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How to Use A Nursing Pillow and How to Choose Yours

Many new and expectant mothers can benefit from nursing pillows. These pillows often make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable for both the mother and baby. Learning how to use a nursing pillow can help provide support and added safety while breastfeeding.

Nursing pillows are generally U-shaped pillow that goes around a mother’s midsection during breastfeeding. It also provides many other added benefits, such as back support and ensuring the baby stays in the correct position during feeding. This guide will help parents learn how to use a nursing pillow, along with how to find a pillow for breastfeeding that best benefits them.

Keep your newborn baby warm and cozy during feedings with the Boppy Wearable Blanket.

What Makes A Nursing Pillow Different?

While a quick Google search may tell new or expecting parents that they can use any pillow as a breastfeeding pillow, there are drastic differences between regular pillows and nursing pillows.

A baby nursing pillow is specifically designed to help keep a baby’s body aligned with the mother’s breasts as they nurse. This is generally the easiest breastfeeding position for newborns and mothers alike, as it also helps reduce back, arm, and neck back for the mother.

Nursing pillows also are more dense than regular pillows, keeping the baby’s full body supported. Many breastfeeding pillows, including Boppy nursing pillows, also come with washable covers, making them much easier to clean than regular pillows that should instead be for the couch or guest rooms.

In fact, Boppy nursing pillows have even been voted as’s favorite feeding support pillow due to our use of organic materials, supported tummy time benefits, and ergonomic support.

Do You Really Need A Nursing Pillow?

While new or expecting parents aren’t required to get a feeding pillow, regular pillows often don’t provide the support or shape that both mothers and babies need during nursing. The shape of nursing pillows provides some of the best breastfeeding positions newborns need.

Use our Baby Registry Guide so you don’t miss any essentials for your list like the Boppy Support Nursing Pillow.

How to Choose Your Nursing Pillow

Choosing the right breastfeeding support pillow can provide multiple benefits for both mother and baby during the feeding process. However, how do you know what nursing pillow will work best for you? Some basic considerations to keep in mind when choosing a nursing pillow include:

  • Material: Having a soft and breathable material is especially important for the baby’s comfort. Look for pillows that are made of cotton or a polyblend because this material is soft and quick drying making clean up and care easier.
  • Adjustable Strap: An adjustable strap isn’t necessary for your nursing pillow but some families prefer it to help hold the pillow in place. If you would like a strap, you can find ones with an adjustable belt or a nursing pillow with a tie.
  • C-Shape or U-Shape: There are some feeding pillows that also come in a C-shape, meaning that they hug the front and side of the body instead of going all the way around. This style hugs your sides and it is especially helpful for football holds and cradle positions while nursing.
  • Easy to Clean: Feeding can lead to milk spills, spit-up, and other messes. Looking for a nursing pillow that is easy to clean and has washable covers is important for continued use.
  • Versatility: It’s becoming increasingly common to choose extended nursing which makes nursing pillows for breastfeeding a great addition to your home. Extended nursing means that families choose to breastfeed anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. But once that journey ends, nursing pillows are still beneficial to comfortably hold baby for bonding and feeding, keeping families comfortable while they relax together, or as an added toy for playtime. 
  • Support for Parent and Baby: Not all nursing pillows provide the same level of support. Make sure that you look for a pillow that provides the support both you and your child need with the proper shape, style, and density like you’ll find with the Boppy nursing pillow.
  • Aesthetic Preferences: Lastly, many nursing pillows come in multiple styles and colors, so choosing a nursing pillow that aligns with your preferences can bring more joy and comfort. 

Can You Use a Nursing Pillow For Bottle Feeding?

Many mothers either choose not to breastfeed or are not able to for many reasons. However, whether you choose to breastfeed or use a bottle, your family is likely spending 5-6 hours a day feeding your newborn. In fact, the average mother spends 1,800 hours a year breastfeeding! Compare that to the 1,960 hours spent at a full time job and it’s easy to understand that nursing is hard work.

Using a nursing pillow for feeding helps with arm and back fatigue, as children’s heads often have to be held at a slightly higher angle.Whether you exclusively breastfeed, bottle feed, or combo feed between both options, a nursing pillow can add support and comfort.

Additionally, like many aspects of early parenting, creating a routine is part of helping your child grow and develop. The ritual of getting a nursing pillow, and adjusting comfortably, signals that it’s time to eat whether the baby is with mom, dad, grandma, or the babysitter.

All of this later helps families who are weaning their children from nursing, adjusting to changing wake windows or finding new activities for playtime as your baby grows.

How to Use A Nursing Pillow

Learning the nursing process with the Boppy pillow can help you and your child stay supported and comfortable during feeding time. While using a nursing pillow is relatively straightforward, for some women, there are other factors to keep in mind as well, such as:

  • C-Section Healing: Following a C-section, many mothers have pain or difficulty moving. These women need to ensure that they use a nursing pillow that is fitted to their body to help reduce wound pain or other issues. Using a football breastfeeding position is also highly recommended.
  • Multiple Children: Having twins, triplets, or more children can also affect how to use a Boppy pillow. If a mother has twins, for example, they will of course need more space for support. This is where either multiple nursing pillows or a C-shaped pillow can help the breastfeeding process.
  • Body Type: Body type may also affect how someone uses a nursing pillow. Parents need to ensure they have a properly fitted pillow to their body type in order to see the most benefits. A more traditional C-shaped nursing pillow can work for many, but if you’re searching for a wider pillow that’s flexible with great padding, and an adjustable belt, the Boppy Best Latch was designed with a lactation consultant for every body.

After taking the above factors into consideration, parents will be ready to learn how to use a nursing pillow. In order to use a nursing pillow, parents should follow these steps: 

1. Decide A Position For You and Your Baby

Placing the baby in the right position helps ensure that they have an easier time latching while also reducing issues such as gastric reflux or issues with swallowing. The position that often works the best with a nursing pillow is when the baby is lying on their side and facing the person feeding them. This is called the cradle position, and it helps both you and your newborn get used to how to use the pillow. This is one of the most common breastfeeding positions for newborns.

However, depending on the person, there are also other positions for how to hold the baby that they may decide on. These can include:

  • Football/rugby hold
  • Cross-cradle hold

2. Adjust Nursing Pillow Comfortably Around Waist

    Having good posture while nursing is incredibly important. If you’re not careful, you’ll strain your neck, back, and even your arms which can lead to ongoing pain and discomfort. A nursing pillow alleviates discomfort by bringing the baby closer to you instead of having to hunch forward.

    When it’s time to feed, adjust the pillow comfortably around your waist. Make sure the pillow is snug against your waist without being too tight, as this will allow the baby to get into the right position as well.

    Nursing pillows with straps will involve more adjustment. Make sure that the pillow is strapped snugly to your body so it doesn’t move during feeding. These straps can also be adjusted for the height of the pillow on the body. 

    3. Position and Support Baby

    After the parent is situated with the pillow, it is then time to position and support the baby on the pillow. Breastfeeding positions with Boppy should ensure that the child is safe and comfortable while also allowing them to effectively feed. The baby’s head needs to be properly propped up as well, so make sure the pillow is completely supporting the body. 

    It’s also important to note that newborns should never be left unsupervised with a nursing pillow or allowed to sleep with one.

    Meet the Boppy Bassinet and explore how it can bring your baby comfort.

    3 Reasons to Use A Nursing Pillow

    There are multiple Boppy uses of nursing pillows that provide benefits for both baby and parent. Parents can use these pillows from early on in the pregnancy in order to provide extra support and comfort for the mother while sleeping or sitting. Nursing pillows also can be used after the baby is done breastfeeding by providing a way to help them learn how to sit or for tummy time. 

    Some of the other most notable reasons to use a nursing pillow include:

    Helps Baby Stay in Correct Position

    Using a nursing pillow helps the baby stay in the correct position during feeding. Some children take a long time to feed, potentially causing sore or tired muscles in the parent. These pillows help negate this pain while also ensuring that the child can latch comfortably for however long they need to.

    Learn more about product safety regulations to feel confident in choosing what’s best for your family.

    Alleviates Discomfort From Childbirth

    Labor and delivery is the most intense physical act women’s bodies are capable of. If you have a relatively smooth delivery there is still tenderness and soreness as your body heals. Those who have a c-section experience additional discomfort as their c-section scar heals. A nursing pillow adds a layer of protection between you and your baby and relieves pressure from the weight of holding your child directly against you as you nurse.

    Anyone Can Use It

    Boppy pillows can be used by anybody. They’re great support for feeding or to simply holding the newborn and enjoying quality time together whether you’re a parent, babysitter, or family member. They’re especially great for grandparents who want to safely and comfortably hold their new grandchild, or big brothers or sisters excited to meet their new baby sibling. A nursing pillow ensures that the baby is supported and cared for no matter who is watching them. This is especially helpful when one parent has to work or go out of town. 

    34 Years of Comfort With the Boppy Support Nursing Pillow

    Boppy Nursing Pillows have been around for 34 years and have continuously been a leading and trusted brand for families. We ensure that caregivers and babies alike feel comfortable, supported, and safe from the early stages of pregnancy to the baby’s arrival and as your child grows. We are dedicated to ensuring safety for all of our products, meaning that we place you and your child’s needs first and foremost.

    We offer many nursing pillows so you can find the right one for your family, and other products like the Boppy Bassinet, playmats, and Tummy Time Prop. We strive to provide comfort and peace of mind to keep your baby safe and help you be the best parent and caregiver you can be.


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