The Boppy tends to be a staple on most new parents registry. It’s generally promoted to support with feeding. What you may not have realized is that it’s good for so much more than that! In fact, when I registered I thought I would use the My Breast Friend for feeding (which I had as a hand me down) but I still registered for the Boppy (not the Boppy Lounger) because I knew that I could use it to support my little one’s motor development.
Here are a few ways you can use it:
- Tummy Time – Tummy time is hard for little ones. And we have given tips for how to make it easier on them (and you). The Boppy is one of our favorites. Why? Because it elevates them slightly so it eliminates some of the challenges of having to work against gravity. Those heads are heavy for them and if you prop them up slightly you are letting them practice in a way that is a little easier. Early on you can just prop them up on it. They may take a little snooze but don’t worry as long as you are supervising. It makes it easier to get face to face with them so that they can engage with you and work on that lifting and turning the head that you will see in the beginning. As they get stronger you can also begin to help them prop up on their forearms. This begins to make it easier for them to not only look around at the world around them, but also to begin reaching and engaging with toys! Here is one of our favorites. As they get even stronger, you can move them slightly forward so that their hands can rest on the ground and it lets them begin to practice pushing up and weight bearing on straight arms which then leads to reaching and weight shift. All these skills are precursors for rolling and crawling!
- On the Back – This is great as a break from tummy time. It doesn’t have them flat on the floor so it also changes the pressure spot on the back of the head (they still need to do tummy time but it’s a way to take a break). This is a great set up under the activity arches with the toys dangling down. This allows them to visually engage but also can make reaching a little bit easier. Because the Boppy is supporting their shoulders, it not only helps them to bring their hands to midline but also gives a little boost for reaching. And, not only does it allow your little one to look around their environment more, it also props them up so they can see you more!
- Sitting – The Boppy can be used in two ways to help sitting and it’s great because it doesn’t hold them still at their hips so they can still learn balance reactions. The first is when they are just learning to sit or they first start to prop sit (around 4 months). You put the Boppy in front of them. This allows them to prop up on it and work on their strength. Without it, they often will ‘fold’ forward and then they have to lift from a flatter position. Here, if they ‘fold’ forward they are resting on the Boppy and only have to move half the distance because they are already slightly elevate. You can also put toys in front of them or have them sit in the activity arches so they can work at reaching for toys. As they get stronger, you can put the Boppy behind them. This gives them just that little extra stability at the hips to let them work on their balance reactions. It also makes it a little easier to reach and play with toys. In both of these positions, if they do lose their balance they have a soft landing! The trial and error of maintaining their balance is important for their over all development and learning how to grade their muscle reactions.
What’s your favorite way to use the Boppy?