How to Choose a Nursing Pillow
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.
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.
Important Things to Consider
Choosing the perfect 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:
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 travelling 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
My Brest Friend is designed with a flat cushion to hold up your baby and includes clips that fasten around mom’s back. Moms who have had Cesarean births love the firm support without having to put extra pressure on their recovering abdomen as they switch sides while nursing. My Brest Friend also features a storage pocket for easily accessible nursing accessories like nipple creams or water bottles. My Brest Friend is twin friendly, affordable, and can provide some much-needed arm and back support during those long hours of cluster feeding.
Best Nursing Pillow for Tandem Nursing
The Twin Z is definitely a pricier option for a nursing pillow, but moms of twins sing praises of its ability to support their arms during tandem feeding. The Twin Z is larger than other nursing pillow options, but has built-in back support for the parent to help prevent hunching over as they feed two babies at once. The Twin Z can also be used as a pregnancy pillow for those hard-to-sleep nights before delivery.
Best Budget-Friendly Nursing Pillow
The Boppy is a popular choice among moms-to-be. With its lightweight design and stylish machine-washable slipcovers, the Original Boppy is travel-friendly and easy to clean. The Boppy transitions with babies as they grow out of the need for a nursing pillow, offering a soft place to be propped up and to practice tummy time. Its affordable price point makes the Boppy a great place to start if you aren’t looking for any specific features in a nursing pillow.
Best Luxury Nursing Pillow
The Nook Sleep Niche was designed to support both bottle and breastfeeding for eco-conscious parents. The pillow is made from organic kapok and the covers are curated from organic cotton and eucalyptus fabric. Its high-end materials make this pillow allergy and asthma-friendly. Plus, the covers for this pillow come in bright, gorgeous colors. The Nook Sleep Niche is so soft that all parents will want to use it, too (and they can- it’s pregnancy friendly!).
Best Eco-Friendly Nursing Pillow Pick
Parents who are looking for an eco-friendly nursing pillow need to look no further than the Blessed Nest Nesting Pillow. Instead of foam, the Nesting Pillow uses buckwheat hulls that conform to baby’s shape to keep them in place during nursing sessions. The washable covers for the Nesting Pillow are made from 100% organic cotton. Since it can be used as a pregnancy pillow and a tummy time supporter, the Nesting Pillow is a great investment for eco-conscious parents seeking a multi-use nursing pillow.
Best Versatile Nursing Pillow
The Leachco stands out by featuring an “Adjustable Booster Pillow,” which is a detachable pillow that sits atop a parent’s arm to help prop up an infant during feedings. The detachable pillow can be removed from the larger nursing pillow for nursing support on-the-go. The Leachco isn’t machine- washable, but offers a more affordable price point for a versatile pillow.
Best Travel Nursing Pillow Pick
Featuring a wedge design rather than a wrap-around pillow, the Feeding Friend Self-Inflating Wedge Pillow is a relief for anyone’s arms during feeding time. The self-inflating design enables the pillow to be decompressed and rolled up, easily fitting into any mom’s diaper bag. Moms love the Feeding Friend’s removable, machine-washable cover and its compact design created with travelling parents in mind.
Best Nursing Pillow for Close Cuddling
For parents seeking a firmer pillow that won’t lose its shape, the Ergobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow offers solid support that mothers love. The Natural Curve Nursing pillow is ideal for keeping your baby close without them slipping down the pillow. It also features a handle for easy carrying and can be used for tummy time when your baby grows big enough.
Best Nursing Pillow for Back Support
The Luna Lullaby Bosom Baby Nursing Pillow supports nursing positions with a V-shaped design. Moms love how this pillow is bigger than others on the market, making it easier to fit around their midsection and hold back support that sleeker nursing pillows like the Boppy. The Bosom Baby Nursing Pillow design has no closures or hooks that can irritate a baby’s skin or get caught on a parent’s clothes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I 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.
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.
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