How to Find the Best Nursing Pillow for Ultimate Breastfeeding Comfort (2018 Reviews)
Finding a comfortable position when breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Do you constantly struggle to find something that works for both you and your baby?
If it feels like you’ve tried every position short of standing on your head and you still can’t find one you can live with, let us help you find the best nursing pillow that suits your needs.
Quick Comparison: Our Top 5 Picks
Plus Size Women
*All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read our in-depth nursing pillow reviews below.
What is a Nursing Pillow Used For?
Nursing pillows are used for a variety of reasons and one of them happens before your baby is even born.
Nursing pillows can provide a lot of relief for your aching back both before a baby is born and after. They can also be used to facilitate baby tummy time, to aid in sitting and more.
After you bring your baby home, you may find that your back pain is even worse than it was in late pregnancy. That can continue for up to six weeks so you may find yourself wanting some extra support in that area.
More in Nursing Pillows: 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Boppy Pillow
But nursing pillows also help at feeding time, as the name indicates. It can help you find a comfortable position that works for both you and your baby. It’s good to use for breastfed or bottle fed babies.
Are Nursing Pillows Necessary?
A new mom can definitely get by without a nursing pillow -- women have managed to raise children without them for hundreds of years, after all. But just because you can get by without one, it doesn’t mean they aren’t helpful.
A Worthwhile Investment:
If you have the extra money and you can afford to buy one, they are a great purchase to make because they can take the strain off of your lower back and off of your arms and shoulders while you are holding your baby.
Even though babies don’t weigh much, you have to keep in mind that you hold them for a long time every single day. I hated whenever my babies were out of my arms and I fit in as much cuddle time as I could. But that led to a lot of sore muscles.
With a nursing pillow, your baby can be elevated up some so you aren’t the only one doing the heavy lifting. That can ease some of the strain you’ll feel in your muscles.
Related Reading: When Do I Stop Using my Nursing Pillow?
What Are the Different Kinds of Nursing Pillows?
There are several different shapes and sizes of nursing pillows to help moms with their aches, pains and feeding issues.
One of the most common are the pillows that look like a letter C. Because the Boppy brand of this type of pillow is so popular with moms, many women call these boppy pillows whether they are made by that brand or not.
A great perk about these pillows is that they are perfectly shaped to help your baby when it’s almost ready to sit up on its own. You should never use it for that purpose without closely supervising your baby, but when used correctly, it can be a big help.
There are also bigger pillows shaped like a horseshoe that are used for feeding twins. In addition to those, other popular pillow shapes are a triangle, rectangle and boomerang pillows.
More in Nursing Pillows: Boppy vs My Brest Friend - Which Is Better?
How Do You Use a Nursing Pillow?
The way you use a nursing pillow depends on how you position yourself during breastfeeding (source).
- If you’re sitting down on a comfortable chair while breastfeeding and your child is positioned across your lap, you can use the pillow to give your baby’s head and neck support – that’s particularly important for newborns and young babies who don’t have much neck strength.
- If you feed your baby in a manner where he is positioned on your side and you’re holding him under your arm like a football, pillows will help place you or your baby comfortably and correctly.
- If you opt to feed your baby while you’re lying on your back, your body will be your baby’s pillow so you don’t need to have a nursing pillow in this case, unless it makes you more comfortable.
- Even if you choose to bottle feed, nursing pillows can help support the baby, so you don’t constantly strain your muscles to hold the baby up for feedings. That’s particularly useful if the mom had a C-section delivery.
Some nights my shoulders, neck, and arms were so tight and painful from trying to hold my baby in position for so long that I felt like I was participating in some kind of physical endurance challenge. It hurt, and I wasn’t prepared for that as a new mom.
What Should I Look For in a Nursing Pillow?
The main things to consider when searching for the perfect nursing pillow are:
- The fit: You want the pillow to fit you comfortably, particularly if it’s a wrap-around pillow. You don’t want it pressing uncomfortably against your back.
- The height of the pillow: If you’re using it for breastfeeding, it needs to be the perfect height for your baby to find a proper latch. If it goes up too high or too low on your midsection, it won’t work. You need to find that just-right Goldilocks zone.
- How easy it is to clean: If you’re using it for nursing, at some point, it’s going to get a bit nasty and will need a good washing. If it doesn’t have a cover you can take off and throw in the washing machine, washing it is going to be tricky.
Nursing Pillow Reviews
Now that you know why you might need a nursing pillow, how to use one, and exactly what to look for --
Here are our 5 favorite products in 2018:
Best All Round Breastfeeding Pillow
Breastfeeding requires a lot of coordination, creative thinking, and an iron will. You are going to fail at so many things when you begin breastfeeding. The key is never to give up and to look for anything that will help you on your mission. A great breastfeeding pillow is one tool you’ll want to assist you in your way.
This nursing pillow has a super soft slipcover that moms should love, and the best part is that it stays soft after multiple trips through the washing machine.
The pillow also has room for mom’s arm and elbow to rest which helps for those who suffer from fatigued shoulder muscles from holding up the baby for extended periods.
Since this pillow wraps around moms, it stays put, thanks to its fastening strap and latch. Moms may especially appreciate the backrest that gives them added support when they need it most.
- This pillow addresses every area of pain a new mom feels from breastfeeding, other than her breast.
- Helps the baby stay at just the right height for breastfeeding.
- The flat surface stops the baby from rolling out of position.
- Difficult to put on with one hand.
- It doesn’t fit plus-size women well.
Best Nursing Pillow For Bottle Feeding
Bottle feeding presents challenges, although not as many as breastfeeding. When one parent does most of the bottle feeding, it can lead to sore muscles in multiple places. Having a pillow to raise the height of the baby who is sitting on a parent’s lap can save moms from the pain of stiff, aching muscles.
Made of polyester and cotton, this pillow can be used to position bottle fed babies in a way that takes the strain off of their mother’s sore arm, shoulder and back muscles. It doesn’t just help moms – it can provide neck and head support for babies during their bottle time.
Slipcovers for the pillow can be bought separately and are machine washable. Mothers may appreciate how versatile this pillow is – it can be used for years, not just the short time your baby is fed from a bottle. The Boppy pillow can even be used to prop up your newborn during picture times.
- This pillow is affordable, especially when you factor in its versatility.
- The soft fabric makes it good for soft, sensitive baby skin.
- Can help babies learn to enjoy tummy time.
- There is no back support with this pillow.
- The rounded top of the pillow can cause your baby to roll or turn inward during feeding.
- Not a good choice for plus-size women.
Best Nursing Pillow For Plus-Size Moms
Moms come in all shapes and sizes. Even moms who weren’t packing much extra weight before pregnancy can find themselves in plus-size territory because all the weight they gained while carrying their baby doesn’t vanish overnight once the baby is born. Finding a pillow that fits and is comfortable is an important priority for moms of any weight.
Moms who wear a larger size may want to invest in this pillow, which is designed in a completely different shape than many other popular nursing pillows.
Shaped more like a boomerang, this pillow doesn’t have a backside that uses a fastener. Women who have had a C-section may like that this pillow doesn’t sit too close to their bodies, which often irritates the sensitive incision area.
Made in the U.S., these pillows use a soft fabric both mothers and babies might enjoy. Flame retardant chemicals aren’t used on these pillows, which moms of babies with sensitive skin might appreciate.
- The slipcovers are easy to get on and off.
- Large enough to support a variety of body types.
- More decorative than a nursing pillow – visitors to your house might think it’s a regular pillow if they see it on your couch.
- Its large size doesn’t work well for travel.
- Pricier than many other nursing pillows.
Best Nursing Pillow For Twins
Twins are twice the fun, except when it comes to feeding time. Feeding two babies presents its own set of challenges, particularly if they need to be fed at the same time. If you are the mom of twins, you need a nursing pillow that can accommodate two babies at once, while providing you with the support and comfort you need.
This pillow is specifically designed for twins and the unique situation they create when it comes to feeding time.
Parents of twins should appreciate how much back support this pillow provides for a nursing mother who is often struggling under the weight of holding two babies.
Mothers of twins will be able to breastfeed in any position that a mother of a single would with the Twin Z pillow. It isn’t a lightweight pillow – it weighs about 6 pounds.
The outside of the pillow is made of cotton, which feels soft. It has a buckle to keep it securely in place.
- Babies can be positioned on the floor side by side on their backs after feeding time is over.
- Works well for larger women.
- Because most chairs won’t be big enough for feeding twins, you’ll need to use this while on the floor, couch or a bed.
- Because of its size, this pillow isn’t ideal for traveling.
- It is expensive, about twice the price of single pillows.
Best Travel Nursing Pillow
Finding a comfortable nursing pillow you can take on the road with you can be tricky. Your regular nursing pillow is likely too big to make the trip because it will take up too much trunk space or won’t fit in a carry-on bag for an airplane. You need something a little smaller that will work in a pinch.
Just when you thought there weren’t any good options for a travel nursing pillow, this one proves you wrong.
This pillow is perfect for moms, but dads won’t feel foolish using it either. It’s a pillow designed much like a toddler’s swim floaties – it just slides over your forearm to give support to your feeding baby while not straining your muscles.
It also props a baby’s head up enough that it will help lessen the chance of acid reflux from awkward feeding positions.
The small convenient travel size pillow is machine washable.
- Easy to use.
- Fits in a diaper bag.
- It doesn’t provide back support for moms.
- The pillow doesn’t have a variety of uses.
My Favorite Is...
When you are considering the best pillow solely for nursing, My Brest Friend takes the cake because of its outstanding back support and its fastener which helps it stay put.
The flat surface is a great feature so your baby will stay exactly where you want her with no rolling or shifting during feeding, which could cause her break her latch on your breast.
Even though this pillow isn’t as versatile as the Boppy, it offers the best features for nursing purposes. If you are considering the long-term use and don’t mind that the Boppy isn’t quite as good for nursing as My Brest Friend is, the Boppy is still an outstanding choice.