Is a Nursing Pillow Necessary?

Is a Nursing Pillow Necessary?


Nursing pillows can sometimes get forgotten about in the never-ending list of things you need to purchase before the arrival of your baby. Although they are not deemed an essential for mums-to-be, they are definitely a useful product to help you and baby feel more comfortable during feeding.

What is a Nursing Pillow?

A nursing pillow, also known as a breastfeeding pillow, is a C shaped or U shaped pillow that supports you and your baby during breastfeeding or bottle feeding. They wrap comfortably around your body, adapting to your shape and providing a safe place for your baby to rest as they feed. You will find them in a range of prints and styles. But essentially, they are all designed to help make nursing easier and to reduce neck, arm and back strain for you.

Mother&Baby Feeding and Infant Support Pillow

Our Mother&Baby Feeding & Infant Support Pillow

Can I use a Feeding Pillow After a C-Section?

A caesarean birth might make breastfeeding more difficult due to several reasons, such as loss of mobility or a long and stressful labour. However, with extra support from your midwife, you should be able to find a breastfeeding position that is comfortable for you. One position that the NCT recommends is the ruby-ball or underarm position, as it might help keep your baby away from your scar. They further suggested that you may want to place a pillow under your arm to help support your baby's weight after they have latched on. Other C-section friendly positions they advise are lying down on your side and laid-back breastfeeding.

Rochelle and Marvin Humes with their baby after a c-section birth

📷 @rochellehumes

Why Should I Buy a Nursing Pillow?

Nursing pillows are especially handy if you plan on breastfeeding your baby. Lactation consultant Wendy Wisner advises keeping baby close with skin-to-skin contact during the first few days of breastfeeding. She explained, “This way, anytime your baby looks for the breast, it will be right there. Rooting, head bobbing, fist sucking, mouth fluttering—these are all signs your baby is hungry.”

Trying to maintain skin-to-skin contact for long periods of time can become tiring for your arms. You may find it even more uncomfortable if you have had a caesarean. Therefore, having a breastfeeding pillow to help support the weight of your baby can make the experience more enjoyable for the both of you.

What if I’m Expecting Twins?

If you are expecting twins and want to breastfeed them, you may want to consider tandem feeding. For this, a twin feeding pillow will help you and your babies find the perfect latch position.

Tandem breastfeeding positions diagram

📷 @bftwinsuk

Things to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Pillow

  • Is it washable? – It is worth considering whether the pillow itself is washable or if it comes with a removable cover that can be washed.
  • Does it have a certified organic cotton cover? – To avoid your baby’s sensitive skin encountering any nasty chemicals or dyes, you will need to ensure that the cover is GOTS certified (Global Organic Textiles Standard).
  • The shape – As we mentioned earlier, most nursing pillows are either C shaped or U shaped. Before your baby arrives, we recommend shopping around and trying each shape to find the most comfortable pillow. 
  • Is it adjustable? – Many feeding pillows are adjustable and feature a strap or belt to secure the pillow around your waist. 

Support Pillows and Your Growing Baby

You can continue to use most feeding pillows as your baby grows to help them with their key development stages. The pillows can be used to support baby with tummy time and sitting up. The NHS advises to only do tummy time when your baby is awake and alert. You should never leave your baby on their own propped up by a nursing pillow.