As a small built mom to a big baby boy, one day while sitting confined to a feeding chair, I scoured the internet for something that would allow me to continue to carry my ever growing bundle of joy. To give you an idea: at 8 months, he weighed a whopping 10 kgs - a fifth of my weight - and my neck, back and shoulders took serious strain.
Wraps and baby carriers were out of the question: I tried almost all wraps and buckle carriers available on the South African market, but as he grew, he no longer wanted to be constricted.
And then it hit me: what about a baby seat that I could strap on like an old fashioned moon bag to evenly distribute his weight? I finally found it something called a "Hip Seat Baby Carrier" which did not exist in South Africa at the time.
I bought my first second-hand hip seat from a lovely mother of 2 who bought it in the UK and swore by it saving her back. It was quite a rudimental model and its name was quite odd: 'Easy Rider', but it worked a charm nonetheless.
A month later, while making nappy cakes for my friends' twin babyshower, I accidentally sliced my right thigh open to the bone with a blade cutter and had to undergo surgery to repair severed veins and muscle ligaments. I apparently missed my arterial vein by less than half a centimeter... phew that was a close one... jokes aside; it was one of the most difficult challenges I've had to endure in my life.
It took me 3 weeks to get back on my feet, limping without crutches, and 14 to fully recover. My hip seat came to the rescue! As full time working parents, with parents that live far away, we are our son's sole caregivers. I would have never managed to pick him up on my own from crèche without it, and it enabled me to take strain off my husband having to take off work to fetch him.
Taking on parenting, together with all the responsibilities we already had was overwhelming to say the least. Trying to manage to keep it all together - washing bottles, cooking, taking our dogs out for walks and keeping our home in order, can be very difficult; so I have always tried to find the most convenient ways to mark off the never-ending to-do list.
What started as a creative project on the side, soon turned into something every parent we encountered was absolutely fascinated with! Our flagship product and business, Hipporoo®, was born out of wanting to share this amazing accessory with parents in South Africa; completely self-funded and largely with philanthropic aims.
Why the name?
Our name and trademark* came from a combination of 3 simple facts - because "all good things come in 3s":
1. The [Hippo] is native to Sub-Saharan Africa and carry their young on their backs in deep water. We believe hippos have not been given the attention they deserve, due to not being regarded as part of "The Big Five" and really want to improve their exposure;
2. The [Hip] Seat on our baby carrier is its distinguishing feature and is the very first to be proudly designed with pending registration in South Africa!
3. Kanga[Roo]s carry their joeys in pouches and ours is best worn in this position, as it best reproduces the m-shape position recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
There are many different models of hip seat carriers available on the international market, but I looked hard and long to source the very best. I wanted something robust, with perfect stitching and accessories, so I worked with an internationally certified BCIA ("Baby Carrier Industry Alliance") manufacturer based in Hong Kong to come up with the perfect solution.
I desperately tried to produce it in South Africa in support of local communities, and reached out to numerous local companies, however the materials would have had to be sourced from abroad anyway and local manufactures just did not have the technical capabilities and machinery to produce it at a reasonable cost to SGS approved standards.
With 10-in-1 carrying styles, the Hipporoo® grows with your baby from newborn to 36 months. It has a maximum weight capacity of 15 kgs, and therefore caters for toddlers like no other baby carrier on the market. Wraps and slings are great for different stages in your baby's development. I imported and tried over 20, but found that purchasing different products to cater for my baby's growing needs was very expensive. The Hipporoo® however, will carry you and your baby - excuse the pun - through all the years: it is the height of babywearing evolution!
Have you purchased your Hipporoo® yet? If not, what is holding you back? We love receiving constructive feedback as we continuously strive to improve our product range - please feel free to leave your comment below or pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Trademark registered in the EU and pending registration in South Africa.