Originally, nursing pillows were meant to hold up babies that are still too young to sit on their own. With time, it became much more popular among nursing mothers who use it to support their babies, thus making breastfeeding easier both for themselves and for their babies. Anyone who has nursed a baby before would know that breastfeeding is a workout. Truth is, it is actually difficult to concentrate on other things while nursing a baby. As a matter of fact, a good nursing mother should give her undivided attention to nursing her baby if she wants the baby to grow healthy. A nursing mum should eat healthy, stay clean, drink lots of water, and get nursing items like pacifier, nursing clothes, nursing pads, baby carrier, and the right nursing pillow.
What is a Nursing Pillow?
A nursing pillow is a special kind of pillow meant specifically for nursing mums to help them while they feed their babies. It does not matter if it is a case of exclusive breast feeding or formula feeding; nursing pillows are great for feeding babies. They are not like the regular sleeping pillows or throw pillows with a straight jacket shape and size. They are shaped to support the whole of the baby’s body and bring the baby close enough to the mother for a proper latch as the baby feeds.
It is not rare to come across people who do not know what a nursing pillow is, especially new mums and mums to be, who probably did not attend any prep classes. A good number of people who know what it is but have not used it probably think it is unnecessary and at most can be substituted for with the regular pillows if the need ever arises. The reality is that nursing takes a lot of time. An average newborn baby breastfeeds about eight to ten times in one day. Each breastfeeding session lasting for at least twenty minutes, and in some serious cases, one hour. This goes on every blessed day for months and people still think there is no need for a nursing pillow? There certainly is need for a nursing pillow.
General Description of a Nursing Pillow
Here is a brief description of a nursing pillow for a better understanding of what a nursing pillow is
- It is made in a cushion like style which gives the baby and the mother a relaxed feeling. A nice easy to wash clothing cover and stuffed with quality fluffy and comfy materials like fiber and cottons. These stuffing help hold the pillow in shape.
- It comes in semi-circular shapes, circular shapes, or something close to that. Whatever be the case, the curve is always a crucial part of a nursing pillow. It promotes the natural way a baby usually have to curve close around the mother while breastfeeding.
- Some of these nursing pillows come with fastening systems. These fastening systems give the pillow the best fit it can as well as keep the pillow from slipping while the baby feeds.
- Some of these nursing pillows also come with a back support for the baby and a head support too.
How best to use a Nursing Pillow
If you must get the best out of a nursing pillow, you must know how to use it. At the initial stage, nursing tends to prove difficult, particularly for new mums who have never had such nursing experience in the past. It is even more so without a nursing pillow. Prep classes are great, they give you an idea of what is to come and how to handle things efficiently; but there is an actual difference between what these prep classes have to offer and reality where there is an actual baby in need of food. There are usually much more demands than what was anticipated earlier on and a lot of question start to pour in
- How do I hold the baby for so long so my back would not ache?
- How close am I supposed to hold the baby?
- Can I breastfeed the baby without having to carry him or her?
All these issues and more can be addressed if you have the right knowledge on how to use a nursing pillow and what type of nursing pillow is best for you and you baby.
Here are some helpful tips on how to use a nursing pillow
- Position the pillow around your waist and adjust the height of the pillow to your comfort. If the pillow has a backrest, make sure it is placed towards your back.
- Hold the pillow in place by fastening the belt or the Velcro. Most pillows have adjustable straps which help the pillow to fit cozily. Use those straps to ensure your comfort and that of your baby as well.
- In a seated position, place your baby on the pillow and proceed with the feeding session.
Note that this process does not apply only to breastfeeding mums. It applies to bottle feeding too.
Who needs a Nursing Pillow?
Every nursing mum needs a nursing pillow. If you are having a hard time using a nursing pillow, it is probably because you are not using the right nursing pillow for you and you baby. With the right nursing pillow, there is so much benefit.
All babies need nursing pillows so they can get a good posture, a good latch and a good supply of food while they feed. Bad posture during breast feeding can cause the baby not to feed properly. If the baby does not get a good latch, there is a disconnection between the baby and the mother. Lack of a good latch takes away the bonding experience that should exist between mother and child while the child is being fed. It can also make the baby not to get good supply of food, thereby causing the baby to be underfed or extending the feeding period to a great long length of time. To avoid this, a nursing pillow can go a long way. Be careful not to pick just any nursing pillow, make sure you pick the right pillow for you and your baby.
Nursing pillows are needful to nursing mothers as much as they are to their babies. However, there are some conditions where the use of a nursing pillow is inevitable
- Back Ach Relief: Breastfeeding takes a lot of toll on breastfeeding mothers. If care is not taken, it would be an ugly experience. Nursing mothers experience things like back ache and weakness as a result of breast feeding. The major cause of this sort of backache is bad posture while breast feeding the baby. You have to hold the baby in uncomfortable positions for so long for at least eight times in a day? That is for sure one way of getting backache. If that is the case with you, then you most definitely need a nursing pillow. There are nursing pillows that come with backrests for proper back support during breast feeding. They keep both the mother and the baby in a proper posture during breast feeding.
- Recovery After CS Delivery: Nursing pillows are also very helpful in CS recovery. Immediately after a baby is born is the best time to start breastfeeding. It may be a little tricky for breastfeeding mothers that conceived with CS considering that they are still under the effect of meds and spinal/epidural syndrome. In most cases, mothers that delivered through CS have to breastfeed their baby while lying down as a result of their condition. A nursing pillow can be used to prop up the baby during breast feeding, maintain good posture and support, as well as a good latch. This gives the baby the coziness and bonding needed between mother and child, CS or not.
The Use of Pregnancy Pillows as a Nursing Pillow
You might be asking yourself “Can I use my pregnancy pillow as a nursing pillow?” The answer is YES, you can use your pregnancy pillow as a nursing pillow. Pregnancy pillows are designed to help you get the best sleep you can at nights during your pregnancy period. They are really great for pregnant women, but it does not end there. The goodness that pregnancy pillows have to offer goes way beyond pregnancy period to nursing periods.
Pregnancy pillows are not the typical nursing pillows but they can be converted to serve the purpose. They are long enough and can go around a nursing mother to give her back support and as well support the baby during a feeding session. Since it brings about a good latch, proper back support for the mother, and a good posture for the baby, then why not?
Just like the typical nursing pillows, pregnancy pillows come in different shapes and sizes.
Types of Nursing Pillows
- Shape: Basically, nursing pillows come in the shape of a crescent, a circle, or a semi-circle
- Crescent shape: This type of nursing pillow offers support only for the baby and probably a little rest for the mother’s hand while feeding the baby. Mostly, they have straps with which the pillow can be held in place but it does not come with back support for the mother. It is ideal for younger and restful babies. It is also great for mothers that delivered through CS and have to breastfeed their babies lying down.
- Semi circular-shape: With the circular shaped pillow, the baby can breast feed at ease and the mother can rest her hand comfortably on the pillow while she breast feeds the baby. It comes with fastening systems to help hold the baby in place. This type of pillow is great for babies that are a bit older and restful, or wiggly newborns.
- Circular shape: Obviously, this type of nursing pillow is meant for every kind of baby; older babies, newborns, wiggly, restful. It gives support for the baby and also a cushion for the mother to rest her back while breast feeding the baby. Its fastening system holds to pillow close enough to the mother and in place too.
- Fit: When it comes to the fit of a nursing pillow, the pillows are either strapless or strapped. Some pillows come with straps to keep it in place and support the baby comfortably. A lot of other nursing pillows are simpler with no straps at all.
- Material: The cover material and the stuffing of the pillow can make a huge difference since it contributes to the feel of the pillow. The stuffing of a nursing pillow can be anything like 100% cotton, 100% synthetic, or a synthetic cotton blend. The same applies to the cover materials. Truth is, it all boils down to personal preferences. Easy to wash materials are also handy considering that you have to keep the pillow neat for the baby.
To get the best out of your nursing pillows, be sure to observe your baby and carry out extensive research to know what is best for you and your baby. Getting a professional advice is also one way to stay in track especially if you have some health conditions like back ache or in the recovery process of a CS operation.
Things To Look Out for When Choosing a Nursing Pillow
Here are some tips on what to look out for when choosing a nursing pillow. These tips would give you an idea of what is best for you and your baby and also help you make the right decisions
- Support and comfort: A nursing pillow with the right support and comfort would make a lot of difference. Look out for snugly fitting and height good enough to get you baby close enough to feed comfortably.
- Easy use: The minutest details can make a nursing pillow easy to use, do not neglect those details. Tiny things like what type of fastening system it came with, the shape, the height, and even stuffing, can make a difference.
- Portability: If you and you baby are on the go, you might want to consider a portable nursing pillow. There are cute nursing pillows shaped like a hand bag which you can carry with you anytime you have to take your baby out. Some others are inflatable; all you need do is inflate it when you need to use it and deflate it after you are done.
- Materials: Go for a material that is comfy to the skin with easy to wash covers so that you can easily change and wash the pillow cover as often as possible.
The Best Nursing Pillows of 2016 and Their Rewiews
This is one of the nursing pillows that get high demands all the time. It is the semi-circular type of nursing pillow with an inbuilt stretch panel to fit any waist size. This stretch panel allows it to extend round a wide waist and still get back to its original position when removed. So you do not have to worry if the pillow would fit after you shed your pregnancy weight.
Boppy nursing pillow is made from 10% cotton material and 90% polyester. Polyester on the inside and cotton on the outside to avoid any reactions to the baby as well as providing a significant natural component for warmth, wicking, and weather proof. They are made in the US and exported to different countries around the world. Boppy nursing pillows are easy to use and completely machine washable.
For newborns, boppy nursing pillow is a great option. It helps them strengthens their muscle and build good coordination as they grow. It makes for a good latch and posture while feeding the baby.
Read full review of this pillow here.
This is a nursing pillow that is great for nursing mothers who do not like synthetic materials for themselves and their babies. It is made from 100% pure cotton and that is as natural as it can be. Some babies react to synthetic materials because some of these unnatural materials are not soft and rub harshly on the body. Cotton materials are soft, permits better aeration, do not hold moisture, are very durable, and easy to use.
My brest friend original nursing pillow comes with back supports which allow nursing mothers to sit comfortably for a long time while feeding the baby. This nursing pillow is a good option for nursing mothers with back ache. It wraps around the mother securing a healthy and firm position to keep the baby from slipping in the middle of a feeding session. It also provides support for the nursing mother to reduce arm, shoulder, and neck stress.
By the side of My brest friend nursing pillow is a pocket that can hold things like a feeding bottle, phone, napkins, and other items that needs to be within your reach as you feed your baby.
Full review of My Brest Friend Original Nursing Pillow available here.
The boppy newborn lounger nursing pillow is great for new born babies that weigh up to 16 pounds. It is designed for babies’ wake time as they comfortably coo and kick. It has a recessed central to help support your baby’s bottom. This recessed central brings a balance between the baby’s back and waist as well as helps the baby’s coordination.
Boppy newborn lounger is made from a soft fabric that is very easy to wipe and maintain. This goes a long way to reduce the stress that comes with the constant mess that babies make. Furthermore, boppy newborn lounger has a handle that makes it super portable and easy to carry along with you if you have to take your baby out.
Boppy newborn lounger is a perfect hold for your baby while you attend to other things. The lounger keeps the baby comfortably and safely. It is structured in a way that ensures the baby does not roll and fell off. It is not right to leave your baby unattended, but if for any reason, you have to focus on something for a little while, you can leave your baby close to you in a boppy newborn lounger to make sure the baby is safe while you eyes are elsewhere.
Boppy Newborn Lounger full review is available here.
Nursing pillows are bound to make life easier for you and your baby. Breastfeeding should be a pleasant experience; it is not meant to stress you out or give you body aches. Take your time, invest in a good nursing pillow and it sure would help you and your baby by a long shot. Do not forget to get the nursing pillow right for you and your baby, the right shape, the right size, and the right material. With all that in place, you are sure going to have a happy breastfeeding experience.