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When I was younger, I assumed a successful breastfeeding experience required nothing more than boobs and a baby.
And since I had a perfectly acceptable set of arms to cradle my little darling, I never assumed that nursing pillows would be something I should include on my baby registry must-haves list. I just figured I’d hold the baby while I fed them and call it a day.
You probably already guessed that I was pretty wrong, and if you’re looking for extra breastfeeding support, there are lots of great items to help you on your journey.
From breast pumps to nursing pajamas, product developers have created an ever-evolving collection of items to streamline breastfeeding and make it easier for you and baby. Nursing support pillows are a significant part of the puzzle.
But what’s the difference between a breastfeeding pillow and a regular pillow? Is a nursing pillow something you need, or is it just a marketing ploy to get us to spend extra money on baby gear?
It’s purely a personal preference; however, many seasoned mamas will tell you how much they love having the right supportive pillows while feeding their little ones.
Are you considering buying a nursing pillow or adding one to your baby registry? We’re here to help!
Read on to learn all about the benefits of nursing pillows and the best options on the market. Whether you want something affordable, versatile, or luxurious, you’ll find all the answers to pick the right product for you and your baby.
Do You Have to Put a Nursing Pillow on Your Baby Registry Checklist?
Sure, you can easily leave purchasing a breastfeeding support pillow off your pre-baby checklist if you want to. After all, if you’re bottle feeding your baby, you might not need one, and you can always utilize the arm of the couch for extra cushion if need be while nursing.
However, among the mamas I know, nursing pillows tend to be a non-negotiable baby item.
Lots of seasoned mamas have no problem leaving things like wipe warmers and Diaper Genies off their suggestions to soon-to-be parents, but many of them will tell you their nursing pillows were one of their favorite products.
Even I held a serious attachment to my nursing pillow and made sure it made it onto my hospital bag checklist when it was time for baby #2!
So, no, you don’t have to get a nursing pillow if you don’t want to. In fact, if you’re on the fence about whether you’ll use one, why not wait it out? See how you feel after the baby’s arrival and go from there.
Let’s be honest; Amazon seems to be using the same delivery service as Santa Clause these days, so getting a nursing pillow quickly won’t be hard if you decide you want one.
The Top 5 Benefits of Breastfeeding Pillows
When considering a purchase, I’m a bit of an overthinker. I want to find the best deals, top features, and most impressive reviews. HOWEVER, I want to know that whatever I’m buying will benefit me.
The same goes for nursing pillows–why would we purchase one without a good reason? If you’re weighing the pros and cons, the following five benefits might help your decision.
1. Nursing Positions
Have you started researching nursing positions? The first time I learned about the different breastfeeding holds, I questioned whether or not I needed to be a contortionist to make them work for myself and our baby.
But buying a nursing pillow can make these positions feel more stable, comfortable, and supportive.
2. Back, Neck, and Shoulder Support
Try cradling a baby in just your arms for an extended period, and you might start to notice an ache in your neck, back, and/or shoulders. This is because it can be challenging to maintain proper posture and comfort when you have a little one in your arms.
When it comes to neck and back support while breastfeeding, a nursing pillow is a fantastic tool.
A pillow helps parents bring their babies to the breast instead of vice versa. It’s easy to end up slouching and leaning to get your nipple where it needs to be, but that will end in a back or neck ache you don’t want to deal with.
A nursing pillow will lift baby and make the hold less stressful on your body.
3. Tummy Time
“Versatility” and “multi-use” are two of my favorite words when it comes baby gear descriptions!
That’s why nursing pillows. They can actually help with much more than just breastfeeding. You can also use them to do tummy time with your newborn!
Tummy time is essential for strengthening baby’s neck muscles. It also helps them improve coordination and enhance their motor skills.
You can easily prop your baby up on one side of your nursing pillow and let them get a little tummy workout during the day.
4. C-Section Incision Support
Spoiler alert: your c-section incision probably won’t feel great during the first weeks of your postpartum recovery. Pain aside, however, your baby will still have to eat.
Lucky for us, nursing pillows help reduce the amount of pressure on our c-section sites while breastfeeding.
5. Acid Reflux Relief
Carrying around burp cloths and spit-up rags is the reality for many new parents, especially since at least half of newborns experience reflux-type episodes during their first few months.
One way to combat the constant flow of spit-up is to keep your baby propped up with a nursing pillow after they eat.
6. Bonding with Older Siblings
When we brought our second daughter home, our oldest was obsessed. She wanted to hold her all day, but at the ripe old age of 2, she hadn’t quite figured out things like supporting the baby’s neck yet.
Nursing pillows can help with this issue. You can put a nursing pillow around older siblings to help prop babies up while they cuddle with them.
Are Nursing Pillows Helpful When You’re Bottle-Feeding, Too?
Just because they’re usually called nursing or breastfeeding pillows doesn’t mean these products aren’t great for little ones drinking out of bottles, too.
These pillows can provide comfort and support during feeds if you’re exclusively pumping or formula-feeding your newborn. You’ll also receive other great benefits, such as a tummy time station and c-section recovery support.
The Best Nursing Pillows for Moms and Infants
A friend of mine is currently pregnant and putting together her baby shower registry. She asked me about baby gear the other day, and I was shocked by how many options are available now.
No, I didn’t have my kids that long ago, but it’s incredible how quickly things change, including the number of breastfeeding pillow choices! If you want to find out which options are the best of the best, stick around.
1. The Luna Lullaby Nursing Pillow
Take a look at the Luna Lullaby website, and you’ll have no problem figuring out why this nursing pillow is the cream of the crop.
This nursing pillow goes beyond comfort and stability.
It’s an award-winning product that’s earned the respect of hospitals and lactation centers nationwide. Designers have worked alongside parents and medical professionals to create a pillow that offers the soothing nursing experience you and your baby deserve.
Not only does it come in a wide range of adorable patterns, but it’s also made from 100% luxurious polyester.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though.
The Luna Lullaby also has a unique v-shape that works for every body type – one reviewer even mentions that she and her husband both comfortably use the same pillow. Thanks to its larger shape and size, the pillow provides industry-leading neck and back support for nursing parents.
If you want the gold standard in breastfeeding pillows, the Luna Lullaby has everything you could want and more.
The My Brest Friend nursing pillow is a popular option that makes it onto the wishlists of many pregnant mamas.
But is it as great as they say?
Yes and no.
You can’t deny that this nursing pillow has some great features, such as an adjustable belt that wraps around your whole body for added support. It also comes with a plush foam interior that many parents love. My favorite addition is a convenient storage pocket for all your breastfeeding snacks and nursing supplies!
All these things aside, there are some negatives worth noting. For starters, many parents who’ve used this pillow in the past say the quality is starting to go downhill. The foam, for example, doesn’t hold its form the way it did in the past. Other mamas mention how long it takes to get this one on before starting a feed.
With over 13,000 reviews on Amazon, it’s evident that this pillow has its fanbase. Just be aware of potential problems and decide if the Brest Friend is right for you.
If you’re searching for a classic nursing pillow that’s cute, affordable, and comfy, you might enjoy the Boppy. This was actually the same pillow I used with my girls, and we didn’t have major complaints.
One thing I wanted was a little extra support. While Boppy was cute and cozy, our babies tended to sink into it during nursing sessions. This didn’t always make it easy to maintain a good latch and hold.
I will say we loved using the Boppy for tummy time and as a prop to help our littles sit up a bit. Plus, have you seen the cute slipcovers you can buy to go with it? Perfect for all that spit-up!
All in all, the Boppy is a no-frills nursing pillow. If you’re looking for a little more “oomph” this one might not be for you.
When it comes to finding nursing pillows for twins, there aren’t many options, but there are some good ones. The Twin Z pillow, for example, is one of the most popular products for parents with multiples.
As seen on Shark Tank, this pillow has two sides and is excellent for breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or tummy time with twins. Each pad also features adjustable straps for increased security and support.
One of the features that makes this a preferred nursing pillow for twin parents is how eco-friendly it is. There are no chemical additives, toxic smells, or lead.
Plus, each pillow and the machine-washable covers are hypoallergenic, which is fantastic for little ones with sensitive skin.
If adjustability and versatility are at the top of your nursing pillow wishlist, you might love the Infantino Elevate.
This breastfeeding support pillow has earned a favorable reputation due to its appearances on sites like The Bump, NY Magazine, and Parents Magazine. This product puts a unique spin on the classic nursing pillow. It has angled pillow layers parents can use to adjust the baby’s position and practice various nursing holds. This is also a trusted option if you want a pillow that will grow with baby.
Now for the negatives, though: while this nursing pillow has excellent reviews, some critical opinions are worth noting.
Some parents said they didn’t feel like it hugged their bodies enough to feel fully supportive during feeds. Others said that while the adjustable angles were an interesting concept, the overall design needs some work because finding a good angle for holding your baby is hard.
Overall, this is a respected pillow, but there is some room for improvement.
Every time I look into baby gear, I’m amazed by how far the Frida Mom brand has come! The company continually expands its top-rated and reliable mom-and-baby products – including a nursing pillow!
The overall style of this pillow reminds me of the Brest Friend with a strap that wraps around mom or dad’s waist. It also includes an ergonomic design to reduce pressure on your stomach, which is perfect for c-section recovery!
This is another great choice if you’re looking for adjustability. The pillow has removable layers you can put in or take out to change the baby’s position.
One downside I noticed in the reviews is the fabrics used for the Frida Mom nursing pillow. Mamas notice it shows ALL the baby stains and spills we’re all familiar with.
A few reviewers also mentioned this might not be the best choice for petite parents, as the design is kind of bulky.
Add a Little Extra Comfort to Your Breastfeeding Experience
Whether nursing in the nursery, living room, bedroom, or on the go, you deserve a nursing pillow that will keep you and your baby comfortable, cozy, and secure.
Whether you want versatility, simplicity, a wrap-around waist, or organic fabrics, the right choice is out there. Do your research and figure out which breastfeeding support pillow will make the most sense for your family!
Have you used nursing pillows with your kids? Which one is your favorite?
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.