Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to bond with your baby and one of the most gratifying experiences of motherhood. Breastfeeding is a learned experience and part of the experience is learning how to breastfeed comfortably. Frequent breastfeeding can leave you achy and sore. A nursing pillow keeps your baby at the right height for breastfeeding and reduces the strain on your arms, neck, and back. Holding a baby at the proper height to breastfeed is tiring, no matter how light your baby!
Nursing pillows come in different shapes and sizes. You want a nursing pillow shaped like a horse shoe that fits snugly around your waist. It should be firm, at least 4.5 inches high and wide all the way around. This will let you breastfeed in a variety of positions. It will also elevate your baby to the proper height so they can latch on easily. This will stop you from bending over to reach your baby and may help to eliminate nipple soreness.
If you had a caesarean section or an episiotomy, your baby's weight can put pressure on your incision making the cradle and cross-cradle breastfeeding positions uncomfortable or painful. A breastfeeding pillow can help take the pressure off of your healing c-section incision while you breastfeed.
Breastfeeding pillows are covered in 100% cotton or velour and stuffed with a polyurethane foam or poly-fiber fill. Most are hypoallergenic and can be machine-washed and machine dried or hung to dry. Many are equipped with a back strap offering extra support and back relief. Nursing pillows are available with removable covers in a variety of patterns, and a storage pocket to keep water, burp cloths, or diapers close at hand.
You can also use nursing pillows for bottle feeding, propping your baby up to look around, supporting your baby when learning to sit and develop neck strength, and for tummy-time support.
Nursing pillows do not fit well in rocking chairs and gliders, but they are not intended for use in rocking chairs and gliders. The arms on rocking chairs and gliders are too high and put you in a poor position for nursing. To remain comfortable while breastfeeding and to make sure you are getting the most out of your nursing pillow, stick to couches, beds, and straight-back chairs.
- One of the first things I purchased was a Boppy Original Nursing & Feeding Pillow and I am glad that I did. I used it almost every time I nursed my daughter – without it, my shoulders would have been aching. It provided a comfortable place for my daughter to rest while she nursed and it placed her at just the right height while reducing the strain on my arms and shoulders. When playing with my daughter, I slipped the pillow around her for support and laid her down on the pillow when she was napping beside me to keep her on the sofa or bed. It was one of the best gifts I gave to myself. After almost two years of regular use, my Boppy has flattened out, but it will be one of the first things I buy the next time around as well.