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I bought the hip seat (as it was then called) when my daughter was approximately 6 months old (it isn't suitable for younger babies) as my back and arms were starting to protest at constantly carrying around a small child. I'd previously tried carriers and slings at various stages but none of them suited us. I wasn't overly convinced about this one but thought I'd give it a try. We loved it. My daughter was still carried by me in exactly the same manner but there was little or no strain on my back and I only had to gently wrap my arm around her to ensure she didn't fall backwards. It was almost like having two hand free. It was comfortable enough to put on in the mornings and remove at bedtime (hers, not mine). That way, it was always available for a quick trip up or down the stairs. I gave up wearing it when my daughter was stretching and grabbing at things so much that it wasn't really helping my back anymore. I would say this is an invaluable purchase for any mother.
After doing some research I decided to buy a Hippychick from ebay for about £20 when my son was about 10 months old as an introduction to babywearing and as I didn't want to be taking the pushchair everywhere. Initially I thought it was great, it is very easy to put on and to put your baby on but after only about a ten minute walk I found that my leg was hurting slightly and I was getting a bit fed up of carrying him like that (maybe I just walk funny). I do use it occasionally and it is certainly better than carrying my baby with no help but find that it is quite limited and only useful for very short journeys and where I won't need both hands. I have since bought a baby carrier suitable for toddlers this can be rolled up and used as a hipseat and in that case isn't nearly as good as a Hippychick, however using it as a back (or even front for short journeys) carrier is much more comfortable and useful than the Hippychick as I have both hands free. One other advantage of the Hippychick over just carrying your baby is that mine seems less inclined to try and throw himself out of my arms onto the floor when we're using it.
I have just recently purchased one of these Hippychick Hipseats, 2nd hand on ebay - for a bargain price of £13, and I am absolutely thrilled with it..... My youngest son is 6mths old and weighs 22lb. As he is not yet sitting up carrying him around all day is like dragging around a sack of potatoes, because he doesn't bear any of his weight, and by the end of the day my back is so painful from sticking my hip out to support him, and my arms are developing muscles I never knew I had (nor particularly want!!). This has changed my life completely. I do have a sling which is easily adjustable and up until now have used this a lot when out and about - but the hipseat is even easier because it is so quick. Just pop your baby / toddler on there - pop your arm around their back to stop them falling off, and off you go. They are easy to fit, comfortable to wear - and you really can feel the difference between carrying your toddler/baby with or without it. I feel that the burden of lifting buggies and car seats in and out of the car for school runs has all been lifted and I am again regaining the freedom of been able to 'pop' into the shops etc.. without having to get out the travel system!! Better still is that when it was raining a few days ago, I could carry my son close to me on the hipseat, wrapping my waterproof jacket around him also, and he stayed nice and dry. You could also hold an umbrella easily whilst having your child on the hipseat as it only takes one hand to support them - and you don't get tired - so need to be swapping arms and umbrella's mid downpour!! With my hipseat on I really do feel like a hippy chick, with a trendy baby accessory that not only gets me noticed, but makes my life a lot easier also. If you are umming and aahhing as to whether you should splash out on one I would say YES, YES, YES. They can be quite pricey new - but worth it I think - or you could grab yourself a bargain on ebay like I did.
My son was quite a big baby, and grew out of his baby carrier at around 7 months. He seemed happy in his buggy, looking around at the world, for a few months, but then began wanting to be out with me again. I also wanted the freedom to carry him, being able to leave the buggy behind sometimes when it would otherwise get in the way. I also enjoy trying out the quirkier baby accessories (bumbo, doidy cups etc), and bringing them to other mums' attention. So when I heard about the Hippychick hip seat, I had to try it! The seat is not a baby carrier in the usual sense of strapping the baby onto you, it's simply a belt that you wear around your waist, with a hard platform over the hip that baby can sit on. It doesn't sound great, but believe me it takes the weight off your arm and back, which for me is wonderful. The seat comes in one size, which supposedly fits from UK size 8 to 20. However, my small size 8 sister tried it on and it was slightly too big for her to use comfortably, and my mum is a size 18 and it doesn't quite fit. I'm a size 10-12 and it's perfect for me. I think it's probably best suited for a large 8 to a large 16. It is possible to buy an extension from the website (www.hippychick.com) for around £5. The seat comes in a variety of colours including navy and burgundy, but mine is good old goes-with-anything black. The seat is like a big bumbag, and the platform for baby is inserted into the large pocket which you wear over your hip. I believe once you no longer use it as a seat it's possible to remove the platform and use it as a bumbag (but would you want to?!). It's secured with a long strip of velcro and an adjustible clip (pretty much the same as the waistband on most baby carriers). The Hippychick hip seat sells for around £36, but I bought mine on eBay for £15. I use it almost every day, and it was certainly worth the money. I had to train myself at first not to stick my hip out when I was carrying my son, as happens naturally when you carry a child on your hip, because with the hip seat you can keep your back straight. As the child isn't strapped in you do need an arm around them all the time, which can still give you a bit of an arm ache if he is wriggly, but compared to holding him without the seat this is very little. I do a lot of walking for my job, and previously had to push the buggy around some awkward places. Now I put my son on the hip seat, sling my bags over my shoulder and off I go! It's very useful being able to hold things in the arm I have around my son - the arm supports him so I have my hand free. That comes in useful too when I need to find my keys, sort change or open a juice cup, which used to be hard if not impossible when I had a handful of baby as well as bags! I do find I get a little achey when using the seat for a long time (more than a few hours), but that is to be expected as I think however you do it, carrying a 12kg toddler around is going to take its toll eventually. Last week I carried my son without the hip seat for about 15 minutes, and really noticed the difference. I had to keep swapping him over onto my other arm, clasping my hands together to keep them from dropping off. There is none of that with the hip seat. I really am glad that I bought the Hippychick seat. It's very hardwearing, and even though I got it second hand and have used it extensively for about 3 months, it still looks great. It is machine washable, but since the wash when I bought it I haven't needed to do it again as the material is very easy to clean quickly with a cloth if there is a spillage. My son loves it and enjoys the freedom of sitting 'on' Mummy but being able to look around because he's not strapped in. I am also very relaxed when we are using it, because all the weight is on my hips rather than my back and arm. I can get around quickly and use stairs without hassle. It makes shopping so much easier because I don't have to wait in queues for the one lift in the whole shopping centre. A lot of people don't realise I'm wearing it, and seem to think I've got super strong arms that can manage a toddler and umpteen bags at the same time with ease. I've only ever seen one other person with one, and we bonded over them as we couldn't stop praising our hip seats! The seat is supposed to be suitable for up to 3 year olds. My son has recently turned 1 and is big for his age, and I find the seat invaluable. I can't vouch for how it feels to carry a bigger toddler with it though, but I expect it's easier than the alternative of balancing them on your stuck-out hip! My son has just started walking and I'm not keen on the idea of keeping him in a buggy so the compromise of walking and carrying on the hipseat is ideal for us. I was undecided between four and five stars is that it is quite difficult to get used to and is expensive for what it really is - a piece of hard foam in a bumbag. I decided on five stars as it really does take so much strain off your back (you will notice if you use one for a while then go back to carrying normally) and make it so easy to get around. I do recommend it, especially if you can get one on eBay or the like.
A Hippychick is a thick canvas belt containing a sturdy (yet extremely lightweight) wedge-shape platform. The whole thing is secured around your waist by Velcro and a buckle and the idea is that the baby sits on the platform eliminating the need to stick your hip out (lets face it - we all do it!) I take my Hippychick everywhere with me; there are shops that I couldn?t get in to with a buggy that I can now go to with the baby on the Hippychick and I?ve wandered around several National Trust properties recently buggy-less and in total comfort. I seriously do not know how I coped without this product. You do not realise the strain that you put on your back when you carry a baby around on your hip. I know that you are advised by your health visitor to carry the baby in front of you, but lets face it, it?s easier said than done! A friend recommended this product to me and her husband is an Osteopath who recommends them to his clients.
What a fantastic invention, this is basically a bum-bag (remember them?) but instead of a bag there is a seat. It is invaluable if your child is walking and refuses to get in his/her pushchair or if your child just prefers to be at the same height as everyone else. If your child is too heavy to carry everywhere and breaks your back when you put them in a normal baby carrier (like my son), this is what you need. It takes the pressure away from your spine and arms and you hardly notice the weight. The seat is placed over your hip and you then sit your child straddled on the seat and then use one arm to prevent them falling backward. It really takes very little effort. The support would not be suitable if you were going on long journeys but for short trips and journeys on public transport it is perfect. I was on a crowded Tube Train this week and instead of having to wait until the end of the rush hour to get the pushchair on the train I sat my son on the Baby Belt and carried the pushchair with my free hand. I really can’t rave about the belt enough, I had never seen it until I went to the Prima Baby Show but I have never regretted buying it. The Belt is suitable from when your child can support themselves until about the age of three. It folds down really small so it can be stored in the bottom of your pushchair or in a changing bag. You can order it over the telephone on 01278 671461 or on the Internet at hippychickproducts.com. It also comes in about four colours so you can even look trendy! Happy Travelling. P.S. Sorry if I sound like an advert but it really is great!