Are boppy pillows safe for infants to sleep on?

For many new parents, ensuring their baby’s safety is of paramount importance. The plethora of baby products on the market, from cribs to toys, often leaves parents wondering which items are safe and which ones might pose potential risks. One such product that has gained immense popularity in recent years is the Boppy pillow. Lauded for its multi-functional design, many parents use it for nursing, tummy time, and propping. But is it safe for infants to sleep on a Boppy pillow? This guide will delve deep into the topic, offering insights backed by recommendations from experts and safety standards.

Are boppy pillows safe for infants to sleep on? – A guide

  1.   What is a Boppy Pillow?

A Boppy pillow is a crescent-shaped cushion designed primarily to support infants during breastfeeding. Its unique shape allows it to wrap around the mother’s waist, providing a comfortable platform for the baby to rest on during feeding sessions.

  1. Official Recommendations According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), soft bedding can pose a risk of suffocation and increase the potential of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Given that Boppy pillows are soft and not designed as sleep aids, they do not meet the recommended safety criteria for infant sleep.
  2. Potential Risks While the Boppy pillow is a great tool for awake activities, it can be hazardous when used for unsupervised sleep. Some of the risks include:
  • Suffocation: An infant can potentially roll or turn in a way that obstructs their airway when on a Boppy pillow.
  • Neck Injury: There’s a risk that the baby’s neck might be positioned at an awkward angle, leading to potential injury or discomfort.
  1. Safe Sleeping Practices It’s essential to follow the AAP’s guidelines for safe sleep:
  • Lay the baby down on their back for every sleep.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, like a mattress in a safety-approved crib or bassinet.
  • Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of the baby’s sleep area.
  1. Alternatives Uses for Boppy Pillows While not recommended for sleeping, Boppy pillows have various other uses that can benefit both mother and baby:
  • Feeding: The primary design function, which provides support during breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
  • Tummy Time: Under supervision, the pillow can help babies strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Support: As babies grow, the pillow can be a useful prop to help them sit up.

Safety should always come first when it comes to infant care products. While Boppy pillows offer numerous benefits for awake activities, they are not suitable for infant sleep. It’s essential to stay informed and always prioritize your baby’s safety by following recommended guidelines.

What happens if you fail to use boppy pillow in the right way?

Using a Boppy pillow improperly or for unintended purposes, especially with infants, can pose several risks. Here are the potential consequences and dangers associated with incorrect use of a Boppy pillow:

  1. Suffocation: If an infant is left to sleep or rest unattended on a Boppy pillow, there’s a risk of suffocation. Babies have limited motor skills and might not be able to adjust their position if their face becomes pressed against the soft material of the pillow, potentially blocking their airways.
  2. Neck and Spinal Stress: Incorrect positioning on the pillow can cause an infant’s neck to bend at awkward angles. This might put undue stress on the baby’s developing spine and neck, leading to discomfort or potential injury.
  3. Rolling Off: An infant could roll off the pillow and onto a hard surface, which might result in injury.
  4. Tummy Time Issues: If used for tummy time without proper supervision, an infant might face difficulties breathing if they can’t lift their head or turn it to the side effectively.
  5. Developmental Delays: While this isn’t a direct danger, relying too much on props like the Boppy pillow to keep a baby in a sitting position before they’re developmentally ready could potentially delay their natural progression to sitting unassisted.
  6. Choking Hazards: If the pillow has any attachments, decorations, or loose fabric, these could become potential choking hazards for the baby.
  7. Allergic Reactions: Though not directly related to misuse, if a Boppy pillow is not kept clean, it might harbor allergens or irritants that could cause reactions in sensitive babies.

It’s important to remember that while Boppy pillows are helpful tools, they should be used as intended and always under the guidance of the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ensuring that the baby is always supervised when using the pillow, and understanding its intended use, can go a long way in keeping the child safe and comfortable.

Tips for Safe Infant Sleep

Safe infant sleep is crucial to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Here are some essential tips recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other child safety organizations:

  1. Back to Sleep: Always place your baby on their back for every sleep time, including naps and at night.
  2. Use a Firm Sleep Surface: Invest in a firm and flat mattress that fits snugly inside a safety-approved crib or bassinet. Soft surfaces can increase the risk of suffocation.
  3. Room-Sharing without Bed-Sharing: It’s recommended that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for at least the first six months or, ideally, for the first year. However, infants should have their own separate sleep surface, such as a crib or bassinet.
  4. Keep the Sleep Area Clear: Avoid placing toys, soft bedding, pillows, and bumper pads in your baby’s sleep area. These items can increase the risk of suffocation.
  5. Avoid Overheating: Dress your baby in light sleep clothing and avoid blankets. Instead, consider using a wearable blanket or sleep sack. Ensure the room temperature is comfortable for an adult in short sleeves.
  6. Pacifiers Can Help: Offering a pacifier at naptime and bedtime might reduce the risk of SIDS. If you’re breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is well-established (usually around 3-4 weeks) before introducing a pacifier.
  7. No Smoking: Avoid smoking during pregnancy and never allow smoking around your baby.
  8. Regular Prenatal Care: Ensure regular check-ups during pregnancy as it can help reduce the risk of SIDS for your baby.
  9. Vaccinate Your Baby: Following the recommended vaccination schedule can help reduce the risk of SIDS.
  10. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs: Alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth can increase SIDS risk.
  11. Breastfeeding is Beneficial: If possible, breastfeeding your baby can reduce the risk of SIDS.
  12. Avoid Products that Claim to Reduce SIDS: Some items on the market claim to decrease the risk of SIDS, but there’s no evidence that products like wedges, positioners, or specialized mattresses reduce the risk.
  13. Tummy Time: When your baby is awake and someone is watching, tummy time is crucial for development and helps prevent flat spots on the head.
  14. Educate Caregivers: Ensure that everyone taking care of your baby, including grandparents and babysitters, knows and follows these safe sleep practices.

By following these guidelines and being consistent, parents and caregivers can create the safest sleep environment possible for their infants.


What is the primary purpose of a Boppy pillow?

A Boppy pillow is primarily designed to support infants during breastfeeding. Its unique, crescent-shaped design allows it to wrap around the mother’s waist, providing a comfortable platform for the baby to rest on during feeding sessions. They can also be used for tummy time and helping babies sit when they’re older.

 Is it safe to let my baby sleep on a Boppy pillow overnight or during naps?

No, it is not recommended to let infants sleep on Boppy pillows, whether overnight or during naps. The soft, plush design of the pillow poses a risk of suffocation. For safe sleep, always place your baby on their back on a firm and flat surface, free of soft bedding and objects.

Can I use the Boppy pillow for supervised activities other than sleep?

Yes, Boppy pillows are great for supervised activities such as feeding, tummy time, or as support when the baby is learning to sit. However, always ensure you’re monitoring your baby during these activities to ensure safety.


Boppy pillows are incredibly versatile and can be a beneficial tool for parents during various stages of an infant’s growth. However, it’s essential to differentiate between their intended uses and practices that might be unsafe. While perfect for feeding and other supervised activities, Boppy pillows should not be used as a sleep surface for infants. Always prioritize safety by adhering to expert recommendations and guidelines when using any baby product.

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