Find Your Comfort Level With The Best Nursing Pillow (2018 Guide)

Find Your Comfort Level With The Best Nursing Pillow (2018 Guide)

Who doesn’t want a little help when acclimating to life with a new baby?

I know I never turned down an opportunity for my parents to come over to sit, do laundry, cook dinner, or let me nap for a bit.

I also know that I never passed up on the opportunity to buy products that also lent a hand in some way, shape, or form.

That’s why I went out and bought a nursing pillow (and recommend you do the same) once I decided to breastfeed.

A nursing pillow helped me after my c-section, got me through many midnight feedings, and helped me get the hang of breastfeeding overall. 

Read on to learn all about why you need a nursing pillow and how to choose the best one!

What Is a Nursing Pillow?

A nursing pillow is basically a pillow that assists with the breastfeeding process

It helps your baby latch on, based on the way the pillow props them up, and it also helps support your little one’s lack of head and neck strength and control.

Nursing pillows virtually do all the “holding” and allow you to remain stress-free and pretty much weight-free during the feeding session.

 They sit on you comfortably and gently wrap around your body.

Do You Need a Nursing Pillow?

A nursing pillow is certainly not a necessity. But, it is a much-appreciated luxury.

And, I deemed myself worthy of a few “want” items over “need” items—after all, I was sliced open and a baby was removed from my body.

If that doesn’t warrant a little TLC, I don’t know what does!

Even if you don't have a c-section, I would still highly recommend investing in a nursing pillow because it helps first time, breastfeeding moms get the hang of nursing in general, and it helps their baby relax and learn to latch properly.

When Do You Need a Nursing Pillow?

Since you’ll be breastfeeding right from the get go, it’s wise to have a nursing pillow washed and ready to go, waiting in your nursery until you bring home baby.

But, some moms like to be ultra-prepared and have their partner bring it to the hospital, so they have nursing assistance and comfort immediately.

It just depends on your personal preference.

My Breast Friend vs Bobby Pillow

Two of the most popular and sought-after nursing pillows are the My Breast Friend and the Boppy Pillow.

Let's break down the pros and cons of each.

My Breast Friend

The My Breast Friend nursing pillow goes all the way around a mom’s waist and is composed of a rectangular shape on the back and a half moon shape on the front.

Sale
My Brest Friend Original Nursing Posture Pillow, Grey & Yellow Fireworks
  • FEEL THE SUPPORT: Encourages better posture during breastfeeding, alleviating strain in your back, neck, and arms
  • FIRM AND FLAT: Prevents baby from rolling out of position during nursing

Pros

  • Silent release strap. You’ll never wake your baby after they doze off from a feeding.
  • Adjustable strap. You’ll know it will fit a wide range of body types, which is important during your postpartum recovery.
  • Supports proper posture. Because the pillow is composed of two shapes, it considers a mom’s posture needs, as well as baby’s.
  • Firm. The flat cushion that the baby sits on doesn’t give much, so your baby remains in perfect position each time. It will never roll inward.
  • Pocketed. You can store a tissue, water, burp cloth, or wireless speaker in the front of the pillow’s pocket.

Cons

  • Takes a moment to put on. Some moms don’t like the fact that it can take a moment or two to get on. This can be tough when trying to calm a hungry baby. And, the baby needs to be put down when putting the pillow on for safety reasons, which may agitate the baby even more!
  • Foam smell. Many moms who use this pillow have also remarked that it does give off a strong foam smell. 

Boppy Pillow

The Boppy nursing pillow is one piece and it has a C-shape design. It has a stretchy panel and it goes around your waist. (See also: 13 Ways You Can Use a Boppy Pillow).

Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner - Bare Naked
  • 30 YEARS OF COMFORT AND SUPPORT WHILE NURSING: The original, award winning Boppy Pillow provides your arms and back relief by lifting your baby to a more ergonomic position when breastfeeding or bottle feeding.
  • VERSATILE USES FOR 0-12 MONTHS: The Boppy Nursing Pillow supports your newborn through their entire first year with propping, tummy time, sitting or just discovering little fingers and toes.

Pros

  • Stretches. The pillow can conform to a variety of body types.
  • Machine washable. You can toss the entire pillow in the washer, and it’s cover it you utilize one. This makes cleaning a cinch.
  • Has multiple uses. The Boppy can grow with your baby, so when they are nursing less, you can place the pillow on the floor to prop them up in different ways for tummy time.
  • Warm and comfortable. This pillow is not made of foam, but a soft cotton-like material. So, it’s firm yet very soft.

Cons

  • Isn’t snug. Some moms have complained that the pillow doesn’t always stay put as intended, and it tends to slide down toward the end of a feeding, losing the latch.
  • Plus-size moms may struggle. The pillow is very adaptable to all kinds of body types, but some moms who are at the end range of the plus size spectrum have had some difficulties getting it to fit around their waist. 

Benefits of Using a Nursing Pillow

Using a nursing pillow has many benefits.

One of the most important benefits is that it helps a baby latch

The pillow gets them closer to the breast and helps “guide” them to the proper nursing position. And, this is really helpful to new moms (who have no idea what they’re doing at first!)

A nursing pillow also provides comfort to all, since the pillow is soft yet firm. 

It takes pressure off a mom to fully support her baby’s head and neck, and also relieves her back and abdomen pain, which can be prevalent during postpartum recovery, especially if she has had a c-section. 

Important Features to Look For

Some nursing pillows are better than others.

Here are some features you may want to consider before diving in and making an impulsive purchase:

  • Adjustable. Your body is going to shrink, grow, and probably shrink again (all thanks to hormones). During your postpartum recovery, it is a good idea to go with a fully adjustable pillow. You can get a customized fit and this will allow everyone to be very comfortable.
  • Washable. Spot cleaning is fine, but for those tough, spit up spells you want something that is super easy to clean, won’t stain, and won’t retain smells. So, if you can toss your pillow directly into a washer, score! If you can remove its cover and wash it that way, even better.
  • Hypoallergenic. Many babies have sensitivities just after they’re born. Provide them with a pillow that won’t irritate them, since their gentle skin will be laying directly on it. You also do not want a pillow that gives off harsh fumes due to chemicals or its overall composition, so it may be wise to stay away from some foams. Look for a pillow labeled hypoallergenic and/or organic.
  • Pockets. This helps make the feeding process easier because your must have items are an arm’s reach away. You can even put your phone in the pocket to play soothing tunes or white noise.
  • Soundless velcro. If you’re going to go for an adjustable pillow, look for attachments that make zero sounds. This will help a tired baby stay asleep.
  • Stays firm. It’s important that your pillow starts off firm and maintains its firmness. This way, your baby won’t roll out of position or sink in. Over time, some pillows lose their firmness and effectiveness, so it’s important to read reviews from parents who have utilized a pillow for awhile.
  • Multi-use. As mentioned above, some pillows are able to be utilized in different ways. Why not maximize your investment? Choose a pillow that can be placed on the floor to prop your baby up in different ways during tummy time, and can also be covered up and used a positioner during baby photos.

Tips for Using a Nursing Pillow

Using a nursing pillow isn’t overly difficult.

I watched a few videos that demonstrate how to use it before my son was born.

I also brought mine to the hospital so my nursing attendant could make sure I was using it properly.

But, if you aren’t planning on doing that, just remember the following tips:

  • Use the firm side first. Most nursing pillows have a firm side and softer side. This accommodates the size of your baby. All newborns should be placed on the firm side. 
  • Make a shelf for your breasts. Attach the pillow and wiggle it up toward your chest. Your breasts should literally be sitting on the pillow, like a shelf. Tighten your pillow when this occurs, if you’re choosing to use an adjuster.
  • Be comfortable. You can relax and recline while sitting with a pillow on. That’s the whole point. You should not have any back or shoulder pain. If you’re stressed and uncomfortable, your baby will be.
  • lightbulb-o
    Don't be afraid to use extra pillows. You’ll have a gap sometimes between your pillow and your legs. Fill that space with a pillow or two, to maintain that “shelf” you’ve created with your nursing pillow.
  • lightbulb-o
    Place baby on your "shelf". The baby’s weight will be held up by the pillow. You should be tummy to tummy, and your baby should be nose to nipple with your breast. You’ll have a hand free to do the guiding, but the pillow should be secure enough to do most of the supporting. You can also use your free hand to stroke your baby’s head, face, and back, making the experience warm and positive so it’s a pure bonding moment.
  • lightbulb-o
    Careful getting out. When you want to remove your pillow, your one hand/arm should replace the support of the pillow, while you’re other free hand detaches the pillow. This takes some practice before you can do it quickly and smoothly. Just be patient. You can even practice doing this with a doll before your baby arrives, so you’ll be a pro at not waking them after a feeding.
  • lightbulb-o
    Remain stationary. Some parents boast about being able to walk around with their baby and nursing pillow, but I never adhered to this practice. I always felt safer remaining stationary. Your baby can roll and accidents can happen, so it is wise to stay put on a couch or cushioned chair until you really have the hang of the process.

Can Non-Breastfeeding Moms Use a Nursing Pillow?

Yes! Botton line: if you’re feeding your baby, you can use a pillow. 

I have many mom friends who chose to bottle feed their baby, but who wanted extra comfort and support during the process. 

In fact, many nurses recommend having a pillow on hand because if you do have to have a c-section, it's just another way to get comfortable and take less stress and weight off your body while trying to handle your infant. 

Postpartum recovery takes awhile, and everyone (whether you’re nursing or not), deserves to be comfortable and be able to ensure proper placement during feeding sessions. 

Best Nursing Pillow

#1. Boppy Nursing Pillow

Boppy has been creating their versatile, award-winning Nursing Pillow (click here to check the price on Amazon) for twenty-five years. From breastfeeding, bottle feeding, propping, tummy time and learning to sit, this pillow has you covered.

We like

It's comfortable. The ergonomic design lifts and positions baby in maximum comfort and supports your back while giving relief to arms and shoulders. The soft, silky fabric is soothing for both of you.

Easy to clean. The cover is easily removed, and machine washable, making cleaning up simple. It's also water resistant, so spills and spit-ups are not absorbed. Simply wipe up those little messes after feeding times to keep it fresh.

Good for different stages of development. As your baby grows, this pillow will continue to be one of mommy's favorite little helpers.

Keep in mind

Moms come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on where and how you carry your weight, there's a chance this pillow might not be the best fit.

The frontal design. Although The Boppy has a high comfort rating, it does not have a back, which may be a drawback for those moms with chronic back pain or those who need some additional support.


Best Nursing Pillow for Bottle Feeding

#2. My Brest Friend

This 100% cotton pillow from My Brest Friend (click here to check the price on Amazon) not only has a catchy name, but it offers a few features that many other pillows don't.​​​​

We like

Comfort and support. The wrap around design of this pillow offers good lumbar support while holding your baby in the perfect position. Arm and elbow rests eliminate shoulder stress. The firm flat cushion prevents your baby from rolling into the gap other pillows create.

Adjustable back strap. My Brest Friend securely fastens around your body and stays in place. You can use it while standing up, moving around and doing chores.

Convenient pocket. The side pocket is a great feature, ideal for keeping your cell phone within reach or tuck in a water bottle, burp cloth or bib so it's there when you need it.

Keep in mind

The smell. This clear plastic cover has been found to have a strong odor that some find offensive during the first few uses. Although it's said to be non-toxic, give this some thought before you take a chance.

The fit. The adjustable strap is suitable for many mothers, but everyone carries weight differently. Consider your body shape before choosing this nursing pillow. You might find a better fit elsewhere.


Best Nursing Pillow for Twins

#3. Twin Z Pillow

This multi-functional option from One Z Pillow (click here to check the price on Amazon) comes with some features that make feeding time a joy.

If you're looking for a nursing pillow that might make it possible to breastfeed longer, this could be the one for you.

We like

Optimum positioning. Raises baby to a comfortable height for easier feedings, so your infant can latch on and get right to it so that breastfeeding isn't such a challenge.

Fantastic support. This pillow is designed with full back support for Mom. No more hunching over or wrong posture during feeding. Provides relief for hands, arms and shoulders as well.

It's loaded with features. The Twin Z is different than many others on the market. A buckle secures the pillow in place maintaining that just right position. A fluffy, yet waterproof cover makes cleanup a breeze.

Keep in mind

The buckle. This pillow provides a secure fit for you both but might take a bit longer to get it on. If you have a hungry, impatient infant, this could be challenging.

Can be bulky. The Twin Z is somewhat larger than others on the market, so if you want an option that transports well and travels with the family, you may want to consider this factor before purchasing this pillow.


Best Travel Nursing Pillow

#4. The Nursie

The Nursie (click here to check the price on Amazon) is a 100% cotton, top-of-the-line pillow built for comfort and support. Easily slip it over your forearm to place baby in the perfect position.

If you're searching for a pillow that makes mealtime a breeze, take a look at The Nursie.

We like

Size and portability. Smaller than others, this uniquely designed pillow fits in larger diaper bags. Over-packer? Unclip the shoulder strap of a diaper bag and slide it through the middle of the pillow to secure pillow to the bag.

Dads love it too. There are many gender neutral fabric options available, so encourage Dad to participate in the special bonding experience of feeding time.

Great support and positioning. The design of The Nursie ensures that your infant is in perfect position to help reduce gas and reflux. Offers optimum support for all involved in the feeding process.

Keep in mind

No removable cover. The entire pillow is machine-washable, but it does not have a removable cover. The one-piece design means that the whole pillow must be washed which can be a hassle.

A lot of padding. If you are petite, you may find this pillow to feel over inflated and awkward. The Nursie will create one custom made for your size if requested, so this could be the right pillow for you anyway.


Best Organic Nursing Pillow

#5. The Nesting Pillow

This 100% organic nursing pillow from The Blessed Nest (click here to check the price on Amazon) is ideal for sensitive baby's skin. The quarter moon design makes the perfect nest at feeding time.

If organic is what you want, you might not need to look any further than The Nesting Pillow.

We like

The filling. 100% organic buckwheat hulls conform to baby's body and adjust to each movement. Similar to a beanbag, creating great support for both of you.

Cool and comfortable. Air easily circulates within the buckwheat filling keeping you at a comfy temperature. The 100% cotton cover helps keep you both feeling cool and fresh.

Clean up is simple. The slipcover removes easily and is machine washable. An bonus, the inside pillow can be heat sanitized by tossing in the dryer for 20 minutes.

Keep in mind

Buckwheat has pros and cons. A totally organic material means with time and normal use, you may find the buckwheat has a tendency to crush and degrade. Also, this filling can be a bit noisier than some.

Weight. The Nesting Pillow is heavier than most of its competitors. This can be an issue when moving it around or traveling. Keep in mind that the weight might be uncomfortable if you've just had a c-section.


Best Nursing Pillow for Plus-Size

#6. JJ Cole Nursing Pillow

J.J Cole has created a versatile pillow (click here to check the price on Amazon) suitable for both nursing and bottle-feeding. This pillow looks good, feels great and is gender friendly for baby, Mom and Dad as well.

If you're looking for a modern design for a comfortable, relaxed feeding experience, check out the JJ Cole.

We like

Size and weight. This lightweight pillow will fit most chairs and rockers. Although compact in size, the contoured design is a good fit for most Moms and even Dad's larger frame.

Comfort and support. The JJ Cole has ample thickness, supporting your baby at a comfortable height. This thickness comes in handy to provide an armrest and proper posture for Mom.

Portability. This JJ Cole offering has a convenient carrying handle for feeding on the go. The compact size and weight facilitate moving and traveling.

Keep in mind

The cover. The cover fabric is not pre-shrunk, so there might be a problem getting it back on the pillow after time in the dryer. If you don't have time to hang dry this pillow, this could be an issue for you.

The frontal design. This pillow is shaped well, but the lack of a specific back support might be a deal breaker. If you need an option that gives you extra back support, take a look at other options.


Wrapping Up

A great nursing pillow makes a huge difference when a new mommy breastfeeds her newborn.

It helps the days and nights more comfortable and provides lots of assistance when learning the basic mechanics of breastfeeding.

Because you’ll be nursing quite a bit throughout your baby’s first six months of life, it’s wise to invest in a product that brings calmness and comfort to everyone.

Consider the types of pillows on the market and the features that separate a good pillow from a great one, so you can feed with ease and confidence!

Kate Trout
 

Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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