Sure breastfeeding is "natural," but that doesn't make it easy. Far from it, in fact. For new moms and babies alike, getting the hang of it all can be incredibly challenging. One thing that can make the whole process easier? A nursing pillow.
Why do you need a nursing pillow?
Most importantly, it makes you both more comfortable for longer. And in those early days, it can feel as though you're nursing more often than not, so comfort is key. Nursing pillows also support the entire weight of your baby, propping them right up against your breast without straining your arms, back or neck. (They might be tiny, but boy do they get heavy quick!)
When do you need a nursing pillow?
Of course, it's most important in the early days when you're likely breastfeeding around the clock. As you figure out which holds and positions work best for you both, your needs may change. And once they're able to have more control over their body at about four to six months, you might find you don't need one at all. However, nursing pillows come in handy for a variety of situations like tummy time practice or providing a safe space to prop them up to look around.
What should you look for in a nursing pillow?
Depending on your needs, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, the shape. Nursing pillows come in a wide variety including crescents, U-shapes and even fully wraparound designs, which all work fabulously for different reasons. We've included a range so you can more easily find one that suits your preference. Additionally, consider your own postpartum needs. If you're recovering from a c-section, look for pillows that make it easy to avoid your incision. We also only included pillows that have easy to remove and washable covers (or can be washed as is) because no one has time for spot cleaning such things.
Check out our favorite nursing pillows for breastfeeding moms below!
Boppy is to nursing pillows as Band-Aids are to bandages. The OG nursing pillow is the go-to for many reasons. For one, the versatile design comes in handy for far more than breastfeeding. It easily serves as a lounger, tummy time prop, or added security once they start to practice sitting up unaided. What's more, there are countless cover options that fit any aesthetic and can easily be washed and swapped.
Motherly's Content Director (and mama of twins), Conz Preti says this is the one thing every twin parent needs, hands down. Created by a mom who couldn't find a pillow that would allow her to feed both babies at once, it became an instant hit after a successful Shark Tank pitch. The middle section can be folded upward to support your back while the waist clip brings the pillow together in the front, making it easy for football and cradle hold feedings. Or, if you're just looking for a place to prop them up or bottle feed, they can comfortably nest side-by-side. The only drawback? Some reviewers note its above-average size makes it a tricky one to use in a glider. It's best to use in bed or on a couch, (but you're probably used to needing all the space these days, right mama?)
In researching this article, My Brest Friend's original nursing pillow came up many times as a favorite among Team Motherly staffers. Firmer than other nursing pillows, the wraparound design provides the much needed back support moms love while also making it easy to keep baby from sliding around or slipping in between your belly and the pillow. A super-convenient side pocket makes it easy to keep burp cloths, a water bottle or even your phone close at hand.
If you're looking for support without the bulk, the Lansinoh Nursie is a sleek and clever alternative to your standard lap-centered nursing pillow. Unlike the traditional set up where you inevitably lean over to bring breast to baby, this cuff-style pillow slips over your arm and allows you to naturally lift them into position. Not only is it super portable and great for travel, it's also ideal for c-section mamas since it avoids pressing into your belly.
The uniquely-constructed adjustable nursing pillow from Infantino is a favorite among moms who are on the taller side or have a long torso. Its three flap design allows it to be used at multiple heights, flipping them back and forth to find the perfect position. It also is one of the few pillows that can accommodate elevating baby's head making it a great option for little ones who struggle with acid reflux.
Any mama who has ever traveled with a baby knows the struggle of bringing all. the. things. And while you might be able to do without bringing along a bouncer, activity center, and your nursery glider, there are some bulky items that you just can't leave behind—like a nursing pillow. Consider My Brest Friend's inflatable travel pillow the weekend warrior you need for breastfeeding away from home. Uninflated, the lightweight design packs flat into luggage or diaper bags and when you're ready to use, it blows up easily and takes on the same classic wrap-around shape as the original My Brest Friend.
Blessed Nest's crescent-shaped nursing pillow is made of 100% organic cotton canvas, and filled with organic buckwheat hulls which makes it the nursing pillow that's most capable of conforming to your body. Unlike foam or cotton batting, the insides act more like a beanbag so you can easily shift into a comfortable position. And since it doesn't wrap around your waist, it's a fantastic design for moms who have had a c-section.
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