As an expecting mother, you’ve likely been told once or twice that you need to have a nursing pillow on your baby registry. But . . . why? Well, unlike other highly marketed and gimmicky products for pregnant mothers, nursing pillows are actually helpful. And if you stick around, we’ll cover all the amazing benefits of getting one (one hint, your back will be thanking you forever).
What is a nursing pillow?
A nursing pillow can be misleading because, though the intent was to support babies during feedings, they also have plenty of benefits that extend beyond just feedings (or nursing). Nursing pillows typically come in a U-shape or fully wrap-around option to help prop and support your baby during feedings. These days, you can choose from a variety of styles as well. You can get a nursing pillow that is elevated on one side, double-sided, has pockets, and more! They’re getting quite fancy if we do say so ourselves.
Benefits of a Nursing Pillow
There are many awesome benefits of a nursing pillow. Let’s dive right in!
1. Helps Support Baby While Breastfeeding
That’s right. Nursing pillows are great for doing what they were originally intended to do: support the baby while breastfeeding. Most breastfeeding mothers can agree that it’s a pain in the back and neck to hold and nurse your baby simultaneously. To alleviate and prevent those pains, in comes the nursing pillow!
You simply wedge the pillow around your body (strap it in place if you have an all-around pillow), slide it upwards so that when you place the baby on the pillow, your breast is perfectly aligned to their mouth without having to bend forward at all. It’s best if you can find a seat to recline back lightly, which will help bring the baby in extra close to your chest. If you find yourself still bending down and putting excessive strain on your back and neck, it’s time to readjust your pillow.
2. Helps Support Baby While Bottle Feeding
Nursing pillows are also great for bottle feeding! Whether mom, dad, or anyone else is giving baby a bottle, a nursing pillow can be used the same way as nursing moms! I always found our pillow extra helpful when my husband gave a bottle and practiced pace feedings. It allowed him to control the bottle better, knowing our baby was secure between his body and the pillow on one side while the other was managing the bottle.
3. Reduces Pressure on C-Section Incision
If you had a C-section, a nursing pillow will be your best friend. They are wonderful to help moms hold their babies while recovering from a C-section. Nursing pillows are a great buffer between the baby and mom’s incision. It helps to prevent excessive pressure on the incision site. Make sure to bring the pillow with you to the hospital if you have a planned C-section (and check out our full hospital bag packing list here for more packing tips).
4. Promotes Tummy Time
Most u-shaped nursing pillows, such as The Boppy, are wonderful to help prop up the baby for tummy time. The Boppy pillow can work to help prop up babies 3+ months of age, support the tummy of babies 6+ months of age, and support a sitting position for babies 9+ months of age. Another wonderful reason nursing pillows have so many benefits beyond feeding.
Note: Always make sure that you are near your baby while they are on the nursing pillow. You don’t want to leave your little one unattended, sitting or laying on the nursing pillow whether they are awake or asleep.
5. Postnatal Perineum Pain Relief
Nursing pillows can also come in handy when recovering from a vaginal delivery. It’s common for mothers to experience some perineum pain and swelling after birth. This is due to the sensitive tissue tearing, needing an episiotomy, or just having excess pressure from all the pushing during labor. It makes sitting down on firm surfaces incredibly uncomfortable. Moms can sit on top of the pillow, eliminating direct contact between a hard surface and her already painful perineum. This is helpful to use in places like in the car, on the floor, in your bed if you have a firm mattress, and so forth.
6. Helps Babies with Reflux
If you have a baby with reflux, using a nursing pillow to prop your baby up after their feed (and after their burping) is incredibly helpful. This position allows your baby to be upward after their feed which helps to prevent stomach content from backing upwards into their esophagus.
7. Helps Siblings Hold the Baby
If you have older children, they will (most likely) be excited to hold their new sibling. But with newborns having little to no head, neck, or trunk control, it’s important to help big brother or big sister hold the baby with proper support. This is where a nursing pillow can help! Place the pillow on your older child’s lap as they sit on a couch or bed and then place your sweet newborn in their arms resting on the nursing pillow. You will love witnessing a precious bond build while also feeling good that the baby is being supported.
Now that you know all the positive benefits of a nursing pillow, which is on your wish list?