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Hip seats are nothing new in the baby carrier industry. They’re extremely popular in Asian regions and are starting to make their way here to the States. They have always intrigued me, as I’ve never used one and I’m very much a fan of floppy SSC’s (soft structured carriers), ring slings, and wraps. You know, the carriers that conform to myself and to my baby. When I saw that LÍLLÉbaby was planning to release this new carrier, I knew I had to try it.
First, I am slightly obsessed with learning the ins and outs of new carriers.. fitting carriers on people is sort of a niche of mine, and I enjoy feeling confident in doing that by knowing a carrier through and through. Second, it just seemed so different than what I was used to, that I had to find out for myself if it was worth the hype. (Spoiler alert: it is!)
Let me start by talking about the feature that makes the SeatMe so much different from LÍLLÉbaby’s standard SSC lineup — Complete and Essentials. That notable feature is, of course, the structured seat insert. It’s exactly what it sounds like it is. A hard (yet slightly padded.. it’s still comfy for baby!) insert that forms a physical seat for baby to sit on. It’s like having a small stool attached to your waist for baby.
On the SeatMe, with 2 very simple steps (one zipper and 2 buttons), you can remove the back panel and straps and use this sturdy seat all on its own as a hip seat, or on your front. I have been asked “but why?!?” about this feature a lot. My answer is simple. Parents are not ignorant to the toddler on the hip.. swing one hip out to the side and stand/walk at an awkward back and hip tilt so your child can essentially sit on your hip bone as you carry them around. This simple hip seat ability of the SeatMe eliminates the need for that swing of the hip and bent back. It basically gives you a hip bone for your child to sit on while you can stand normally. Woohoo!
Another added benefit to this structured seat is, if you choose to face baby outward, that structured seat gives baby a nice seated position that so many struggle to get when outward facing in other SSC’s that support that carry style. It even gives a supportive seat to bigger children when outward facing, as well. I will say, wearing a larger child (over 25 pounds) on the front, especially in the outward facing position, does put a lot of pressure on that structured piece, which can push into your pubic bone area a bit. For short amounts of time, it’s neglegent, but I wouldn’t suggest it for a larger child on front for extended periods of time. Stick to the hip seat, or back carries.
Below the structured seat insert of the SeatMe is another A+ feature. It’s essentially a built in fannypack, without the 80’s stigma and neon colors. This deep belt pocket is in addition to the now-standard large LÍLLÉbaby front pocket so many of us know and love. Yes! Twice the storage!! (I’d actually almost say more than twice.. the bottom pocket definitely holds a hefty amount of stuff!) it’s easy to access, even with baby on you.
You may have noticed, when talking about the structured seat, I used the word insert. The hard seat structure is, indeed, an insert that can quickly and easily be removed and you instantly have a standard SSC to use. Its a fabric and padding covered hard plastic structure that securely velcro’s into the zippered pocket on the belt. It’s like the magical carrier that transforms itself into 3 different carriers. A structured seat carrier, a hip seat, and an SSC! Amazing. Removing the structured seat also gives you even more space in that belt pocket!
One of my favorite features of the SeatMe is most definitely the adjustable panel width feature. The panel is already more narrow than the other LÍLLÉbaby carriers, and then the simple sliding adjustment ability expands its flexibility for baby’s size and makes going from inward to outward facing carries so much easier! Because of the way the slider works, you can essentially customize the panel fit for the size of your baby. Not just two set sizes, wide and narrow. As someone who’s toddler stayed between the wide and narrow setting for a long time, I think this particular ability is a fabulous! You can also, for back carries with larger children, unclip the sliding seat adjuster, since you would use the panel on the widest setting in that scenario anyway.
A small but notable detail that the SeatMe has that other LÍLLÉbaby carriers do not (but I wish they did!!) is a lovely, soft, and plush lining along the inside of the neck support seam. It was one of the first things I noticed when I was examining the carrier, and my baby loved laying his cheeks against it.
The SeatMe, like the Complete, has the tell-tale LÍLLÉbaby neck support that is a very popular feature! It was definitely a selling point for me when I first discovered LÍLLÉbaby, as I know it is with many LÍLLÉ lovers. Along with this neck support is also the nice and large, and easily removable, hood that is also a well known LÍLLÉbaby feature. Same snap attachments as the other LÍLLÉbaby carriers. It also had the same two-way strap adjusters, making adjusting your strap tightness easy in both front and back carries.
A difference you will notice, probably immediately, is the belt. This is not your typical LÍLLÉbaby webbing buckle belt and lumbar support. It’s, instead, a wide canvas belt with sturdy Velcro to secure it around your waist, followed up with a webbing belt and buckle closure. I am not typically a fan of Velcro.. however, I definitely see why this structure is made the way it is. Especially when the SeatMe is used as a hip seat only. The thick, all the way around belt makes it very secure and supportive. It reminds me of those pregnancy back support belts, or the heavy lifting back support belts people buy. (Bonus.. it’s also a bit of a tummy hider! Hahaha)
The SeatMe can be used for the following:
- Front inward facing carries
- Front outward facing carries (only once baby can hold head in upright position)
- Back carries (Minimum 6 months of age)
- Hip Seat only (front or hip positions, 12-45 pounds)
- As an SSC with no structured insert (front carry position)
These are the ins and outs of the new LÍLLÉbaby SeatMe. I am impressed and highly recommend it! Especially if you are looking for something new and different. It most definitely feels and fits differently than the SSC’s I’m accustomed to — but in a good way. I am thrilled to have it as part of my collection and know it will be used often.
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