A nursing or breastfeeding pillow is as the name implies, a pillow made specifically to use when nursing your baby.
There are several different styles, but the basic idea is a C-shaped pillow that supports your baby to make nursing easier.
Such pillows are also great for relieving back pain, using as a baby lounger, a prop for tummy time, and a guide for when your baby is learning to sit.
There are a lot of different kinds of nursing pillows out there, with assorted styles and features. They are just one of many breastfeeding supplies you'll want to consider when picking out items for your baby registry. To make it easier to wade through the numerous options available, we did the research and compiled it all into one article.
There’s a lot of information, but don’t feel overwhelmed! We’ll take you through it step-by-step.
There are a few main things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a nursing pillow: size, budget, style, and washability.
Are you going to be breastfeeding in one place, or will you move around a lot? Most moms like a big pillow with plenty of room for the baby to lie on.
But if you’re going to be moving around between feedings and nursing in different places, maybe a travel pillow would be easier.
Are you a cutesy-fabric lover, or do you want something a little more grown-up for your nursing pillow? Different brands will have different options, from adorable to stylish, and with a variety of fabrics and textures.
A pillow with a slipcover will definitely be the easiest to keep clean, especially if you’ve got a baby with reflux or who is prone to spitting up.
The pillows themselves sometimes aren’t machine washable, and spot-cleaning will have to do.
There are dozens of different brands, types, and styles of nursing pillows available, catering to all kinds of needs. We researched a lot of pillows made by many different brands, but these five are our top picks:
It’s been a top brand ever since it was introduced for a reason. The Boppy consistently gets good feedback and is a favorite among new and veteran mothers. It is firm enough to give you the support you need when nursing, but also malleable enough to be comfortable for your baby to lounge on.
If you’re looking for an affordable option, the Bamboo pillow is the one to go for. The materials used were picked specifically with allergens in mind, and is very soft so as not to irritate your baby’s skin. It is slightly smaller than other brands, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your needs.
Although it’s on the pricier side, this pillow has the boomerang shape that is friendly to all body types, particularly plus size. The slipcovers are a soft cotton chenille, with a 100% polyester pillow, giving it a luxurious feel. It can also be used as a maternity pillow.
You get security with this pillow that you don’t have with others, as it buckles around your waist with a buckle and adjustable strap. It also has a flat top, making it difficult for squirmy or wiggly babies to roll off, as can happen with rounded pillows.
This pillow can transition easily into a lounger for your baby, and even comes with a little attachable seat to keep the wiggly ones in place. Great for helping babies with acid reflux, it can also be used as a tummy time support. However, the basic model doesn’t come with slipcovers.
The original classic won out! You can rarely go wrong with a classic. The nursing pillow that started it all, the Boppy’s C-shape and huge array of slipcovers make it a great choice. It’s machine washable for regular maintenance or the occasional disaster, and easy to use however you need.
The original nursing pillow, Boppy has been one of the top brands for the past 25 years.
Both classic and luxe pillow types, with a wide variety of slipcovers, are available; from cute to classy and everything in between, including two-sided.
This brand is known for its signature Snoogle body pillow for pregnant women, as well as its nursing pillows. Leachco has a few types of breastfeeding pillows, a classic C-shape, an attachable boost pillow, and a U-shape.
Other nursing pillows can be used for more than one purpose, like baby lounging or even tummy time. My Brest Friend makes pillows specifically for breastfeeding. They come in several types: original, deluxe, organic, and inflatable, to name a few.
The popular bottle brand makes a comma-shaped, angled pillow that was created by a professional lactation consultant. One pillow design and six slipcover patterns to choose from.
This company makes baby carriers, in addition to a nursing pillow that is particularly firm. Four patterns to choose from, with the same selection available as slipcovers.
Nursing pillows, slipcovers, and full body pillows are made by this company. Three types of pillows, including a travel size, and a large selection of patterns and prints.
Specializes in their pillow for multiple babies, although they also make a standard nursing pillow. Twin and single styles, with a few slipcover colors to choose from.
While I’m a mom with experience and opinions, the best nursing pillow is actually going to be decided by YOU. Every woman is different, just as every pregnancy and baby is different. What works for one mom may not work at all for another.
That said, the Boppy is a great starting point to discovering what your specific needs are. You may love it, you may need a different shape, or like the idea of a wraparound, or want something a little less expensive. This guide should point you in the right direction and give you an idea of what you want for yourself.
Nursing pillows are great for supporting whatever position your baby is in while you are nursing, making it more comfortable for you.
It eases up the pain and tension in your arms, back, and shoulders that can develop when you hunch over to get the right angle and latch with your baby.
They work as a support. You sit in a comfortable place, back well-supported, and tuck the nursing pillow around your waist.
Then, you rest your baby on their side on the pillow, facing you. This will put your baby at the right level, tummy-to-tummy, to nurse more comfortably without having to hold her or him up and try to position yourself and the baby at the same time.
Cribs are much safer for babies to sleep in, on their backs and with no stuffed animals or blankets nearby that could be a suffocation hazard.
We don’t recommend letting your baby sleep on a nursing pillow.
A lot of nursing pillows come with removable covers that can be machine washed, but the pillow itself may or may not be washed in a standard washing machine.
Spot cleaning with mild soap and a damp washcloth is best for some brands.
Many follow the same basic shape, but there are big differences between brands and styles. Some buckle around your waist, others are inflatable, some are moldable, and there are also selections that are made specifically for twins.
Everyone is different, and there are a lot of options for finding a pillow that is right for you and your baby.
Of course not; a mom can get along without almost anything; moms are superheroines. But nursing pillows can be extremely helpful, which is why we recommend finding the one best for you.
Everyone loves their accessories, right? Here are a few that might tempt you, and the first on the list is one we definitely love!
Slipcovers could be your savior if you’ve got a baby prone to reflux or spitting up. Some pillows, like the Boppy, even have water resistant slipcovers available to protect the pillow itself longer and keep it cleaner. If you can spring for a slipcover, or think you’ll need one, this is a must-have.
Not all slipcovers are created equal. Some are made of particularly soft fabrics like Minky, or have cupholders, pockets, toys, or pouches. They are often more expensive, but you may find the extra features worth the extra money.
Some travel-size nursing pillows come with specially-made bags or pouches to carry them in. Probably not worth the expense, in most cases, as most moms are carrying around a giant diaper bag anyway, and what’s one more thing to toss in there? But if you’re a minimalist mom, or just have an eye for style, this might be for you.
Whether or not a nursing pillow is on your list of “must-haves” to survive motherhood, hopefully, this guide gave you a good jumping-off point. Being a mom is often a crazy roller coaster, with constant demands on your body, your time, and everything else you have to give, and even some things you don’t! If a nursing pillow seems like it would make your life at all easier, go for it and give it a try.