Which nursing pillow is best?
Nursing your new baby is an incredibly meaningful bonding experience for you and your child. Unfortunately, breastfeeding usually has a learning curve, and it can be difficult to stay comfortable during the process. With a nursing pillow, though, your infant gets proper cushioning and support, which means your back, neck, shoulders, and arms don’t bear the brunt of the work. Nursing pillows are available in an array of shapes, sizes, and designs, too, so you can find an option that’s just right for you and your little one.
If you’re not sure where to start, our buying guide can help you find the best nursing pillow for your baby’s next feeding session. We’ve also included some specific product recommendations at the end, including our top choice from Boppy, which makes cleaning a breeze because both the pillow and cover are machine-washable.
Considerations when choosing a nursing pillow
Nursing pillows are available in several different shapes, depending on your preferences. Here are the most common options:
- C-shape pillows are the most traditional and allow you to easily slide the pillow on and off. The C-shape wraps around your waist without enclosing the back and provides a comfy spot to rest your arms.
- Wraparound or O-shape pillows wrap completely around your waist, enclosing your back, too. This design helps the pillow stay in place without shifting and many even include a backrest and padded arms. These pillows tend to be firmer, too.
- Crescent and V-shape pillows are similar to C-shape nursing pillows, but they aren’t as curved, which allows them to fit larger waists more comfortably. Some crescent styles also feature a tapered design to give your baby more room. You’ll need to turn the pillow over when you switch breasts, though.
- Twin nursing pillows are designed to feed two babies at once. They’re larger as a result but are available in several different types, such as an M-shape or a square wraparound.
You can find nursing pillows in a variety of sizes. Smaller pillows are easier to take on the go, so they’re ideal when you’re traveling with your baby. Extremely small pillows aren’t a good idea, though, because your child will outgrow them quickly. While larger pillows are bulkier and harder to travel with, they’re typically firmer, so they’re more supportive.
If you primarily plan to use the pillow at home on the sofa or rocking chair, you’re better off going with a larger pillow, so both you and your baby are more likely to be comfortable.
Features of a great nursing pillow
Ease of use
A nursing pillow should be easy to use, so you’re able to feed your baby without any hassle. That’s why it’s usually best to avoid models with straps, bottle holders, and other accessories. Most mothers find open nursing pillows easiest to use because you can simply slide them on and off.
For a nursing pillow to be effective, it has to be comfortable for both you and your baby. Look for a pillow that provides firm cushioning and a soft fabric surface. You may be tempted by softer pillows, but they usually don’t offer enough support. Firmer pillows provide excellent support and keep your baby from sliding around, though they can be bulkier.
Ease of cleaning
As cute as they may be, babies are extremely messy. You want a nursing pillow that’s easy to clean when spills and leaks occur. Choose a pillow with a removable cover that you can throw in the machine when it gets dirty. You can even find some options with covers made of stain-resistant fabrics. Spot cleaning is easier if you choose a pillow in a dark color or intricate pattern, too.
A nursing pillow should last through all the months that you’ll be breastfeeding your child. Opt for a pillow that’s made with thick fabric, durable filler, and high-quality stitching, so it holds up well to regular use. If you choose a pillow with a removable cover, you can usually replace it if it starts to get worn.
Nursing pillow price
You can expect to pay between $25-$100 for a nursing pillow. The majority of pillows usually cost between $25-$55, but you’ll typically spend $55-$100 for larger twin nursing pillows or custom-made organic options.
Nursing pillow FAQ
Q. Why should I use a nursing pillow?
A. A nursing pillow provides support for your back and arms, which can make you much more comfortable. It also helps put your baby at the ideal height for feeding. You can use it when you’re bottle-feeding, too, and even use it to support your baby when she’s lying on her stomach.
Q. What type of nursing pillow is best if I’ve had a C-section?
A. If you’ve had a C-section, you’re usually better off with an extremely firm nursing pillow — at least for the first few weeks. A firm pillow won’t shift when weight is placed on it, so your incision is more protected.
Nursing pillows we recommend
Best of the best nursing pillow
Our take: The highest-quality nursing pillow available due to its comfort and durability.
What we like: Made of a cotton/polyester blend that’s both comfortable and supportive. Cover is removable for easy washing. Pillow itself is machine-washable, too. Suitable for your child’s entire first year of life.
What we dislike: A more expensive option, but you get what you pay for.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Best bang for your buck nursing pillow
Our take: The best nursing pillow for anyone on a budget because it doesn’t sacrifice quality for the lower cost.
What we like: Features back support and armrests. Side pockets offer convenient storage. Wraparound design fits most sizes. Cover is removable and machine-washable.
What we dislike: Wrap-around style doesn’t fit larger waists as well.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Nursing pillow worth checking out
Our take: An excellent, versatile pillow for anyone nursing twins.
What we like: Allows you to choose from six positions. Offers excellent support for mother and baby. Cover is removable and washable.
What we dislike: Fairly pricey and bulky but works well for nursing twins.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.