About us

The Catbird Seat from catbirdbaby on Vimeo.

Our Beginnings

Necessity is the mother of invention. Beth was planning to fly solo with her 7-month-old daughter and couldn’t figure out how to carry everything on and off the plane. Baby carriers were not as widely available as they are today, so she decided to make her own. The trip went smoothly and the mei tei she made was exactly what she needed to keep her hands free and baby close. While out-and-about, people started to notice the practical and stylish design. At first, a few were made for friends, but demand started to grow and Catbird Baby was born. A few years later, Beth and her friend and designer Marion Scott collaborated on a mei tai-inspired buckle carrier. They called it the pikkolo, a German word for a quarter bottle of champagne - something small and special - just like a new baby. Since the pikkolo's debut, they also added the patented toddlerwearing support belt, which transforms the pikkolo or mei tai into a lower-sitting, structured waist carrier, as well as the original winter weather cover for wide/ergonomic carriers.

Our Name

catbird seat: noun
1. an enviable or advantageous position
2. where you and your baby belong
see: pikkolo, mei tai

“In the catbird seat” is an idiom that means in an advantageous or enviable position -- just as your baby is when they are in a carrier. Catbird Baby products put all babies and parents in an advantageous and enviable position by combining an ergonomic fit with unparalleled comfort and style. The term “in the catbird seat” is most often associated with Walter Lanier "Red" Barber, an American sports commentator, and a short story by James Thurber titled "The Catbird Seat" published by The New Yorker in 1942. In the story the expression is defined as “sitting pretty, like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him.”

About Founder and CEO, Beth Warrell Leistensnider

Beth spent several years in the publishing industry as a writer and editor at various organizations including the American Library Association and Encyclopedia Britannica. Her love of literature inspired the company name. Fluent in English and French, she lives with her husband, 2 children, and 3 cats in Chicago, Illinois. Beth is a pioneer in the baby carrier industry and leader in both local and international babywearing circles. In 2010, Beth helped found the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA), a trade organization formed specifically to help promote the babywearing industry. She currently serves as a member of the Executive Board. As the need for educated instructors grew, Beth became one of the first official Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBE) with the Chicagoland Chapter of Babywearing International (BWI) and helped organize the 2nd International Babywearing Conference. To add to her list of expert credentials, Beth took courses in 2013 to become a certified babywearing instructor with the Center for Babywearing Studies. Coursework for the certification included the science of ergonomic babywearing, infant physiology and human anthropology.