Baby has improved the carrier with “no rub” pads under the buckles and elastic security straps to corral extra strap lengths. We met recently with Catbird Baby and asked them to tell us what makes their Pikkolo better than other, similar carriers. They told us they don’t use any velcro so you won’t disturb your sleeping baby with that loud ripping sound when you take the carrier off. Their flexible waist band is another plus because it allows you to carry your baby higher on your body—especially important for newborns and moms who’ve had a c-section.

Reader feedback on the Pikkolo has been very positive—the hybrid style of a soft carrier with mei tai like options makes it a favorite. Our only complaint: we wish they had videos on their site to show parents how to use the Pikkolo.  

Rating: A