You may have seen the idyllic photos of a well-rested mother serenely breastfeeding her swaddled infant, but breastfeeding moms will tell you that the reality of those early breastfeeding days is quite different. You are constantly sweating, your nipples are sore, and you seem to spend more time haggling for a semi-comfortable breastfeeding position than you do actively feeding your new bundle of joy.
Plenty of new moms feel frustration in the early days of breastfeeding, wondering why it is so uncomfortable to feed the way that their bodies were designed to.
That’s where a nursing pillow comes in. If you’ve ever wondered what a nursing pillow is, if you really need a nursing pillow, or how to choose the best nursing pillow, we’ve got the info you need.
In this article:
- Do you really need a nursing pillow?
- How to choose a nursing pillow
- Best nursing pillow for C-section moms: My Brest Friend nursing pillow
- Best budget-friendly nursing pillow: Boppy nursing pillow
- Best luxury nursing pillow: Nook Sleep Niche Organic nursing pillow
- Best organic nursing pillow: Holy Lamb Organics Bo Peep nursing pillow
- Best for different heights: FridaBaby Frida Mom Adjustable nursing pillow
- Best nursing pillow for travel: Feeding Friend Self- Inflating Wedge nursing pillow
- Best for close cuddling: Ergobaby Natural Curve nursing pillow
- Best hands-free option: BBHugMe Nursing Pillow
- Best nursing pillow for tandem nursing: Twin Z nursing pillow
- Best machine-washable nursing pillow: Bebe Au Lait nursing pillow
Do You Really Need a Nursing Pillow?
If you’re considering breastfeeding, a nursing pillow can make a big difference in the comfort level of nursing positions and back support as you feed a tiny infant. It’s not essential for everyone, but it can be a game changer on your breastfeeding journey to support your back and your baby’s latch. It’s also incredibly helpful for the early nursing days, when your baby is small and doesn’t quite fill your lap to reach your breasts for nursing.
So the short answer is, yes, we believe you really do need a nursing pillow. After I breastfed my first baby, I loved my nursing pillow so much I even made sure to bring it in my list of hospital essentials to have my second baby.
How to Choose the Best Nursing Pillow
Nursing pillows are designed to support breastfeeding moms and babies in the first days of nursing and beyond. Offering support for mom’s tired arms and some cushioning around the mother’s midsection, a nursing pillow can assist a new mom as she adjusts her breastfeeding hold and position. They are useful for establishing a comfortable latch and nursing posture, putting both mom and baby at ease through the restless first days and beyond.
Choosing the perfect nursing pillow for you and your baby can seem overwhelming in a crowded market of baby products. Considering your breastfeeding goals, your infant’s needs, and your budget will help you to select a product that will truly benefit your breastfeeding journey. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you narrow down your picks to find the best nursing pillow for you:
In order to decide which features of a breastfeeding pillow will be most useful to you, assess how you will be spending your time after delivering your baby. Are you going to be nursing on-the-go frequently, or staying mostly at home? You may want to consider the shape and weight of the pillow if you’re going to be traveling or carrying it around. Your delivery method matters as well—mothers who have delivered via C-section may need more abdominal support as they breastfeed. You can opt for a sleeker or bulkier nursing pillow option based on your postpartum needs and lifestyle.
For moms or babies with sensitive skin, there are several eco-friendly nursing pillows with organic cotton and hypoallergenic material to explore. The upkeep of the nursing pillow differs as well- some pillows are machine-washable and others have interchangeable covers to make caring for the pillow as hassle-free as possible.
Nursing moms don’t have to be the only ones to take advantage of the support a nursing pillow offers. Some nursing pillows can also be used with babies who are bottle feeding or taking milk from a syringe, giving moms the option of letting a partner take over a feeding. If you choose to bottle feed your baby, a nursing pillow can come in handy for supporting the baby’s head and neck as well.
Nursing pillows come in shapes and sizes that can fit any family’s needs. If you are a parent of twins, you can buy a “two-seater” nursing pillow to protect your back as you breast or bottle feed both babies. Some pillows double as pregnancy pillows, so parents who plan on having future children may want to look into a nursing pillow to be used in subsequent pregnancies. It’s a good idea to check if there are options for replaceable pillow covers as well- a fresh cover will make it easier to pass on the pillow to any future babies joining your family.
When considering which nursing pillows are within your budget, thinking about your breastfeeding goals and your baby’s needs can help you sort out which details are worth paying for. Most pillows will fall into the $30-$50 range, with more expensive pillows around $100.
Some nursing pillows offer versatile features that your baby can “grow” into, making them more of a long-term investment. For instance, certain pillows will carry a higher price because of their versatility in being used for tummy time or learning to sit up. Others will be made from more premium materials, bringing their price up with their quality. There are plenty of reliable nursing pillows at affordable prices to choose from.
The truth is, the early days of nursing can be hard enough without dealing with unnecessary discomfort. Whatever features you’re looking for—whether it’s tandem feeding support or something that can double as a pregnancy pillow—we’re here to walk you through your nursing pillow options.
Truly Mama’s Best Nursing Pillow Picks
Best Nursing Pillow for C-Section Moms
Best Budget-Friendly Nursing Pillow
Best Luxury Nursing Pillow
The Best Organic Nursing Pillow
Best Adjustable Nursing Pillow
Best Nursing Pillow for Travel
Best for Close Cuddling
Best Hands-Free Nursing Pillow
Best Nursing Pillow for Tandem Nursing
Best Machine-Washable Nursing Pillow
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do nursing pillows last?
Depending on how often you use it, most nursing pillows will last for years. How long you will use it depends on your preference, the size of your baby, and your unique feeding needs.
Is it OK to let my baby sleep on the nursing pillow?
You should never place a baby to sleep on a nursing pillow. For information on safe sleep practices, check with your doctor.
How often should I clean the breastfeeding pillow?
Cleaning needs will vary from pillow to pillow (and baby to baby!). Many pillows are machine-washable, making frequent cleaning simple. Check the label on your pillow for cleaning instructions.
The Ins and Outs of the 3-Day Potty Training Method
Potty training can be tough, but you’ve got this, Mama!…