Last Updated on February 9, 2023
Much like a pregnancy pillow, a good nursing pillow is an excellent aid to postpartum nursing mothers. They are specially designed to provide the baby with a surface to lie on and allow the mother to support the baby’s head, neck, and shoulders, typically while breastfeeding. However, this type of pillow can also be used for other purposes, such as for propping up your little one while reading to them or while they’re watching television.
In this article, we’ll discuss whether or not you really need a nursing pillow, the different types available on the market in 2022, and the pros and cons of using one.
Why Use a Nursing Pillow?
Also known as a breastfeeding pillow, a typical nursing pillow is ideal for:
Help with positioning
When breastfeeding your baby, the position you hold him in can make a difference in how easy or difficult it is to breastfeed effectively. Kneeling with a nursing pillow will allow you to “sit” with your knees bent instead of standing up straight, reducing the strain on your back and helping to increase milk supply.
A nursing pillow can also help you position your baby correctly at the breast and help you support your baby’s head and neck during feeding.
A pillow can also be helpful during a feeding when you may need to lean over to hear the sounds your baby is making and want to remain balanced, so there is no chance of falling and injuring yourself.
Give yourself a break
If necessary, you can use this pillow throughout the first six months of breastfeeding to give your arms a break from holding, cradling and supporting your infant as they grow bigger.
Allows for versatility
They’re a must-have for babies and children who cannot sit up on their own, for example, in a highchair. Some children use the nursing pillow exclusively for feeding.
Allows for stability
In addition to providing comfort and safety during breastfeeding, it can also be helpful when bottle-feeding your infant to stabilise them while sitting upright.
Lastly, once your child has outgrown a nursing pillow, you can use it as a pillow for infants to play on. As your child gets bigger, you can transform this pillow into a relaxing rest area for them, complete with plush toys.
Is a Nursing Pillow Really Necessary?
A nursing pillow serves many different purposes, but most importantly, it is perfect for providing comfort during breastfeeding. In addition, it helps keep the baby properly positioned while feeding. And essentially, it provides support, especially in the later months of breastfeeding when the child becomes heavier.
Therefore, although a mother can breastfeed and perform other functions without using a nursing pillow, having one at her disposal would make life easier and, in many instances, healthier.
Pros and Cons Of Using a Nursing Pillow
As with all baby gear, there will be pros and cons of using the product:
- It helps mothers sleep comfortably during tiresome night feeds and long naps.
- Supports mum when she is too tired to hold her child’s weight with her arms.
- Provides additional support for adult women as they feed and transfer their child from one side to another without losing balance.
- Propping the baby up while sitting upright in a high chair or bouncer.
- It can help new mums cradle their babies easier, whether breastfeeding or offering a bottle.
- Great for when mothers need their hands free for a moment, allowing baby to remain safe in the pillow.
- Some mums feel more comfortable with a pillow under the baby, especially new mothers.
- Acts as a soft yet supportive cushion for mothers with muscle and joint pains who struggle to cradle a baby comfortably.
- Provides extra neck and back support, which can be helpful for pregnant women and mothers with large breasts since they may experience discomfort while supporting the weight of their milk-filled breasts during feedings.
- For some mothers, using a nursing pillow interferes with positioning their babies for a good latch-on, which is needed for successful breastfeeding.
- If a baby is too heavy for mummys arms, she may not be able to transfer the baby in time to prevent choking or vomiting.
- Pressing a nursing pillow against the baby’s stomach can interfere with latching and breastfeeding, especially if the pillow is not correctly adjustable.
- Some babies find that a nursing pillow interferes with their ability to nurse from one mammary alone.
- A baby can become attached to the comfort of a nursing pillow which can sometimes lead to further issues such as sleep disruption and behavioural problems. This attachment can also affect feeding habits as the child ages.
Some Common Types Of Nursing Pillows
The best nursing pillows are usually made from cotton, fleece, terry cloth or a cotton blend fabric with a foam or memory foam filling. That’s because all these materials are soft and gentle on the baby, while memory foam can subtly conform to the body shape of both mum and baby while being used. Many of these specially designed feeding pillows will feature a removable and washable cover, while some will also be waterproof.
The pillows are available in various sizes and shapes depending on how it is intended to be used by either one person or two people. Some even come in a shape like a letter “M” for twins, helping mothers feed both babies simultaneously.
Some come with straps for added stability, while others even have a pouch for placing things, such as your mobile device or TV remote.
Can I Use a Nursing Pillow After C-Section?
Although a nursing pillow can definitely be used after a c-section, your allocated midwife can give you information about the proper procedure for nursing with a pillow post-surgery.
However, every patient recovers differently, and some mothers may find discomfort using a pillow while others may find it beneficial. Show the pillow to your midwife and make your judgement call based on whether it works for you.
A nursing pillow can make breastfeeding much easier for you and your little one. Even though this product may not be needed for all mothers and their babies, many would agree that it benefits new mums who may be experiencing physical pain and discomfort while breastfeeding.
However, other products can also be used to provide extra support, such as a nursing stool. In addition, some mothers find that using a nursing pillow interferes with positioning their babies at the breast for a good latch-on.
Nonetheless, to find the best nursing pillow for your needs, try out various types and sizes until you find the one that works best for you and your baby.
Sources and References
- Benefits of a Nursing Pillow: What You Should Know – baby-chick.com
- Five Nursing Pillow Uses & Benefits – thetot.com
- Feeding Pillow: Benefits and How To Use It – parenting.firstcry.com
Sophie is a former primary school teacher and passionate about parenting. She enjoys writing, reading, cooking, and making memories with her family.