When my eldest was born, before I officially left the house with her for an outing, I practiced nursing her in front of a mirror. I did this to make sure I felt comfortable whipping out a boob wherever we were. In China, people stared at me on a regular day, and I didn’t want to have any other reasons for them to stare.
I felt comfortable with my technique. So, once out in the field, it surprised me to discover how tired my arms, back, and neck became while breastfeeding.
At home, I’d always do the side-lying position. It’s just so comfortable and easy for both you and baby. Plus, I was still sore from my incision. 😀
My friend Kaitlyn told me I should get a nursing pillow. You’d think in China where they manufacture everything, I could find one. But nope, back then no one had heard of such a thing. I eventually use my giant, pillowy diaper bag to help me while I was outside the house, though I would have loved a real nursing pillow.
Eventually, for my youngest, someone sent one from the states, and I was thrilled. It was so much easier to use.
I can’t remember which brand it was, but no matter. I have plenty of nursing pillows that I’ve found that are similar (one might even be the very same one!) following below to help you get comfy while breastfeeding.
Table of Content
- What You Need to Look for When Shopping for Nursing Pillows
- 11 Top-Rated Nursing Pillows in My Opinion
- FAQs About the Nursing Pillows
What You Need to Look for When Shopping for Nursing Pillows
If you’re getting your baby shower registry ready for your very first baby, you might be wondering what the big deal is. After all, breastfeeding pillows do look like regular pillows. However, they have some unique features that make them more helpful in easing the strains of breastfeeding.
There are nursing pillows for twins, travel, older babies, adjustable ones, and plenty more. Nursing pillows for c-sections are a wonderful thing because they really keep that incision area covered and cushioned, so there are no kicks from a squirmy baby to make you wince.
In my nursing pillow reviews, you’re going to see 11 of the best ones I’ve found. Some have all the bells and whistles, while others are simpler.
Not anyone of them is better than the other. I’ve given you a few different options because we all have different tastes. If we were to go out to eat, you might choose a burger, and I might get a chicken sandwich. It’s the same here really. Oooh…and now I really want a burger. And a chicken sandwich. Hmmm.
Anyway, some have all the bells and whistles like belts and straps. There are different materials and fabrics too. And all of this means that you’ll need to choose what will be best for you.
Here are the factors you should consider when buying one:
- Fit and size
The right nursing pillow for tall moms or growing babies means it needs to be of adequate size. If you’re tall, you will need something longer. And because babies grow, you’ll want one that will be big enough to keep your baby supported for at least 6 months as the AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding or formula feeding up until then.
Ideally, though, you’ll continue nursing for the first year of your baby’s life. So choose wisely on size.
You’ll see a lot of C-shaped nursing pillows plus those that are round or even square. The C-shape tends to be most popular, but ultimately, you’ll have to go with what makes things most comfortable for you.
Perhaps the most important factor with your breastfeeding pillow is how firm it is. Something that is too plush won’t provide enough support to your baby’s head and neck area. Remember, newborns can’t hold their own heads up. So your nursing pillow must keep the baby’s neck straight at the level of your breast.
The firmer it is, the better it is for baby. The better it is for you too, as it will take the pressure off your back, and trust me, that back pain is real! However, those hard foam pillows are just a bit too hard, so watch out.
In addition to being firm, the pillow should be thick enough to keep you from hunching. Hunching will also cause your back and neck to hurt. I can’t even begin to tell you how much worse that makes the exhaustion from being a new mom, so please keep this in mind.
- Lock in place
Belts and straps are a simple addition to some of the newer breastfeeding pillows out there. These go around your waist to keep the pillow in place. This way, if you shift your weight while you’re nursing, it won’t fall out of position. It’s not a mandatory option, but it does help quite a bit. When choosing a nursing pillow with straps, be sure to pick one that isn’t complicated to use.
- Easy washing
Listen to me…babies are darling little gems from heaven. But they are messy, stinky little things too. All the more reason to love the little dears!
That being said, your nursing pillow should be easy to wash. Expect plenty of spilled breastmilk or formula, spit-up, or even one of those fun poop explosions that shoot up the back from out of the diaper.
Before buying your new nursing pillow, read the care instructions to see how easy it is to keep it clean. But if you do find one that you simply love and it’s not easy to wash, consider getting a waterproof slipcover that’s machine washable.
- Travels easy
If you plan on roaming about, whether it’s by plane, train, or car, or you visit friends and family nearby frequently, finding a nursing pillow that travels well is ideal. It shouldn’t be too bulky or heavy. They have a lightweight and inflatable version that might be a great option since they can be flattened and put into your diaper bag.
- Style and color
Ok, it’s not the most important thing, which is why it’s at the end of my list of what to look for. But still! I get it. You do not want to have some ugly pillow going with you everywhere. Plus, when you’re done having babies, these pillows can be a cozy option on your bed.
Even before baby, that pillow can bring you comfort while pregnant. And if you plan to have more babies, you’ll be using it for a long time. So, choose something that gives you options for color and style that you like too.
- Special features
And finally, there are even nursing pillows that vibrate, some with back and armrests, pockets, and other cool features. These aren’t necessary, but they sure make being a new mom more fun. Think of it like buying a new car that comes loaded with all those little extras. You don’t NEED them to drive the car, but they make it so much more enjoyable.
11 Top-Rated Nursing Pillows in My Opinion
Ok, ready to shop for your new nursing pillow? My review below will give you an overview of the best ones so you can buy the right one for you!
Boppy Bare Naked
A cushion for tummy time and growing with baby!
I remember when Kaitlyn recommended getting a nursing pillow to me and Boppy was the brand she’d mentioned. It’s one of the most popular nursing pillow brands out there and has won awards for its innovative design.
Once baby gets a little bigger, you can let them lounge on the pillow, though NEVER leave them unattended ever, not even for one second around any type of pillow.
It’s also a great nursing pillow for tummy time to help strengthen those neck muscles without strain. And once the baby is big enough to sit, she’ll love sitting in the middle of it with cushioned support surrounding her.
The pillow itself is machine washable, so you can put your mind at ease. The only downside is that the pillow covers for the Boppy are sold separately. This does allow you to customize and buy a variety that can coordinate with your color scheme and style, but it would be nice to have one included with it. Still, Boppy remains a solid choice for most nursing moms!
My Brest Friend Orignal
This nursing pillow for back pain will truly be your new best friend!
With My Brest Friend, the design is something I feel is a significant improvement in the niche of nursing pillows. I remember how much my back ached with my first child and would have loved something like this to help promote healthy posture.
The design wraps around your body and adjusts to fit most sizes though it might not work for plus sizes.
By eliminating the gap that other nursing pillows create, it not only helps your back but also enables you to get a consistent and uninterrupted latch. The straps can be silently released so that dreaded clicking noise won’t startle your baby awake after a feeding.
It comes with a machine-washable cover though the pillow itself isn’t designed for submerging in water or for use in machines. While it’s great for breastfeeding and keeping your back supported, it’s not versatile for growing with your child or other purposes. Still, if a quality nursing pillow is what you’re after that helps you support baby and yourself well, this one will be perfect!
My Brest Friend Deluxe
With a nursing pillow for football hold, you’ll be a winner every time!
Yes, I just covered My Brest Friend in the option above, but this one is the Deluxe version and is very well suited for a good football hold. I guess the other one is a bit too, but the Deluxe variety gives you a softer cover over the original.
This makes getting into the football position much easier. Score! Yay! 😀
With the addition of the Velcro strap to help the clasp, you have another way to adjust this nursing pillow to your level of comfort. So basically, it’s an even more awesome version of the original.
The Twin Z Pillow
A nursing pillow for twins and reflux all in one!
Have you ever seen the show Shark Tank on ABC? My husband loves it. Anyway, one day I remember him putting it on, and I saw this Twin Z pillow and thought it was a cool idea. I totally forgot all about it until now when I was putting this nursing pillow reviews list together for you!
Juggling more than one baby at once is a huge challenge, which is why my hat is always off to my friends with multiples. The Twin Z helps you prop both up at once to make it easier on you and your back to nursing them. Even if you’re not breastfeeding, though, this nursing pillow can help you bottle-feed both babies at once without losing your mind.
This is useful, though!
The cover has Velcro to hold it in place, making for easy removal for washing. You can use your washing machine and dryer for the cover though the pillow itself must be wiped clean rather than machine-washed. The creators of the Twin Z advise that you should use an oversized chair or love seat when using the pillow. A rocker could be dangerous due to its large size.
And while being a new mom for the first time is never easy, when you have 2 little ones to get used to at once, it can feeling overwhelming. Add to it something like reflux and you may very well think you’ve lost your mind like my friend Ashely. When she got this pillow, she said the twins stopped having reflux problems, and her life became so much easier.
Boppy Tummy Time Prop Pillow
Great nursing pillow for travel and tummy time fun!
This smaller version of the Boppy is an all-in-one nursing pillow that is fittest for preemies and travel. Unlike the other one I covered, it comes with a cute design and no need for covers. The entire pillow is machine washable, so you can easily clean up messes.
For nursing, it might not give you the most solid support though it is an excellent tool for when you go out to eat or travel, even if you just go to your parents’ house. Ideally, though, it is a nursing pillow for tummy time that allows you to attach toys to it, plus it features a plushie that crinkles and a teething ring.
Again, I have to say it: never leave your baby unattended with the pillow. When you do your daily tummy time, this pillow will be beneficial and comfortable for the baby.
Luna Lullaby Nursing Pillow
A perfect choice for the plus-size mom!
If you’re looking for a nursing pillow for large breasts, long torsos, big babies, or the plus-sized, Luna Lullaby has you covered. Designed to provide the perfect position for women of any size, you can find cozy support for elbows and shoulders to relax genuinely.
Ideally, you should have this while you’re still pregnant. It’s large enough to be a maternity support pillow and does so quite efficiently.
Additionally, it’s a great nursing pillow for reflux and preventing choking on milk and ear infections. Believe me, avoiding any fussiness is huge in my book, and by all accounts, Luna Lullaby does this quite well.
It features a soft cotton chenille cover that is removable and machine washable. Some say it is also large enough for twins. Looking at the size, I’d have to agree though it might take some balancing on your part to make it work.
Has your baby grown up?
This also will be a prime nursing pillow for older babies as you’ll find plenty of lengths to support their growing bodies. Remember, I nursed both my daughters until they were several years old, so if you do too, this pillow will help. And if not, you’ll have something cozy to help you sleep with for years to come.
Leachco Adjustable Natural Boost
Innovative nursing pillow for bottle feeding allows Dad to participate too!
When I saw this adjustable boosting nursing pillow from Leachco, I thought the design was really smart. There’s a boosted flipping part that you can move from one side to the other depending on which breast you’re feeding from. The contour makes it easy to fit around most waist sizes plus you can separate the pillows too if you prefer.
That kind of versatility means you may just find the right level of comfort you’re looking for. It’s firm enough and lets you create the perfect angle to match your torso. What I also like is that it can involve your husband.
Here’s my story:
I first saw this thing when I went to visit my friend Heidi at her house. Her husband was using it with a bottle of pumped breastmilk to give her a break so she could have some girl time. It made feeding for him a snap, and I had to say I was really impressed with the idea of making a nursing pillow that thought of other caregivers besides the tired mama.
There is one thing that could improve, though. There is no cover to this nursing pillow. While it is machine washable, many mamas might prefer an added measure of protection. You can always throw a waterproof pillowcase on it, though, to avoid having to wash the entire pillow every day. Problem solved!
Boppy Luxe Positioner
Soft and luxurious latch breastfeeding pillow gives comfort to mom and baby!
Ok, so it’s another Boppy, but in all fairness, the brand has been busy with multiple varieties on their original design. This one is no exception with that soft and luxurious minky fabric on one side and cotton covering on the other, separated by pretty piping.
This nursing pillow was created to give the best latch by having 2 distinctive sides. Yes, they look pretty. But one side is soft, and the other is firmer. This allows you to flip and switch to what works best for you. And even if you decide firmer is better for breastfeeding in your situation, that softer side will totally come in handy when you do tummy time and as your baby grows and sits with it.
I liked that…
It’s machine washable, and the cover is water-resistant, removable, and machine washable too, so messes are easy to handle. Versatile and stylish, it’s a superb choice.
Boppy Best Latch
It’s what you love about Boppy with an adjustable nursing pillow design with a belt.
If you like the idea of Boppy and the support it provides, then this nursing pillow for best latch goes one better with an adjustable belt. This helps keep it snugly in place so you can nurse without losing your positioning.
Some moms will find that the adjustable belt really makes all the difference for more comfortable nursing, which is why it’s an ideal nursing pillow for c-section recovering moms.
Itzy Ritzy Bottle Feeding Pillow
Comfortable support for everyone with a nursing pillow for reflux!
The Itzy Ritzy Milk Boss essentially had me at “hello” when I saw it online at Target. What a cool design! It’s a bit different than the other nursing pillows I’ve covered, and I want to be sure to give you all the best variety of options in my nursing pillow reviews.
But what makes it so great is that it keeps your baby at the best angle for reducing reflux, whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
Now, while I appreciate this design and that it allows for dads and other caregivers to get comfortable when feeding the baby, I have to say that it is going to be difficult for you to use if you have a c-section when your baby is a newborn, or if you have a small baby. That’s because you have to prop baby upright to make this work.
But if someone gives you a nursing pillow for your baby shower and you wind up with a baby that has reflux, you will want to order this one to help make life easier on you. It won’t pull double-duty as a tummy time pillow either, but for those of you that have babies with tummy troubles, it will be a lifesaver!
Organic Nesting Pillow
Your organic nursing pillow with nature in mind!
This body contouring nursing pillow is the option for you if you want something that is both versatile and kind to the environment. It’s made with 100% organic cotton in the USA, making it a superb choice for sensitive baby skin.
That means whether you’re plus size or not; whether you have a long or short torso, you can find the ideal position, no matter how big your baby gets. 😀
The filling is constructed from organic buckwheat hulls, so you won’t have to worry about synthetics coming into contact with baby. It also provides excellent circulation inside so it keeps you and your baby cool while nursing. Let me tell you what a blessing that is when you have a tiny human nestled against you nursing away, and you feel like you’re melting from the heat!
With a slipcover that comes off with ease, you can throw it in the washing machine. You can spot-clean the pillow itself, and to sanitize it, you can throw it in the dryer for 20 minutes.
This nursing pillow will be with you for a long time to help you from the days of pregnancy into your days of breastfeeding. It’s suitable for c-sections too, gentle and comforting to avoid agitating that tender area. You’ll find oodles of uses for it once your kids grow up, making it a smart buy when you want to reduce your waste and consumption by reusing the things you have.
FAQs About the Nursing Pillows
So, that was 11 of the best nursing pillows out there. Now, I’m going to tackle the questions I’ve received about this product to help further cement your decision to buy one.
What are nursing pillows for?
Breastfeeding pillows are designed to give you a little extra help when it comes to nursing. You already have your boobs full of milk, but it can really strain your back when you’re first trying to get into a good breastfeeding position with your little one.
Keep in mind that:
Newborn babies are really light, but the thing is, if you try holding them for 45 minutes at a time as is the norm in the early weeks of their life, you will suffer in pain.
Additionally, if you had a c-section, you would find a nursing pillow to be a tremendous help when you’re in a place that you can’t simply use the side-lying position, like a park or restaurant or basically any place that isn’t your home.
Do you really need it?
I wouldn’t classify a nursing pillow as essential like I would a car seat or crib (or some other proper place for baby to sleep); however I was eternally grateful to receive one for my second daughter.
You don’t technically need it as you can make do with regular pillows. But you’ll be stacking a bunch of pillows on top of each other like the Princess and the Pea.
You can try to breastfeed your baby in the football or cradle hold without a nursing pillow, but I assure you, after some time, you WILL be begging for a nursing pillow. You will go through the motions of using other pillows to pretend you’re fine with this. You’re not, mama. Get that useful pillow and stop straining your neck and back.
Other parts of your body will suffer without a proper nursing pillow too, like your hands and wrists. Keep that in mind if you have a job to return to where you use your hands, or you simply don’t want to cause trouble that leads to long-term pain.
Are nursing pillows worth it?
In a nutshell, yes. Take me, for example. I did it without a nursing pillow for my eldest. I relied on side-lying all the time at home to ease the pain. In public, I propped her up under a cover and nursed her while shifting the weight of the diaper bag.
I had so much back and neck pain. 🙁
On top of that, because I didn’t feel comfortable sitting up to feed her at home, I had a hard time breaking her of the habit of wanting to breastfeed while laying in bed with me.
When I had my youngest and that nursing pillow arrived in a care package, I was thrilled. It was a lot easier to feed her anywhere, and that was a blessing since she was still breastfeeding when we made our international move back to the US.
There were times when we were always on the go, driving to different states to visit friends and family, and trying to find a place to settle down. That pillow was my hero until we found a place we could call home.
How to use a nursing pillow?
In many of the pictures of nursing pillows, you’ll see the baby directly on the pillow. But those pillows are meant to support your arm to keep from straining your neck, shoulders, and back.
Once your baby is bigger, you can absolutely put your arm under the pillow, but for most designs, you’ll want your arm on top of the nursing pillow with the baby on top of your arm. When positioned correctly, this takes the strain off of you.
In the newborn period, you should make sure the baby is against your tummy, preferably skin-to-skin. The head, neck, and torso should all be in a straight line. Getting that latch perfect is essential to making your milk flow, so it’s a combination of making sure you’re doing that right along with being comfortable yourself to relax so the milk comes out easily.
One final note…
Don’t leave babies unattended with nursing pillows! Even when your baby is bigger and using it for tummy time. Even when she’s sitting up, just don’t. There are warnings in place on all these products for a reason.
I know it might seem silly to read the instructions on a pillow, but please, whichever of these brands you click and buy, make sure you read about every aspect from safety to care to prevent any tragedies.