Say “hello” to Chicago’s newest children’s boutique. Better yet, give it a big smile and friendly “coo.” Catbird Baby has opened in Lincoln Square. The local designer of high quality carriers now has a showroom of its own. Its mission? Helping you keep your little bundle safe and secure — while looking stylish, in the process.


Why You’ll Love It
Owner Beth Leistensnider is a certified babywearing expert and started Catbird Baby more than 10 years ago. Up until now, you could buy the line of carriers online and at select retailers — but this is the first shop that’s all her own. It’s a small, welcoming space, with room for fittings and consultations, plus a window-side display of all of the products. With two styles of Catbird Baby carriers up for grabs, plus a curated selection of slings and wraps from other makers, it’s a much different experience than browsing a big-box store: You know everything has been tested and loved, and the designer herself is on hand to walk you through the process.

Carriers and slings come in an array of colors and patterns, and are meant to touch, feel and try on. Because of the personal attention Beth gives each client, store hours are currently by appointment only. It’s not just newly minted parents that can benefit from a visit here; the carriers fit toddlers, too. So if you want to switch to something new in babywearing — for example, an Asian-inspired wrap-and-tie carrier that you can wear in front or back — this is the place to do it.


The Personal Touch
Moms should get fitted for baby carriers, just as they should get fitted for bras, says Beth. A little cinch here or adjustment there could save your back and make the load seem ever-so lightweight. With this in mind, Beth spends about an hour doing consultations to help shoppers find their ideal carrier. It starts with discussing a mom’s lifestyle — will she be using the carrier on the go all day, just here and there, or mostly for bonding? What are her style preferences? Once Beth understands a shopper’s needs, she directs them to styles they might like and teaches them how to adjust it to their body type. In addition to the Catbird Baby carriers (the Pikkolo buckle carrier and Mei Tai wrap-and-tie), there are wraps by Babylonia and slings from Sakura Bloom.


Other Goodies on Hand
While you’re there, check out other finds like teethers, rattles and toys. There are gift items, too, including stylish breastfeeding scarves from Itzy Ritzy, Baby Legs legwarmers and Chewbeads necklaces. You can also trick out your carrier with all-fleece winter-weather covers. Or, pick up a carry-all tote in one of the same fun patterns as the carriers (these make great schoolbags for older kids).


It’s always great to see an independent designer open up her own shop — and this one doesn’t disappoint. Welcome, Catbird Baby!

Catbird Baby
4822 N. Damen Ave.
Lincoln Square
Hours by appointment only; call or email

Are you into babywearing? Let us know in the Comments below!

— Kelly Aiglon