Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ear Pillows

About a year ago now Kaitlyn started having continuous problems with breakdown on both ears from having to constantly lay on them. Even off-loading by rolling her from side to side didn't work. We would get raw skin that would lead to infections even though we kept the skin as clean and dry as humanly possible! At one point our infections were so bad we had to see plastic surgery as we thought that the infection might be in the cartilage of the ear!!

When our pediatrician told us how serious the infection could be if it were in the cartilage of the ear we knew we had to find a way to get Kaitlyn's ears up off of the surface she was laying on! I thought that if Kaitlyn were to lay on a pillow with a hole in the center then she could still be sidelying while having her ear completely suspended (zero pressure)! (Sidelying for a child with SMA type 1 is essential as they cannot swallow. It allows them to pool secretions in their cheek and even spit out secretions so that they do not aspirate.)

I like to use flannel fabrics when making my pillows. I find flannel absorbs moisture quickly and washes really well. The flannel is also soft and I find it irritates Kaitlyn's skin less. I started with a circle of fabric slightly larger than Kaitlyn's head. For us at that time a dinner plate worked great as a template for marking my fabric. Any circle shape the right size will work to make a pattern for cutting out your fabric. When cutting out my circle I always fold my fabric in half with the right side in. This way I cut out both sides of the pillow at the same time. I then take these two circles with the right side still in, and I sew around the outside with a sewing machine.

I then fold the circle shape in half and cut out a small semi-circle in the middle. The hole in the center of the pillow does not need to be any larger than your child's ear! The smaller the hole the easier it will be to position your child on the pillow when it is finished. I always find that if I cut out the hole to fit Kaitlyn's ear then the finished product will be slightly larger than her ear.

I then turn the fabric right side out and begin sewing up the ear hole. For Kaitlyn's pillows I like to turn the fabric in and sew a nice smooth edge (seamless). This way there is no edging to rub against her ears. Once I have the hole about two-thirds closed I then stuff the pillow with a hypoallergenic polyfoam stuffing. I like to use a proper pillow stuffing as it holds it's shape quite nicely through continuous washings! Once the pillow is stuffed full I sew up the rest of the ear hole. I stuff my pillows full but not too firm!
I have had several families ask me recently how I make Kaitlyn's ear pillows so I thought that I should just post how I make them :) I hope this helps any families interested in making their own pillows! I know for us Kaitlyn is on an ear pillow 24/7 now!!

1 comment:

Snowbrush said...

Ear pillows--how clever.

I got here by hitting the "next blog" button. I am at a loss about how to respond to your blog, but a response is certainly warranted. All that comes to mind is that I respect you deeply. I don't know if you are aware of how courageous you must appear to others, but I see it, and I am blessed by it.