Just ten or twenty years ago new mothers didn’t have any special products for their newborns. Of course, there were pacifiers or some other basic things, but the variety of products that are available today is amazing: baby bottles of all shapes and sizes, nursing covers, nipple creams, and many more. It is easy to get lost thinking whether you actually need them. There is one thing though that is the most fantastic investment you can make into your new mother-baby experience – a nursing pillow. Investing less than a hundred dollars you will have a product that will serve you for months and even years. It will not only keep your baby comfortable while nursing but will get your milk flowing and will save you from back and shoulder pains.
A nursing pillow isn’t a regular bed pillow, which is usually quite soft, and not the right shape for feeding the baby. The best nursing pillows are quite firm, which is comfortable for positioning the baby. They are generally rounded enough to snuggle against your abs. Believe it or not, a nursing pillow will encourage proper breastfeeding position that will be comfy both for a baby and a mother. You place a pillow on your lap and then place a baby on the pillow. In this way, the baby is elevated enough, and you don’t need to lean forward. And you know, some babies are eager to nurse for hours on end, so the proper position will help you avoid back, arms and neck pains.
Besides, when a baby is placed high enough on the pillow, she can latch your breast correctly and thus establish a good milk supply. It will prevent some common breastfeeding problems such as sore nipples or your baby not getting enough milk.
Who Needs a Nursing Pillow?
You will meet mothers who support using a breastfeeding pillow, as well as those who are against it and had some unpleasant experiences using it. The necessity of using a pillow is individual for every woman, so you need to weigh all pros and cons and make a decision of whether you need one or not. And if at any time during your breastfeeding period you will change your opinion, it is not a problem either!
So, one of the concerns of using a breastfeeding pillow is that the baby will be placed too high on your lap and thus she will not be able to latch properly. This will lead to sore nipples and restless baby. If this is the case with you, then the best way to use a nursing pillow is by propping it behind your back for support. Alternatively, you can use a pillow to support your arm after the baby has latched.
There are also some safety concerns about using a baby feeding pillow. When a mother is exhausted (which is often the case with newborns), she can droop forward unconsciously while feeding and thus suffocate the baby because there isn’t enough space for her to move.
Nevertheless, if your breastfeeding is going well with the pillow, and both you and the baby enjoy it, then there is no need to dump it. As the baby grows, popping a pillow under the baby may put her in a too high position, and this will be uncomfortable for both of you. If your baby starts fussing during feeding times, this might be a sign that the pillow is not helping anymore.
With very young babies, however, a nursing pillow might be one of the most essential items you need to have. Small babies literally spend hours breastfeeding every day and your arms, back and neck will be sore and in pain, if you are not in a proper sitting position. A feeding pillow is virtually a lifesaver in this case. The main thing is that you won’t have to lean forward, and you will be able to sit comfortably throughout the whole process. A baby pillow will make a mom’s life so much easier, especially in this period when your baby is small, and you have so many things to do and adapt to many changes in your life. Anything that can be at least a little help is essential to keep you sane and happy.
And if you are a lucky mother of twins, a breastfeeding pillow might be helpful. If you nurse twins you need to securely strap a twin feeding pillow behind your back because the weight it carries is doubled. A twin nursing pillow must me slightly elevated at edges so both babies would be positioned securely and supported properly. If you had a c-section, then a baby pillow will serve as a protective barrier for your tummy, which is a big plus. Sometimes a nursing pillow turns into a baby pillow when you prop the baby up when she already wants to sit down but can’t quite do it on her own yet. So, even when you stop using the pillow for feeding, it will be useful for the baby.
How to Choose a Nursing Pillow That Will Be the Best for You?
When choosing a breastfeeding pillow, you need to pay attention to several factors, because you will spend hours nursing. In fact, breastfeeding is a lot like a workout, and it requires physical endurance. Therefore, good support is imperative. So, here are a few things you need to consider when choosing a nursing pillow.
The size of a pillow – Some mothers prefer compact pillows that are easy to carry around. Others want their babies to have a wider spot to lie on. And of course, the twin nursing pillow is different from the one that is for a single baby. Consider the fact that your baby will be growing very fast, so a bigger pillow is recommended.
A good fit – It is essential that the pillow will fit you, so if there is a chance you should try different pillows on before purchasing. The pillow needs to fit comfortably around your waist and not move around when the baby is breastfeeding. The baby needs to be positioned at the height of your nipple.
Shape and firmness – A baby needs to have a perfect position for feeding: her neck should be straight, and she needs to face your breast. So, a pillow that is too low or too high is not a good option. Some mothers prefer curved softer pillows and some like firmer flatter ones. This depends on the feeding position that you like and also on your body type. Breastfeeding pillows come in a variety of shapes: crescent, ‘o’ or ‘c’. The ‘c’ shape provides adequate support for both of your arms. ‘O’ – shaped pillows wrap around your entire body. Crescent-shaped pillows wrap around one side, and it is not a good option for smaller women because they tend to curve behind the back of a chair or sofa.
Price – The price factor is always important, especially with a newborn baby, when you have to buy many items that you didn’t need before. The average price of a feeding pillow is $25-50. If you need a pillow for twins, the cost will be around $100. And of course, organic pillows will cost more. The amount of money you are willing to invest will also depend on how long you are planning to breastfeed.
Strap or belt – You need to decide if you want the pillow to be strapped around your waist so you could wear it around the house, or whether you want the pillow to fall off after the feeding without having to unstrap it. There are pillows with a buckle system, with a one-sided latch system or with a Velcro strap.
Washability – Some pillows can be wiped easily, and some come with a removable slipcover that can be washed in a washing machine. You can also buy several slipcovers and interchange them. If both the inside of a pillow and the cover can be cleaned, then this is the best choice. Babies are prone to spills and spit-ups, so you will have to wash the pillow quite often.
Style and design – There are a lot of fabrics that you can choose from: prints, solid colors or two-sided pillows with different patterns on both sides. You can a pick your favorite color or some slipcover that will be color coordinated with the style of your nursery. Also, pay attention to the quality of the cover. Some of them are made of polyester and don’t breathe well, which will make both you and your baby sweaty. Some covers cannot be machine dried because they will shrink. Pay attention to these details when picking a breastfeeding pillow.
Special features – Some pillows have features that might be useful in your situation. For example, there are travel pillows that you can fold and put in a portable bag. There are pillows for twins. Some brands have nursing pillows that also serve as a body pillow during pregnancy. And there are pillows that can double as a support for a baby when she starts learning to sit up.
Types of Fillings for Breastfeeding Pillows
When purchasing a nursing pillow, it is important to pay attention both to what is inside the pillow as well as its outside cover. The filling of the pillow determines its price, durability and how breathable it is. The most popular filling materials are the following:
Polystyrene balls – This is a light, soft material that will make the pillow comfortable to use. The advantage of a pillow filled with polystyrene balls is that it repeats the shape of a baby’s body.
Spelt – This is an organic filling that provides the best breathability. One of the disadvantages though is its high maintenance cost. And if you or your baby are prone to allergies, it is better not to use such pillows.
Buckwheat husk – This is another natural filling that breathes well and adapts to a baby’s body. However, it cannot be washed; you can only shake it out or vacuum. Besides, the buckwheat filling makes noise that might scare very small babies.
EPS-beads – This is an excellent filler for nursing pillows. It is anti-allergic, hygienic, durable and doesn’t cost much. It is very light and transports both moisture and heat. The beads equally distribute within the pillow and provide excellent support.
Hollofayber – This is an efficient, inexpensive material that is also environmentally friendly. The disadvantage is that it loses its form quickly, so if you prefer this material, you would have to buy several pillows.
Sintepon – This is a cheap material, which is its advantage. However, it compresses and springs and thus will not allow you to relax completely. A nursing pillow cover can be made from organic cotton or synthetic polyester. Cotton is probably the best material choice as far as the combination of price and quality goes.
How to Use a Nursing Pillow?
The answer might seem obvious: of course, you use nursing pillows for nursing! However, this is not the only way you can use them!
For breastfeeding – Of course, this is what a nursing pillow is for! You will feed your baby using the pillow for support and proper placement of a baby’s head. Usually, you put the pillow around your waist and place the baby on the pillow, her head facing your nipple.
For a baby’s development – When a baby is lying on her tummy with her chest on the pillow, it will help strengthen her back muscles. Later on, when your baby starts to learn sitting up a breastfeeding pillow will become very handy. You can prop it behind her back for support.
For a baby’s games – Different fillers contribute to the development sensations. Bright and colorful fabric colors also stimulate a baby’s development.
Best Nursing Pillows
Now that you know all the information about the types of breastfeeding pillows, their styles, and features, you need to choose a pillow that will be ideal for you and your baby and will provide the best breastfeeding experience. Here is a review of the best nursing pillows on the market.
This is the best classic breastfeeding pillow. The company started producing its pillows way back in the 1990s. The Bobby pillow is a c-shape that wraps around a mother’s waist and provides ideal support for a baby. A Boppy pillow offers a close fit, which is very comfortable for a mother. Bobby also has a whole range of slipcovers that you can change for variety’s sake. The slipcovers are all machine washable. Bobby presents classic and luxe versions of its pillows. A Boppy nursing pillow works fine for average size women, but it might be a bit problematic if you are bigger, because it is too tight around your waist. A Boppy pillow can also be used for sitting when a baby is older.
This is the best wrap-around nursing pillow. It secures to a mother’s body providing both back support and armrest, and allows a baby to latch properly. The strap is adjustable, and you can walk around with the pillow if you want to. There is also a pocket on the side where you can hold your phone or a burp cloth, or a bottle of water. This pillow is recommended by lactation consultants because it is attached securely to your body. My Brest Friend pillow has a firm cotton surface. This pillow, however, will probably not be suitable for older bigger babies. Besides, it does take some time to strap the pillow to your body, and it is not very convenient at night or when your baby is crying.
This is a very nice firm pillow filled with polyester. Its unique shape allows for a baby’s tummy-to-tummy position with is very comfortable for breastfeeding. Because a baby’s head rests above her tummy, this helps digestion. A baby is placed at a comfortable height and will prevent having backaches for a mother. This pillow also has a nice handle that makes it easy to pick up and carry around. The slipcover is machine washable.
This pillow is considered to be one of the best for older babies. Thanks to its unique thick-to-thin design you can put your baby in various positions for nursing. Gia Nursing Pillow is wide and long, so it will suit both bigger babies and taller moms. The pillow has a cotton cover, which is machine washable, and 100% polyester fill, which you can also wash. The pillow is also suitable for babies who are learning to sit up. One of the disadvantages of this pillow is that you will have to flip it if you want to nurse your baby on the other side, which some moms find not very convenient.
This is the best pillow if you are a happy mother of twins. This pillow is quite big, and it looks like a letter M. The middle section of the pillow acts as back support. There is a buckle in front that helps to secure the pillow. The pillow is big enough to breastfeed two babies simultaneously or one baby at a time. You can use Twin Z pillow for bottle feeding too. The pillow is versatile and can also be used as a support for sitters and for babies’ tummy time. The shell is 100% cotton, and there are about 15 designs available. The inside is polyester. Naturally, the pillow is quite bulky and heavy, because, after all, it is for two babies!
This pillow is perfect for traveling because of its portability. It has a kidney bean shape and is very cute. It is quite small and can even be packed in a diaper bag, and you can travel around with it easily. The Little Beam pillows come in various colors of slipcover fabrics. The shell is 100% cotton.
This pillow provides a perfect balance between being supportive and soft. It has ultra-plush cover and a versatile L-shape. The surface of the pillow is quite wide and allows for more positions while breastfeeding. You can also use this pillow for a baby’s lounging and tummy time. The pillow is 100% polyester, and the cover can be removed and washed. If you have twins but don’t have a special pillow for twins’ feeding, then you can easily use this one because of its size.
The Nesting Pillow is filled with buckwheat hulls and has a crescent shape. The surface of the pillow is flat and strong. It is moldable and easily adapts to a mommy and baby’s nursing position. The pillow can be folded to nurse smaller babies and flattened out for the older bigger babies. If you love everything organic, this pillow will be ideal. It is completely non-allergic: the buckwheat hulls are pesticide-free, and the cover is made of organic cotton. You can wash the slipcover, but not the pillow itself. The Nesting pillow can be aired out. Among the disadvantages of this pillow are the price (not too cheap) and heaviness (about 5.5 pounds)
#9 Babymoov Mom &Baby – Versatile Ultra Soft Pillow for the Whole Family
If you are still pregnant, you might consider getting a Babymoov Multiuse Ergonomic Maternity Pillow. During pregnancy time it will be of a great aid supporting your neck, feet, and back. When your baby arrives, you can use it as a nursing pillow and position it underneath a baby while breastfeeding. The pillow is filled with microbeads, and the cover is 100% cotton. The pillow is quite portable, and you can easily travel with it. While nursing you can adjust it to different positions – whatever will feel more comfortable. You can also purchase additional covers of different colors. For non-expensive price you can get a pillow that will be your help both during your pregnancy and breastfeeding time.
#10 Leachco Cuddle-U Nursing Pillow and More
This is another great pillow with a strap that securely fastens the baby to the pillow while nursing. There is also a pocket where you can keep small things, like a pacifier. When you use the pillow for sitting up a baby, there is a seat wrap that will prevent a baby from sliding. A reclined position helps digestion and reduces reflux. The Cuddle-U pillow is big, and you can adjust a baby to a comfortable nursing position. One of the disadvantages is the absence of removable slipcover.
This is a very good option for traveling or if you need to keep another pillow in grandma’s house, for example. The design of the pillow is the same as the original Brest Friend pillow, but it can be inflated and deflated. The price is also lower than for most other regular nursing pillows.
This pillow has three adjustable elevation levels that will help you achieve the best nursing position for your baby. With this pillow, you can feed your baby in a football hold (if you recover from C-section) or cross-cradle position. The curve of the pillow is wide and makes it possible to use by moms with various body types. As a baby becomes older and bigger, you can change the height of your pillow to adjust to her size. This pillow also supports upright nursing which is perfect for babies with gerd or acid reflux.