There are thousands of baby items to choose from and everyone has an opinion on what your “must haves” should be. This is something I struggled a lot with when I was pregnant with my first baby. How do you know what is truly essential and what is just a nice to have item?
One of the items I was unsure about was a nursing pillow.
Maybe that seems silly to you if you love yours or are dead set on getting one but I honestly didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. It seemed like an overpriced pillow and nothing more than another way for the big bad retail industry to suck us expecting parents dry. I mean didn’t they make enough off their bottle warmers, pacifier wipes, and various contraptions for every room in the house that we all bought because they convinced us that we couldn’t live without it and our baby would be deprived?
So…yeah…I didn’t get it.
That is…until I actually nursed my first baby.
I ended up not buying a nursing pillow but my sister in law was kind enough to give me hers so I did have one on hand when my first was born.
In the hospital, I attempted to get familiar with breastfeeding and it was hard. Trying to hold the baby with one hand so he didn’t roll away from me while holding my massive boob in the other and simultaneously trying not to suffocate him with said boob was not going well. I had every pillow in that hospital room propped up under my arms and my baby and it still felt unsteady.
I will let you in on a secret that no one else told me: When you are nursing a newborn, you will hold that position for an hour or more at a time…every two hours. So my massive collection of hospital pillows that seemed like a good idea at the moment quickly because very, 1) hot and 2) uncomfortable. I ended up having to lean forward over my baby since the pillows were squishing into a flattened state causing my back started to hurt like you wouldn’t believe. I also started having pain in my wrist and hands from holding baby and boob in place for so long.
When we got home from the hospital, I decided to get out the magic nursing pillow and give it a shot to see if it made things easier.
I camped out in my bed for the first few days after getting home from the hospital so instead of building a wall of pillows I simply propped my back against a pillow at the head of the bed, put the nursing pillow in my lap, and used one extra pillow for extra support on the side I would be nursing (under the nursing pillow to raise that side a little).
I was amazed at how much easier it was to nurse! The main thing about using a nursing pillow is that you don’t need to lean forward. The pillow hugs your body and allows you to sit comfortably while bringing baby toward you.
My hands still got tired some of the time because I had to hold onto him for so long but my back was so much better. I also found it easier to get a good latch and keep it. Using a pile of pillows made it seem like my baby was slipping or moving lower constantly as the pillows settled. Plus being uncomfortable made me shift around a lot disrupting the perfect latch (that causes sore nipples, ouch!).
After seeing how much easier and comfortable it was to use a nursing pillow, I became a believer! I used my nursing pillow every day for two years and then got it back out when my second baby was born (you know I took that thing to the hospital the second time around!).
It is true that babies don’t need a lot but sometimes moms need items to make their life easier and more comfortable and that is exactly what a nursing pillow does or at least did for me.
So, is a nursing pillow necessary for breastfeeding? No, of course not but trust me when I say, you will probably appreciate having one. They aren’t terribly expensive (more expensive than standard pillows, I do admit) and is something you will use for a long time. Even once we were done nursing, I still used my nursing pillow to rock my sons to sleep or hold them in a rocker if they were sick, etc. The pillow was comfortable for them and me.
I am definitely a supporter of nursing pillows now!
Types of Nursing Pillows
If you are in the market for a nursing pillow and now find yourself convinced you need to get one, get ready because there are a ton on the market. Most are similar in design so it will really come down to your personal preference.
Here is a quick rundown of some of the nursing pillow styles and brands you can find:
Probably one of the most recognized brands for nursing pillows, the Boppy has been around for a while. The Boppy is soft and contoured to fit around your body and cradle your baby. It comes highly rated (click here to see what moms have to say about the Boppy) and is very versatile. In addition to breastfeeding and bottle feeding, the Boppy Pillow transitions to the perfect support pillow for different stages of development including propping, tummy time and learning to sit.
You can find a thousand and one colors and designs for the slip covers that fit over the pillow itself. There are also waterproof covers.
I personally own a Boppy and love it! Can’t go wrong here!
My Breast Friend is another big name in the nursing pillow world. It features a firm, flat front cushion that makes this an entirely different pillow from the Boppy. It also wraps all the way around the body keeping it in place at all times (and offering some back support).
Another cool thing about the My Breast Friend pillow is it has pockets in the front for stuff. I am sure most would say nipple cream, bibs, burp clothes, etc but I think putting the TV remote or snacks there would be a great idea! Nothing worse than sitting down to nurse and realizing you forgot snacks… Click here to read what moms have to say about My Breast Friend.
Like the Boppy it comes in a variety of colors and designs.
This nursing pillow is so intriguing to me! I love the idea of an adjustable nursing pillow. The Infantino Elevate features three adjustable heights to help you get the perfect angle for nursing your baby. As a mom to a baby with acid reflux, I love the idea that it supports upright nursing which really helps the Littles with reflux or GERD. The pillow folds nicely for storage too. Click here to see what moms have to say about the Infantino Elevate Adjustable Nursing Pillow!
I have not come across different colors or designs of this nursing pillow so this color may be the only option or at least the options are limited. Might be worth browsing a bit if you have a certain color or design in mind.
There are not a lot of good twin nursing pillows out there. My Breast Friend makes one but a common complaint about it is that after the first few months, the pillow isn’t able to support two babies. The main goal of a twin nursing pillow is to tandem nurse (nurse at the same time) so a pillow that can last through your breastfeeding journey is needed.
The Twin Z Pillow was actually featured on ABC’s Shark Tank (Love that show!) and I think it is a great design. It looks like two Boppy pillows sewn together but the middle section actually goes against your back (see below picture for visual).
The reviews are quite positive. Moms seem to agree that the pillow is very supportive and has made their ability to nurse two babies at once much easier. Click here to read more about what moms have to say about The Twin Z Pillow!
There are several colors and designs to choose from.
So there you have 4 very different designs for nursing pillows. Picking the right one for you may prove to be confusing but no matter which you choose, having a nursing pillow will help make you one comfortable momma!
As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave them below! I would love to hear from you.