What to Know About Nursing Pillows

Medically Reviewed by Mahammad Juber, MD on May 04, 2022
5 min read

Nursing pillows are not only the ideal way to get your baby used to lying on their side but also keep you both comfortable. So if you're currently shopping around for a nursing pillow, this article may help you make a more informed decision about the best nursing pillows for back pain. You'll be able to start taking care of your and your baby's health when the two of you lay down together.

Nursing pillows — also called feeding pillows or breastfeeding pillows — are an essential part of nursing supplies that a new mother will need. They are designed to make breastfeeding more convenient and comfortable and are great for anyone who wants to take the pressure off their neck and back, which can get sore from holding their arm up for extended periods of time.

A nursing pillow is made specifically for this purpose — it's an inflatable or foam cushion that comfortably cradles your baby while you breastfeed. You'll still need a regular pillow to lean against and support the weight of your baby, but a good nursing pillow can make the process much easier.

There are several kinds of nursing pillows on the market. However, to find the best one for you, it's important to be familiar with the different kinds of nursing pillows on the market.

U-shaped pillow. The U-shaped pillow is one of the most popular nursing pillows on the market. It's shaped like a “U” and designed for comfort and support when feeding.

Boppy Nursing Pillow.The Boppy Original Nursing Pillow is designed to position baby for a better latch and provide ergonomic support and back relief when nursing, bottle feeding and bonding with baby. The c-shaped design allows for multiple feeding styles—cradle, cross cradle, football hold and bottle feeding. It is fiber-filled with a removable cover for easy washing. Both the pillow and the cover are machine washable. The beltless design allows for an easy, one-handed placement with no fuss, and the Miracle Middle panel provides a seam-free connection with your body for a more comfortable fit for c-sections or stomach tenderness after birth.

Adjustable pillow. An adjustable nursing pillow has a zipper on the side, which allows you to adjust the size of the pillow. Its smaller side is usually used to cradle your baby's head while breastfeeding, and its other side can be used as a support when your baby is lying on your lap.

My Brest Friend. This is the best nursing pillow for moms who're new to breastfeeding and need an extra hand. It wraps around your waist and attaches securely with velcro, providing the much-needed support for your arms as well as your belly.

Twin Z pillow. The Twin Z Pillow is a great choice for pregnant women and new moms. It offers support for both the baby and the mother. The pillow is shaped like a "Z," which helps you easily nurse twin babies at the same time. With this pillow, both the mother and the babies can have their own space without feeling crowded.

Apart from nursing, these are some other nursing pillow uses.

Feeding. A nursing pillow is primarily designed to aid breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. During breastfeeding, it helps you raise your newborn up to your breast while supporting your back, shoulders, and arms.

Sleeping. A good pillow will support your head and neck as you sleep, keeping your spine aligned and neck muscles relaxed, which is why many people choose to use a nursing pillow instead of a normal one.

Tummy time. Your baby can use this pillow as a prop when they are lying on their stomach and lifting themselves up on an elbow while playing with toys. This is great for the development of muscle strength in your baby.

If you're wondering how to use a nursing pillow, here are some tips:

  • Sit in a comfortable position. When you're ready to nurse, place the pillow behind your back and lean into it. The pillow will give you support as you sit upright, making it easier to hold your baby comfortably and reducing the strain on your neck, shoulders, and back. If you're nursing while lying down, slide the pillow under your head and upper body to raise them up and make positioning easier.
  • Position the nursing pillow correctly. A good way to use the nursing pillow is to place it on your lap and put your baby on the pillow while the baby is facing you. When you're breastfeeding, your baby should be lying down on their stomach. When bottle-feeding, they should be sitting up with their back against the pillow.
  • Place the baby on the nursing pillow. It's important that your baby is properly positioned on the nursing pillow so that you and your baby are comfortable during feeding. Place them on the pillow at a 45-degree angle, which will make it easier for them to latch on.
  • Adjust baby's position. Once you know where to place your baby on the pillow, you can use adjustments to help achieve the best possible nipple position. When your baby is latched correctly, they're able to maintain a deep and tight seal around your nipple without any effort on their part, which will result in increased flow and better milk transfer.

Nursing pillows are great for supporting babies when breastfeeding, but they're not made to be used as sleep aids. Using a nursing pillow for sleep can be dangerous for them.

It's recommended that babies be placed on their backs, on a firm surface, free of any pillows or soft bedding. This means that when you put your baby down to sleep, remove any pillows or soft bedding from your baby's crib. Apparently, this is not limited to cribs. Even nursing pillows have been found to increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Nursing pillows are a valuable asset to baby and mother bonding because they promote comfort and allow parents to get close to the baby while nursing. Choosing the best breastfeeding pillow is important — which can also be used afterward for propping the baby in place during tummy time. Making sure you choose a quality product will keep you from wasting money on a pillow that doesn't work for you and your baby.