Last updated: January 17, 2017
Not all breast feeding pillows are created equal. This is because all mothers breastfeed differently. It is very important to find the best breastfeeding pillow to suit your nursing style and needs. In this nursing pillow review, I will outline the best nursing pillow for your unique needs and budget.
One thing I know for sure is that you won’t realize how much you need a nursing pillow until you try to nurse without one.
The 4 in 1 One Z CREAM
My Brest Friend Waterproof Pillow
The Nesting Pillow- Organic
My Brest Friend Inflatable
Table of Contents
What happens when you nurse without a breastfeeding pillow?
Trying to cradle a baby in your arms while breastfeeding will put a strain on your back and shoulders leaving you stiff and sore.
Your baby may squirm around trying to find just the right position to feed while you are trying to have a relaxing moment. Sometimes, that nursing session is the only time you have to just sit down and enjoy your baby. A squirming baby will nullify that moment trying to find the best position to comfortably feed, and the baby might not feed as well as they should.
There are times when exhaustion sets in and, when you are nursing, you might doze off unexpectedly. If that happens without a nursing pillow, you may drop the baby. With a pillow, you have some added security and peace of mind. Of course, trying to sleep while you are nursing, with a pillow or without, is not recommended; however, it is inevitable as being a mother is incredibly exhausting. You will be nursing for several hours a day, especially in the beginning, so making it a comfortable experience is good for both mommy and baby.
What to look for in a breastfeeding pillow
The first question to ask is how long do you really need that pillow to last? Do you plan on nursing for a couple of months until you go back to work? Do you plan to nurse for a year or more? Will you have multiple children?
If you only plan to nurse for a short amount of time and only plan to have one child, you may not need anything more than a basic pillow. In this case, you may not want to spend much money on a nursing pillow. There are, however, many good nursing pillows to fit any budget.
If you need that pillow to last awhile, you will need to consider what the pillow is made out of, what the reviews say about how well it’s made, and what kind of comfort features it has. You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot on a pillow but, if the pillow checks off a lot of your “nice to have” boxes, then it is money well spent.
Depending on your body size, you may need a pillow that has the baby resting up high. To make sure the baby is properly latched, the baby’s head will need to be level with your nipple.
To determine how high a pillow needs to be, sit straight up on your couch or nursing chair, and measure the distance from your lap to your nipple. It is best to make this measurement when you are 4-5 months pregnant since you may have some belly left over after you give birth for at least a couple of months.
The three main types of nursing pillow are the “C," “O,” and crescent shape.
The “C” is probably the most popular as it is the most basic, budget friendly pillow, and it fits most body types.
The “O” shaped pillow is gaining in popularity as it wraps around the entire torso. This not only supports the baby, but also gives you some lumbar support. If you are experiencing back pain from the pregnancy and then from lifting your baby multiple times a day, you will appreciate the extra relief this pillow provides.
The crescent-shaped breastfeeding pillow is great for mothers who like to change feeding positions. The crescent can go across the front of the stomach or angled toward either side. If you like to feed your baby in the football-hold position, which means the feet and head lie perpendicular to your body, you can turn the pillow whichever way you like.
Many nursing pillows come with a latching system to help secure the pillow to your body. This is a great system for those who like a tight fit, either for comfort or for safety.
When you have a baby on a pillow on your lap, moving around or trying to do something with your hands can be a challenge. If you have to lean to answer the phone or grab a drink, you don’t want to worry about the pillow slipping off of your lap.
Some of the pillows with latches also have a back brace which will give you some lumbar support in addition to the extra safety. The downside is that it can be a challenge to get the pillow off quickly if you need to. Also, you risk waking your baby up when trying to take the pillow off so you can lay the baby down in the crib.
Where will you nurse?
Many women have different ideas of what is comfortable, and their preferences for feeding will vary considerably. The type of pillow you need will depend on where you plan to nurse. Some pillows may not be good if you plan to nurse sitting on the floor, for instance. Others are not ideal for sitting on a glider or rocking chair.
The shape and weight of the pillow will determine if you can carry the pillow and baby to another room, if needed. In a perfect world, your nursing area will always be at the same place and time, so you won't need to move anything around. Ask any mother how often that happens, and they will laugh.
If you have a multiple floor house or apartment, you may want to consider having a couple nursing pillows so you can minimize your time and energy carrying the nursing pillow from floor to floor. Until humans can evolve into beings with an extra set of hands, you will make your life much easier when you have back-ups of many itmes such as a breastfeeding pillow. You may also need to travel, and having an inflatable nursing pillow could be an option.
Your breastfeeding pillow will be subjected to many different secretions and bodily fluids, both from you and your baby. It is imperative that the pillow be easy to clean. Whether it is a cover that can be removed and machine washed or if the whole pillow itself is washable, you will need to make sure that it can be thoroughly cleaned. A pillow that says it can be spot cleaned might not be the best option for you.
For most people, the material the breastfeeding pillow is made from won’t matter much as long as it is comfortable and washable. Some people have allergies, though, and need a nursing pillow that is hypoallergenic. Pillows made from bamboo, memory foam, and latex are all good at resisting dust mites and bacteria.
You may find that you are very sensitive to smells after you give birth, and you may not like the smell of the chemicals found in many pillows. In addition, these chemicals could pose health risks to you and your baby, particularly to those with respiratory issues. Some pillows have fire retardants or are manufactured with harsh chemicals. It is best to avoid these pillows.
You will be up close and personal with this pillow for a good portion of the day. The comfort is important, so understanding what kind of material is most comfortable for your needs will ensure a good purchase that you are happy with.
In this article, I will review breastfeeding pillows with different types of materials for the filling and cover so you can make an informed decision about which one you will be most comfortable with.
Best “C” shaped nursing pillows
All American Collection New Comfortable Bamboo Nursing Pillow
- Dimensions: 19.5"x 16"x 5.5"
- Bamboo cover is breathable, hypoallergenic and very soft
- Cover is removable and machine washable
- Soft support with polyester filling
- “C” shaped for ease of use
This “C” shaped nursing pillow has many of the characteristics that a nursing mother is looking for.
The “C” shape works for most body types. At 19 inches thick, it will provide the necessary height to get baby on the same level as your nipples.
Since you will be spending a lot of time with this pillow, you will love the breathable bamboo and polyester cover. Your baby’s body is small, but that body-on-body contact can cause some mothers to overheat.The bamboo will wick the sweat and heat away from you and into the pillow.
If you have allergies, the bamboo cover and polyester filling will help keep them at bay. Bamboo is naturally hypoallergenic and resists dust mites. The filling is a very soft polyester. Don’t be surprised if your baby falls asleep very quickly while nursing with this pillow.
Best Nursing Pillow for Back Support
The 4 in 1 One Z CREAM Nursing Pillow with Back Support
- Full back support
- Adjustable straps for extra security and comfort
- Removable and washable cover
- Shell is made out of cotton and the filling is polyester fiberfill
- Made without flame retardant chemicals
If you are a fan of the TV show, Shark Tank, you may have seen this breastfeeding pillow.
Setting up your seat for nursing can sometimes involve a hungry baby crying impatiently while you try to find a pillow to put behind your back to alleviate your lower back pain. The One Z pillow is a huge, wraparound pillow that acts as a full-sized pillow to support your back. Now, you can lean back and get your back and neck very comfortable without an extra pillow needed. Poor posture when nursing can cause a lot of aches and pains. This pillow will alleviate your sore back, neck, and shoulders.
The front of the pillow wraps right around your body and gives baby a huge space to lie while nursing. Whatever way you like to nurse your baby, this versatile breastfeeding pillow will work. If you like the football hold with your baby under your arm, you will still find plenty of support on the side of the pillow.
Using the front of the pillow will give your baby the ability to lie in many different positions since there is plenty of space to move around. This pillow is very large. The straps will create a tight fit to your body so there isn’t any space between you and the pillow that your baby could fall into. The cover is also washable and easy to replace after its been cleaned. This is a durable pillow that will last through many pregnancies. This is easily one of the best “O” shaped breastfeeding pillows.
Best Waterproof Nursing Pillow
My Brest Friend Waterproof Pillow
- 100% Antimicrobial Vinyl
- Adjustable silent-release strap
- Wrap around design
- Arm and elbow rests eliminate shoulder stress
- Includes convenient pocket for nursing supplies and other accessories
This breastfeeding pillow was designed and meant for hospital use and for teachers to demonstrate how a nursing pillow is supposed to be used. It is, however, gaining in popularity by moms for home use since it is made of vinyl and is waterproof.
Any pillow you use will inevitably get soiled, and using one with a cover that can be removed and washed is essential. This goes a bit further by being waterproof as it is very hygienic. Even when covered, a baby who overfills its diaper while feeding can be a real germ spreader. Poop can go right through a cover and stain the pillow itself. When a pillow is spot cleaned, you may not be really disinfecting the area, and it can penetrate the pillow.
Anything that spills onto the My Brest Friend waterproof, aka professional, pillow can be wiped off and disinfected in seconds. It comes with a soft cloth cover so the baby and you don’t overheat. The downside of this pillow is that the vinyl is obviously not breathable.
As for the design, it is one of the best wrap-around pillows. The filling is medium soft and comfortable. The sides of the pillow make for a great arm rest so your shoulders and arms don’t get tired and strained while holding your baby. Also, having that pocket is great. Just pop any wipes or bottle that you need in there so you don’t have to reach for everything.
There are other My Brest Friend pillows that are all excellent choices for a nursing pillow. If you like the waterproof idea but don’t love that it is made out of vinyl, you can get any of the other My Brest Friend nursing pillows and add this waterproof slip cover to it.
Best Breastfeeding Pillow for Plus Sized Women
One Z PLUS Nursing Pillow - Plus Size Nursing Pillow
- Fits from size 14 and up
- Easy to clean waterproof fabric
- Multifunctional, it can also be used for baby’s tummy time
- Wraps around the whole torso
- Made without flame retardant chemicals
Many plus-sized moms have trouble with nursing pillows. Finding a pillow that offers support and comfort, especially a wraparound one, can be very hard to find. When you don’t have the right pillow or don’t have one at all, you know how hard it is for your baby to latch.
When you try a One Z Plus nursing pillow, you will get that support. When you see your baby latching well and getting a good feeding session in, I know just how happy that will make you.
The best part is that it is waterproof without causing you to overheat. It isn’t exactly breathable, but it doesn’t feel the same as a plastic type of material. You can wipe away any type of spill with a disinfectant and keep the nursing pillow clean and bacteria free. There is no doubt that you will be doing a lot of laundry. Not having to worry about cleaning the nursing pillow cover is one less thing on your plate.
These pillows are sure to last for years if needed. If you plan to have more children, this will be around for them, too. When you are not nursing your baby, it also works great as a cushion for their tummy time. Just place baby in the middle, and they can even prop themselves up on it.
Best Organic Breastfeeding Pillow
The Nesting Pillow- Organic Nursing Pillow with Washable Slipcover
- Made with ONLY organic fabrics
- Never treated with any chemicals
- Buckwheat hull filling is hypoallergenic and breathable
- Slip cover is removable and machine washable
- Comfortable enough to use as a regular pillow to sleep on
One of the reasons to breastfeed is that it is all natural for the baby. Therefore, when you are trying to keep things natural, it is an obvious choice to go with an organic and chemical-free nursing pillow like the Nesting Pillow.
This pillow is filled with buckwheat hulls. They make a great pillow filling for a variety of reasons. They are hypoallergenic and free from dust mites which is good for both mother and baby. Buckwheat filling is also very durable. It doesn’t ever flatten out or get compacted over time. It will last as long as the cover does which, in this case, is a very long time.
The filling molds to your body and can be reshaped virtually any way you like. This versatility comes in very handy when your baby is having trouble finding a comfortable position. It even works great as a pillow for your head.
They are also very breathable. By allowing air to move freely through the pillow, it provides a cooling effect when it is hot. It will also keep you warm when it is cold. Newborns have trouble regulating their body temperature, so it is highly recommended that you use a nursing pillow that helps them.
The cover is removable and can be washed. It is also easy to put back on when it has been cleaned. The size of the pillow is just right; it is wide enough to give baby plenty of room. It can be used with the football hold or in front of your belly. It may be a bit pricey but, as I already mentioned, it will last a long time. If it makes your breastfeeding sessions more comfortable and easier, then you won’t mind the price.
Best Inflatable Travel Nursing Pillow
My Brest Friend Inflatable Travel Nursing Pillow
- Easily inflatable; packs flat to fit in a diaper bag or purse
- Wrap around design secures to the body
- Firmness is customizable
- Covers for the other My Brest Friend will work on this travel version
- Includes pocket on the cover for bottles, wipes etc.
For trips across the country or just to the mall, you may want to have a special travel nursing pillow. This travel breastfeeding pillow by My Brest Friend fits the bill perfectly.
It rolls up when deflated to a small package that fits into your purse, diaper bag, or carry-on luggage. In addition, all of the same features that make the regular My Brest Friend nursing pillow great are present in this travel pillow. It wraps around the entire body and has a silent latch to hold it securely to your body. There won’t be any space between you and the pillow that the baby can sink into.
The cover has a pocket for your cell phone, bottle, wipes, or whatever you want to put there. The cover is very easy to put on after it’s been washed since you can put it on before the cushion is fully inflated. The shape makes it easy for you to rest your arms on it and give your shoulders a break. You can get into just the right position for comfort and support. No more achy and sore shoulders, back, and neck, even when you’re on the road.
This travel pillow only takes a minute to inflate, and it can be inflated to your desired level of softness. Leave it a bit underinflated for soft support, or inflate it all the way for firm support. The only real drawback with this pillow is that the pvc material will cause your baby to sweat a bit; however, the cotton cover will help with this issue.
Final thoughts on the best nursing pillow
You will get years of use out of any of the nursing pillows that I reviewed. The most important time to have the pillow is when you are just home from the hospital. You are probably weak from lack of sleep, proper food, and the birthing experience.
Having a good breastfeeding pillow is a necessity when you are exhausted, and you may be exhausted for many months. Do yourself a favor, and make sure that you don’t make things harder on yourself. Purchase a nursing pillow that fits your unique needs.
Every mom and every baby deserves to have a pleasant feeding experience. For the baby, that means finding a comfortable position to get a good latch and proper feeding. For mom, that means having support to avoid the achy back that comes with breastfeeding without a nursing pillow.