Our Favorite Baby Nursing Pillows (Plus How to Use One)
October 13, 2020
There aren’t many baby products that give you the amazing return on investment that you get from a nursing pillow. It’s one piece of baby gear you’ll use for hours a day, months at a time. Finding the best nursing pillow for you can save your back and shoulders, help you relax and get your milk flowing—all while keeping baby comfortable too. Even if baby gets a bottle instead of the breast, a feeding pillow helps cradle your little one in a comfy position so your arms don’t have to do all the work. Sound good? Here’s your handy guide to shopping for this handy must-have.
A nursing pillow isn’t just any household pillow. Bed pillows are generally so soft that your child will sink down too low, and throw pillows aren’t always comfy against the skin. Both types, which are generally rectangular or circular, are also the wrong shape. The best nursing pillow is rounded just enough to snuggle against your abs; it’s also firm enough to keep baby positioned up where they need to nurse. And it’s not just for nursing moms—any parent can attest to how tiring it can be to hold baby up in the proper position while they feed, even from the bottle, and a great feeding pillow will maximize your and your child’s comfort.
Most feeding pillows are designed to curve around your waist while supporting baby at the right height to reach the breast or bottle. That said, there are many different nursing positions you can try, so definitely experiment and move baby and the pillow around to find a spot that works for both of you. Ideally, baby will be tilted toward you, slightly on their side (not flat on their back), and the pillow should be as close to your body as possible to avoid slipping out. You can also use the pillow to give baby a boost when trying upright breastfeeding positions, like the koala hold. Once you’ve found the sweet spot, your elbows should be comfortably supported, your back straight (remember, slouch = ouch!) and baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
But don’t stop there: The best nursing pillows can be used for more than just feeding. If you’re still pregnant, try using it as support while you’re sleeping. And after baby arrives, some pillow shapes are good for propping baby up during tummy time or helping a young child hold baby for the first time.
You can nestle baby in your arms while you breastfeed (or bottle feed), but the weight of even an 8-pound baby, held for hours a day, begins to drag on your shoulders and cause you to hunch your back. The beauty of a good nursing pillow is that it effortlessly lifts baby up to the right height for feeding so you don’t have to throw your posture off. You can trust the pillow to do its work and concentrate on other things, like perfecting baby’s latch, breathing deeply to help letdown and chilling out while you breastfeed. When shopping for the best nursing pillow, you’ll want to consider:
• Size. Some moms prefer a sizable nursing pillow so baby has a wide spot to lie on while feeding. Others want a more compact, travel nursing pillow that’s easy to carry from one nursing spot to another and just as easy to pack for trips. Then there’s the twin nursing pillow designed specifically for moms of multiples.
• Price. The average breastfeeding pillow costs between $25 to $50. For about $70, you can upgrade to a plush, monogrammed slipcover. Looking for an organic nursing pillow or a twin nursing pillow designed to accommodate multiples? Then you’re looking at closer to $100.
• Washability. Will you wipe the pillow down, or does it come with a removable slipcover that can be tossed into the washer? While the former is less expensive, if baby is prone to spit-up or reflux, you may want to opt for the latter.
• Design and style. Nursing pillows are fabric-covered, so there are plenty of looks to choose from: solid colors, prints and even two-sided pillows featuring different patterns on either side. The variety makes shopping for one more fun!
A great nursing pillow is a true game-changer, making those countless hours of breastfeeding that much easier on you and baby. Take a look at our best nursing pillow picks to see which one’s right for you.
Best Classic Nursing Pillow
Boppy kicked off the nursing pillow trend in the 1990s when a mom realized that the pillow she had sewn to prop up her sitting baby was actually ideal for breastfeeding. The c-shape of this baby feeding pillow wraps around your waist and the firm inner pillow provides perfect support to baby. The cotton slipcover can be thrown in the wash. And, after the first few months, it transitions into a support pillow for when baby is ready for tummy time or sitting up.
Buy it: Boppy Classic Feeding & Infant Support Pillow, $40, BuyBuyBaby.com
Best Wrap-Around Nursing Pillow
The wide, flat top of the My Brest Friend nursing pillow wins major points with moms who feel baby can roll off of other nursing pillows that don’t have a level surface. This popular breastfeeding pillow attaches around your waist, providing lumbar support for your lower back. A discreet side pocket can hold a burp cloth, a binkie, your cell phone or even a bottle of water.
Buy it: My Brest Friend Deluxe Nursing Pillow, $35, Walmart.com
Best Two-Sided Nursing Pillow
This cute, kidney bean-shaped breastfeeding pillow has two different sides: a softer, cushy surface and a more firm, flat surface, depending on your needs. It’s also designed to be the ideal height to promote a better latch. Plus, cleaning is twice as easy too—both the removable slip cover and the pillow are machine washable.
Buy it: Bebe Au Lait Nursing Pillow, $55, Maisonette.com
Best Pregnancy-to-Nursing Pillow
If you haven’t given birth yet, it’s worth looking into the Beaba Big Flopsy Maternity Pillow. During pregnancy, it helps support your back, neck or feet while you sleep. After baby arrives, it transitions to a straightforward breastfeeding pillow that can curve around your waist as needed for feedings.
Buy it: Beaba Big Flopsy Maternity and Nursing Pillow, $120, TheTot.com
Best Twin Nursing Pillow
Two babies might be able to fit on a regular nursing pillow when they’re newborns, but it quickly becomes a tight squeeze as they grow. Enter the Twin Z Pillow, which was featured on Shark Tank. It’s a large breastfeeding pillow but flexible enough to wrap around in different configurations so you can feed one baby at a time or both at once. One mom of twins says, “We use this pillow all day, every day. It’s a must for breastfeeding simultaneously and it can work for bottle-feeding.”
Buy it: Twin Z Pillow for Nursing, $100, BuyBuyBaby.com
Best Travel Nursing Pillow
Whether you have to feed baby on the go or stuff your breastfeeding pillow into an already-crammed suitcase, this is one of the best nursing pillows for travel, We’ve never seen anything quite like this innovative nursing sling before, but the design is genius. The adjustable shoulder strap and padded sling hold baby’s head to your breast so you can feed hands-free. It’s compact shape and convenient pocket mean it can double as a cross-body bag on the go, or you can stash it away in the included travel bag.
Buy it: Nurse Sling Nursing Pillow, $40, Nordstrom.com
Best Organic Nursing Pillow
If natural materials are important to you, Nook’s Niche feeding pillow is a great option. It’s made from organic cotton and kapok fiber fill to offer just the right amount of support. Bonus: The wide, square shape makes this a perfect tummy time pillow as well.
Buy it: Nook Niche Organic Cotton Feeding Pillow, $129, Nordstrom.com
Best Adjustable Nursing Pillow
Like the pages of a book, the six layers of pillows in Infantino’s Elevate Adjustable Nursing Pillow flip back and forth so you can adjust baby to the height of your torso—how genius is that? It’s a great breastfeeding pillow for tall or petite women who haven’t found the right fit for their height.
Buy it: Infantino Elevate Adjustable Nursing Pillow, $39, Amazon.com
Best Multi-Use Nursing Pillow
This thick, firm, sturdy nursing pillow offers great versatility. It features a click-in strap that keeps baby securely fastened to the breastfeeding pillow, plus a concealed pocket. It can also be used as a baby lounger, with the seat wrap helping to keep reclined babies in place. Tuck the seat wrap in when you want to use the pillow for tummy time or as a support for your sitting baby. One caveat: There’s no removable slipcover, so you’ll have to wipe the fabric clean.
Buy it: Leachco Cuddle-U Nursing Pillow and More, $25, Walmart.com
Best Firm Nursing Pillow
While many nursing pillows contain polyester fill, the sleek-looking Ergobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow uses solid foam, so baby is raised high and stays put at that tummy-to-tummy height. The machine washable slipcover also features a built-in handle to make it easy to pick up and carry from room to room.
Buy it: Ergobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow, $55, ErgoBaby.com
Best Inflatable Nursing Pillow
Sometimes you need a second nursing pillow, whether you want to use it for travel or to keep it at Grandma’s house. The inflatable version of the My Brest Friend has the same design as the original, but you can inflate it and deflate it as needed, so it can be easily stowed away when not in use.
Buy it: My Brest Friend Travel Nursing Pillow, $17, Amazon.com
Plus, more from The Bump: