A nursing pillow makes breastfeeding easier for both the mother and the baby. The pillow can be particularly helpful right after delivery when you want to avoid straining your body.
There are different types of nursing pillows, so knowing about them will help you pick the one that works best for you. In this MomJunction post, we tell you everything about them and share a list of 13 best nursing pillows you choose from.
13 Best Nursing Pillows To Buy In 2021
- You get a padded belt that wraps around your waist and provides support to your lower back.
- There is a flat surface at the front, which allows you to place the baby horizontally. The pillow is padded all around, which makes it comfortable even for the infant.
- It provides adequate elbow and forearm support for the mother.
- The Velcro straps make it easy to wear and remove the pillow. It also has a silent-release strap, which opens the belt without making noise to avoid disturbing the sleeping baby.
- A pocket to the side lets you place your phone or baby’s bottle.
- It has an external slipcover, which is removable. You can machine wash the cover and clean the inner pillow with a damp cloth. The pillow and cover are made from 100% cotton.
- This nursing pillow is large enough to be used as a maternity sleep pillow before delivery.
- The large size makes it comfortable for mothers who find other pillows shapes small and uncomfortable.
- You can remove the cover and wash it. The pillow is made from polyester.
- The soft padding provides support to the baby and also keeps your arms comfortable.
- It fits around your body to support the infant and your arms.
- The pillow’s C-shape allows you to move it to the side, thus allowing you to place the infant to a side breastfeeding position.
- It comes with a removable cover, which is machine washable. The pillow is 90% polyester and 10% cotton.
- This breastfeeding pillow can also be used as a tummy time or sitting pillow for the baby when they grow older.
Type: Seat wrap
- The harness lets you slide the baby into it. The infant can recline and be in a comfortable position while staying in one place.
- You can use the pillow in a chair and also while seated cross-legged on the floor.
- The seat wraps fit most infants. The padding makes breastfeeding comfortable for both the mother and the baby.
- You can use it as a tummy time pillow or a sitting pillow for the baby later.
- The pillow is shaped to follow the natural contours of the body and goes around the waist more snugly.
- The inner side of the C-shape flattens out, which helps provide a comfortable surface for the baby to sit. The corners provide plenty of cushioning to the baby’s head.
- With this pillow, you can hold your baby in multiple breastfeeding positions. The pillow also works great for bottle feeding, which means even dads can use it.
- The cover is removable and machine washable. You can also buy additional covers for this pillow.
- This is a reversible breastfeeding pillow with two sides. One side features a firm surface for newborns and young infants. The other side has a soft surface for older infants and toddlers.
- The firm padding is ideal for young infants who need a lot of support. The soft side is suitable for older and thus heavier infants.
- There is a removable belt that snaps into place with ease. You can pull to adjust the belt around your waist.
- You can machine wash the pillow after removing the foam inserts and the belt.
Type: Double C/3-shaped pillow for twins
- The pillow is specifically designed for twins and can accommodate one baby on each side of your body.
- There is a central cushion that goes behind your back and works as a backrest for the mother.
- A belt at the front buckles helps keep the cushion at its place.
- Adequate padding to support two babies. The cover is removable and washable.
- The pillow is versatile and has six uses as per the manufacturer. You can primarily use it for breastfeeding and bottle feeding. You can also use the pillow as a pregnancy sleeping pillow, tummy time pillow for baby, sitting support pillow for infants, and pillow for toddlers.
Type: Arm pillow
- It is best for mothers who find it most comfortable to hold the baby in their arms while breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
- There are no buckle and straps. Put your arm through the hole in the cushion, adjust it to a comfortable position, rest your baby’s head on it, and you are ready to feed.
- The base of the cushion is where the bulk of the padding exists. It enables you to raise your arm and provide back support to the reclined baby.
- You can also use it as a burping pillow by laying the baby belly down on the pillow and tapping their back for burping.
Type: Height adjustable pillow
- The pillow has book-like pads that attach to a central axis. You can flip the pads in the desired direction to provide the necessary elevation for the baby’s head.
- The multiple elevation options allow you to feed the baby in multiple feeding positions.
- The pillow provides adequate firmness at all elevation levels.
- It is made from high quality, durable material. You can machine wash the pillow in cold water.
Type: Crescent shape
- The pillow is not filled with foam or cotton. Instead, it contains organic buckwheat hulls. It allows the pillow to conform to shape the of your baby’s body easily.
- The unique filling of the pillow allows for circulation of air through the pillow.
- The pillow fabric and outer cover are made from organic cotton. It makes this an organic nursing pillow, which is also hypoallergenic.
- The external slip cover is removable and machine washable. You can clean the inner pillow with a damp cloth and sanitize it by placing it in a warm dryer for 20 minutes.
Type: Arm pillow
- A compact arm pillow with enough padding to support both the baby’s head and your arm while breastfeeding. It is small enough to carry around in your travel bag.
- You get a lot of foam padding inside the loop of the pillow. It means your arm stays well-cushioned even if your baby feeds for an extended duration.
- The weight of the baby stays on your arms with this pillow. It can be ideal for moms who’ve had a C-section and want to avoid any strain and pressure on the delicate belly.
- The arm pillow is useful even for bottle feeding, which means dads can wear it too.
- The entire pillow is machine washable with cold water.
- The pillow cover is 60% polyester and 40% bamboo fiber. This combination makes the pillow durable and breathable.
- The padding is such that it brings the infant’s mouth to the breast with ease.
- The loop of the pillow can stay on your waist even when with prolonged usage. A nursing pillow that stays on the waist is also unlikely to slip.
- The pillow and its cover are machine-washable in cold water.
- A C-shaped pillow that provides support when you breastfeed the baby seated on a chair or while sitting on the bed.
- The pillow has a hypoallergenic, microfiber filling that provides cushioning and is also safe for the baby.
- No need to remove the slipcover before washing the pillow. The pillow, along with the cover, is machine washable.
- You can also use the pillow as an infant cushion once you are done using it as a nursing cushion.
A nursing cushion can serve multiple purposes while keeping the baby safe when used carefully.
What Is A Nursing Pillow?
A nursing pillow is a soft cushion meant for supporting the baby while breastfeeding. The pillow helps bring the baby’s mouth to the level of the breast, removing the need for holding the baby in your arms. The right nursing pillow can also provide adequate neck and back support to the baby.
How Does Nursing Pillow Support Breastfeeding?
You can enjoy the following advantages with the use of a nursing pillow:
- Less strain, more focus: First-time moms may take some time learning to hold the baby correctly for breastfeeding. A nursing pillow helps you hold the baby and focus on breastfeeding.
- Convenient to the baby: Newborns do not have adequate neck support. A nursing pillow can help the baby keep the head close to the breast. Breastfeeding pillows can be particularly useful for infants with limited mobility and neck control.
- Can help in postpartum recovery: You will need all the rest you can get after postpartum, especially if the delivery was through a C-section. Support the baby with a nursing pillow, sit back on a reclining chair, and feed the baby in a relaxed position.
You’ll be comfortable using a nursing pillow provided you choose the right one.
What Are The Different Types Of Nursing Pillows?
You can get nursing pillows in various shapes:
- C-shaped: It is the standard shape of a nursing pillow. The design is simple, and the loop of the C-shaped pillow goes around your waist. It can be adjusted to one side of the body and fits most body types. A variation of the C-shape is the crescent shape.
- Flat or O-shaped: The O-shaped pillow looks like a C-shaped one but with a waistband at the back thus forming a loop or the letter ‘O’. O-shaped pillows can transfer weight to the back and help keep the pillow stable. Most of these pillows have a flat front; giving it a shelf-like shape. And for that reason, these are also called flat nursing pillow or shelf-style nursing pillows. You will need to find an O-shaped pillow with a waistband that fits you.
- Boomerang-shaped: It is also called the U-shaped or V-shaped pillow. It is larger than a C-shaped pillow and goes conveniently around the waist. It can be more comfortable when you feed the baby while seated in a reclining chair. The boomerang-shaped pillow also suits mothers, who find the C-shaped nursing pillow small or tight to go around the body.
- Seat wrap: It looks like the C-shaped nursing pillow but has a harness strap/seat wrap at the center. Put the baby in the strap and place the pillow on your lap to breastfeed. The harness keeps the infant stable. This style can be particularly useful for mothers who are getting used to breastfeeding. It is also helpful if you have a baby who moves a lot while breastfeeding.
- Miscellaneous shapes: There are other variations of the nursing pillow that meet some specific needs. A few examples are:
- 3-shaped or double C-shaped pillows for twins
- Arm-pillow that slides into your arm – useful for dads who bottle feed
- Adjustable pillows that let you adjust the height
- Inflatable nursing pillows that are handy while traveling
But which one is for you?
How To Choose A Nursing Pillow?
Consider the following factors when looking for nursing pillows:
- Height and shape of the pillow: The pillow should bring the head of the baby to the level of your chest. Choose a pillow of the right height and shape depending on how well it works for you and the baby.
- Adjusts to the baby: It is good to get a pillow that can accommodate newborns and infants who need neck support. Pick a pillow that will fit your little one even a couple of months after you bought the pillow.
- Washing and maintenance: A pillow that is easy to clean and even wash is better. It can help you wash away those milk stains from the baby’s burps.
Tips For Nursing Pillow Usage
- Babies must not sleep with a nursing pillow: A nursing pillow is meant to provide support to the baby’s head and back while breastfeeding. If the manufacturer states that the pillow is usable during tummy time or as an infant-propping pillow, then go ahead and use it. But never use a nursing pillow as a pillow for baby’s sleep. Do not place the pillow in an infant’s crib since it could pose a suffocation hazard.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that “nothing else should be in the crib except for the baby” (1). Pediatric experts recommend placing a pillow in the crib only after the baby is one and a half-year-old (2). So do not use a nursing pillow for baby’s naps and nighttime sleep.
- Periodically inspect for the pillow’s support: Babies grow fast. It could be a month or two since you got the pillow and the baby is already cramped on it. Checking the pillow’s back and head support is imperative. An uncomfortable feeding position can cause stress on the infant’s body and probably also impact breastfeeding. Once your baby seems to have outgrown a nursing pillow, buy a new one.
A nursing pillow strives to make the task of breastfeeding simpler. Remember to pick a pillow keeping in mind your height and the height of your baby. Choosing a pillow considering where you will use it is also a good idea. The support of a nursing pillow can help make breastfeeding feel less of a chore and more of a satisfying experience.
Have you used a nursing pillow? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below.
2. Safe Sleep: Bedding, Pillows, Safety and More; United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission