Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Word About the Boppy (and other such feeding pillows)

We happen to have the Boppy brand pillows and have been happy with them, but I see no reason that any other similar brand wouldn't work just as well.  If you are or have been pregnant, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  If you have yet to enter the world of pregnancy, or are just filling out your first registry, you may be as clueless as I was.  Boppy is a brand name of pillows, but when people talk about a 'Boppy,' they are referring to these funny horseshoe shaped pillows.  The idea is you wrap the open end around you and rest your baby on the pillow for easier feeding.

I know positively nobody who actually uses the Boppy in this way.  I will say, however, that it is an indispensable item for those of us with twins. 

When the boys were tiny, I tried to use the Boppy as suggested, and didn't see the appeal.  I also tried out a suggestion from another mother of multiples.  placed the pillow beside me on the sofa and used it to safely and snuggly contain a little one while the other ate.  No go.  Completely unimpressed with the thing, I put both of them in the nursery closet along with my abandoned breast pump, bottles that didn't work out, and diapers that weren't cutting the mustard. 

Cut to three months later.  The boys are doing well on their tummies and are trying to hold their heads up.  I bring out a Boppy pillow.  The pillow propped up my boys' shoulders when they were placed face down on it.  The horseshoe part kept them stable and they were able to practice lifting their heads and looking around.  As they became adept at this, the pillows became unnecessary and were once again exiled to the closet of unused baby items. 

Cut to another month and a half later.  The boys are working on sitting up on their own.  They hold their heads up no problem and are learning to scoot around, preparing to crawl.  This is also the time my husband goes back to work and I must feed both boys solo on a daily basis.  Feeding one after the other becomes time prohibitive.  I can feed them in their stroller, but our nice double stroller starts to become gross with food bits that are difficult to clean off.  I pull out the horseshoe pillows.  By sitting on the ground in front of the pillows, with each boy propped in one like it's a little recliner, I am able to hold a bottle in each one's mouth.  Although not as emotionally satisfying as holding a guy in my arms, this actually allows them more arm freedom to explore holding their own bottles.  I can also feed them cereal and mashed veggies in this position, and the pillow cover can be removed and washed as needed. 

I now use the pillows constantly.  The boys can sit up, but topple sideways.  Sitting them up in one of these pillows allows them to work on strengthening their cores while their hands are free to practice picking up toys.  Placing toys on top of the pillow and setting it a few paces away from the boys forces them to learn not only to scoot forward, but also to reach up to grab the toy.  If you can get them interested in a toy on the other side of the Boppy, they will scoot over the top of the pillow in a pose that is remarkably like crawling. 

My point, if you are still with me, is that you may not use these pillows as prescribed, but they are so incredibly useful for parents of twins.  You have two kids and two hands, but that is not really an equal ratio.  Get yourself a couple of these pillows, and a mound of covers.  (All of mine are constantly orange from carrot stains.)  Use them creatively and they can be a cherished friend.

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