Many women use Boppy pillows for breastfeeding, and in fact, a lot of hospitals provide them for use after birth to help women make a smoother transition to breastfeeding their infants.
However, many people don’t know that there are so many other uses for Boppy pillows besides just breastfeeding.
Boppy pillows are C-shaped and come in handy for a variety of different uses as kids (and parents, respectively) grow and learn.
While you should always make sure you use the Boppy correctly, you can use it for a hands-free approach to supporting and helping your little one while you need both hands for something else.
What is a Boppy Pillow?
Boppy pillows, or a ‘Boppy’ as it is affectionately referred to in motherhood circles, is a popular C-shaped nursing pillow.
It is one brand of many on the market today, and its design allows for wrapping around a mother’s belly to provide support while nursing.
Covers are available for Boppy pillows in many different colors and designs, so you can change them frequently when they get dirty.
You can also buy waterproof covers, which aren’t as soft but are fantastic for infants who spit up, have diaper leaks, drool, and a whole mess of other stuff infants do as well.
Do You Need a Boppy Pillow?
Whether you need a Boppy pillow or not is entirely up to you, but you should have a good idea of their wide range of uses before making the decision.
Many women start out thinking it will be a great friend while nursing and find that they transition to another use entirely as their baby grows.
Proper posture is hard to maintain while breastfeeding, and it can take a toll on your neck, shoulders, and back.
It’s easy to be lazy when you’re exhausted from midnight feedings and from holding an infant all day. Having a Boppy pillow to support your baby and lift him up higher to your chest can help a lot with your comfort as well as your nursing baby’s comfort.
However, your Boppy grows in uses as your baby grows in size. They become genuinely multi-functional tools for almost every aspect of parenting, including:
- Tummy time
- Supported sitting
- Pregnancy and postpartum support during sleep for mom
- Bottle feeding
- Butt pillow
- Sibling support
- Propped playing
- Labor and delivery pillow
- Congestion relief aid
- After bath
- Holding toys
- Neck pillow
- Knee support
- Provide elevation for injuries
- For pets
- Hemorrhoid pillow
- Travel pillow
Are Boppy Pillows Safe To Use?
A Boppy pillow is safe if used properly.
You should never leave a baby unsupervised in a Boppy pillow, and you should never let your baby sleep in it.
Babies may look comfortable and cute all curled up in a Boppy, but it isn’t safe for them to be using it that way.
Leaving a baby alone with a Boppy or letting them sleep in one poses a suffocation risk.
Boppy Pillow Uses
Let’s take a look at the many things you can do with a Boppy pillow to help both you and your baby.
1) Nursing support
Make sure you sit in a comfortable chair with plenty of back support. Put the Boppy on your lap and wrap it around your waist. Rest your baby on his side on top of the Boppy, facing you. Your baby’s mouth should be in line with your breast.
If you still need to raise their head more, cradle it and their torso in your arm.
Don’t lower your torso to your baby or it will cause pain in your back, shoulders, and neck. Use your arms or additional pillows to bring their mouth close to your breast instead of the other way around.
Using a Boppy pillow in conjunction with a football hold makes it easier for you and provides support for your arm as well.
Not only does a Boppy help you maintain proper posture, but it can also help you keep a baby away from uncomfortable c-section incisions.
2) Bottle Feeding
While a Boppy pillow is a useful tool to aid in bottle feeding, you should never use it to prop up your baby or the bottle so that they can feed themselves.
If they can’t sit or hold a bottle by themselves, they’re not ready to feed themselves and could choke.
Position the Boppy the same way you did for nursing, and place your baby on top of the Boppy on his back. Hold your baby’s head in your arm and rest your arm on the Boppy. Hold the bottle for your baby with the other hand.
Using the Boppy to assist with bottle feeding allows you to maintain good posture and gives your arm additional support, allowing you to rest rather than exert your already tired muscles.
In addition, while holding your baby is always the best way to feed, on the rare occasion you may need to feed one-handed, the Boppy can help temporarily.
Remember, you still need to make sure you are present and supervising, so your baby doesn’t choke.
3) Tummy Time
Boppy pillows allow your baby to see the world from a totally different view. He can’t yet hold his head up enough to see anything, and he may not like tummy time yet for that very reason.
Propping your baby up on a Boppy pillow lets them strengthen their arms, neck, and back while keeping them safe under your supervision.
Spread out a blanket on the floor and place the Boppy pillow on top of it. Put your baby in the middle of the C and prop their arms and shoulders up on top. This position helps your baby hold their head up temporarily, even if he can’t do it himself yet.
Put toys on the floor in front of the Boppy to grab your baby’s attention and let him play until he starts to act tired. Your baby may last anywhere from five to twenty minutes in this position depending on his strength, age, or development. If he is unable to hold his head up anymore, let him rest and try again later.
Always supervise your baby in this position. While it’s safe to allow him to get some exercise this way, always make sure his face is up away from the pillow.
Make sure you can see him at all times and remove him if he can no longer hold his head up or reposition him if his face gets buried in the pillow.
4) Supported Sitting
While your baby is attempting to sit up on his own but cannot yet do it without falling over, a Boppy is a great way to help them stay propped up.
Once they can sit on their own, you no longer need the Boppy, but it’s still a great way to give them some extra cushion on a hard floor in case they get tired.
Leave the Boppy pillow on the floor. Never use it as a sitting aid on a couch or chair in the event your baby falls off. Place your baby in the middle of the C in a sitting position so that their back is to the curve and their legs are toward the opening. Squeeze the ends of the pillow around your baby to provide additional support.
As your baby gets better at sitting on his own, you don’t have to tighten the Boppy as much.
Always supervise your baby in this position to make sure they fall and hurt themselves. If he falls over, reposition him and keep in mind that babies don’t have enough strength to move themselves, so you need to help if they wind up in a position that doesn’t allow them to breathe well.
Another way to achieve supported sitting with a Boppy is to place the curve of the C around their tummy and drape their arms over the front.
Make sure you position a lot of pillows around their back as well in case they fall.
Positioning them this way helps exercise a new range of muscles and can develop lateral strength.
5) Pregnancy And Postpartum Sleeping
Many pregnant women and postpartum moms need extra comfort while sleeping. The C shape is the perfect place to rest a pregnant belly and give extra support while side sleeping.
Pregnant women also experience hip pain as they near their delivery date and may need extra cushioning while sleeping.
Placing the Boppy pillow between your legs can help take the pressure off of your hips and allow them to rest comfortably in a position that allows them to relax as they prepare for delivery.
Your body also produces a hormone called relaxin toward the end of pregnancy that causes stretching in these areas and creates more discomfort.
Using a Boppy pillow during recovery also helps with extra hip or abdominal support. This is a time when new moms are sore and tired and need something soft to help them feel more comfortable.
6) Butt Pillow
Let’s face it. After delivering a baby, you will be sore.
After a vaginal birth, a Boppy pillow provides some cushion for the soreness you feel when sitting down.
Many chairs aren’t comfortable after having a baby. They lack support and can feel even harder than they are.
Experiment with your Boppy pillow to find the most comfortable sitting position.
You may find that it’s more comfortable to place the curve of the C behind your hips and lean back on it, or you may find that sitting down and draping your knees over the curvature of the C helps relieve some of the pressure of sitting down.
Many pregnant women also have problems with hemorrhoids. While they aren’t comfortable, they typically go away after delivery.
In the meantime, use a Boppy pillow at your desk chair to take some of the pressure off and make sitting more comfortable.
7) Snuggling With Baby
You want to snuggle with your new baby as much as you can, but sometimes managing even that small amount of weight is uncomfortable for long periods of time.
You will be tired and sore, and a Boppy pillow is a comfortable way to support both your arms and your baby as you bond.
Use the Boppy to support both your elbow and your baby’s butt so you can stay close to one another without having to hold as much weight.
It will keep you both comfy and cozy, and you may even find that you both enjoy spending nap time this way.
8) Sibling Support
New babies are exciting for everyone, including big brothers and sisters.
Little arms can’t hold as much weight, and new babies can be wiggly.
With your help, older siblings can help their new baby safely and securely while being able to look at the baby, too.
9) Laying Down
You baby is absorbing all of the new sights and sounds of life and may enjoy being propped up a little bit so he can see more.
Put their bottom in the hole of the C and prop their head and shoulders up on the curve.
Wrap the C around them as tightly as you can so they have enough support and remain close unless they slip or wiggle away.
Babies are curious, but they don’t have enough coordination to hang onto toys or lift their heads up.
Use a Boppy pillow to prop them up on their backs like before, and then place a toy bar or toy gym above their heads so they can have a closer look and reach the things they can see.
11) Acid Reflux Relief
Many babies suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is commonly known as acid reflux.
Their tiny tummies don’t work the same way as adults, which is why they often spit up as they learn to digest their food.
Acid reflux is very painful, and we often equate it to heartburn or other gas buildups in our adult bodies.
Propping a baby up helps keep food down so that they experience less pain and symptoms of the disease.
Using a Boppy pillow in the ways previously described to prop their head and shoulders up in an inclined position can help them get some relief.
12) Congestion Relief
In much the same way, propping a baby up on a Boppy pillow can help aid in congestion relief by encouraging drainage.
If your baby has a cold, prop them up supervised as much as they will tolerate to give them some relief.
13) Labor And Delivery Pillow
Break open the packaging of your Boppy pillow before baby arrives and use it in the delivery room to make yourself more comfortable.
Full disclosure: the pillows that the hospital provides will not cut it. You can always ask for more, but a Boppy is a great way to make yourself a little bit more comfortable during this painful time.
Boppy pillows have a lot of cushion, and they are great tools for squeezing through contractions.
You can also use it to elevate your legs or support your back if you have back labor or uncomfortable baby placement.
14) After Bath
Use a Boppy after bath time, especially if you’re bathing your baby alone.
It can help you dry them off on a safe and comfortable surface.
Drape a towel on the Boppy before the bath, so it’s ready when you’re done.
After bath time, place your baby on top of the Boppy to continue drying or as a safe place while you get a diaper, pajamas, or other bedtime supplies.
15) Toddler Toys
As your baby outgrows using the Boppy for nursing, laying, or sitting, you can use the Boppy to hold other things.
If your toddler likes Sesame Street or other kid-friendly shows, use the Boppy to prop up a tablet on the floor so they can watch and play, even in rooms without a TV.
16) Elevating Injuries
As your child learns to walk, run, and jump, you’ll be playing Dr. Mom in no time.
Use a Boppy to prop up swollen feet or ankles, from tripping, falling, or running into things.
You can even use it as a temporary place to host an injured finger or toe while you clean it and apply medicine or a bandage.
17) Neck Pillow
Boppy pillows make great neck pillows.
Whether you’re sleeping on the couch or taking a long car ride, bring your Boppy along for additional comfort.
You can switch out the cover for something more neutral and transition your Boppy to a family use item when you no longer need it for baby.
While you shouldn’t let your infant and your pets share a Boppy, you can give it to your pets after your child has reached preschool age.
Let your pets enjoy the action by letting them lay on it.
Use it as a travel bed for your pets, or place it in their crate for a comfortable place to relax.
19) Knee Support
Use your Boppy to support your knees every time you kneel down to change a diaper, give a bath, or play on the floor.
Place it under your knees anywhere in the house, so you don’t end up with all of the aches and pains of kneeling to help your children.
If you have enough spare covers and don’t mind switching them out often, you can even use the Boppy to weed the garden or plant flowers.
This is a great time to introduce those waterproof covers we were talking about earlier.
20) Travel Chair
Anything you can use the Boppy at home for, you can use on the road, too.
It’s a convenient thing to have with you on family picnics, at soccer games, and as a feeding pillow almost anywhere.
For moms who want to remain active with their babies after giving birth, but hate traveling with all of the equipment, a Boppy can replace a bulky travel high chair, bouncy chair, or crib.
Because a Boppy pillow fits perfectly at the bottom of most strollers, it’s perfect.
Unsafe Boppy Pillow Practices
As previously mentioned, don’t use a Boppy pillow in your baby’s crib. It is not safe for sleeping.
While you may use it for the occasional nap, these sessions should always be supervised by you in case your baby slips or wiggles into a position where they can’t breathe.
Infant sleeping should always be unobstructed by loose clothing, blankets, and toys.
Never leave your baby alone in the Boppy, even if they’re not sleeping. While using the Boppy with an infant, always make sure you can see them. If they fall, get their face stuck or wind up underneath it, reposition them immediately.
Until your child is old enough and has enough coordination to move away from the Boppy themselves, always watch what they are doing.
Boppy Pillows Aren’t Just For Nursing
While the original intention of the Boppy pillow was for nursing, you can see that it has evolved over the course of thirty years into an essential tool for every aspect of motherhood.
It can help you through pregnancy, delivery, the first few years of motherhood, and beyond.
Pregnant women, nursing mothers, toddlers, and pets will find the Boppy fun for a lot of different things.
Nursing, play time, bath time, traveling, and gardening are just some of the things you may find more comfortable with a Boppy.
Ultimately, the Boppy is an expensive ‘pillow,’ but as you can see, it’s not just a pillow.
You will get your money’s worth using it for anything listed here or come up with your own unique idea!