What is a nursing pillow and how to use nursing pillows properly? Also, do you even need one?
Apart from pregnancy and delivery, one of the most demanding stages in motherhood is breastfeeding. Not all have a smooth experience when it comes to nursing their babies, and many mothers find it difficult.
That stage can be a challenge for both the mother and the baby, and you will need at least a few weeks or months to be in sync with each other. To help ease you of the pain and discomfort while breastfeeding, using a nursing pillow is advised.
What Is a Nursing Pillow?
A nursing pillow is a useful accessory for breastfeeding, particularly in the early stages of nursing. It helps with the proper positioning and provides support and comfort for the mother and the child.
Types of Nursing Pillows
Breastfeeding pillows come in a variety of forms, sizes, purposes, and fillers.
Based on Shape
- Crescent-shaped: As one of the most common types, this is a multipurpose pillow that can be used when feeding a baby or two.
- Horseshoe-shaped: This is specially designed for feeding twins. This is usually bigger compared than standard models since it accommodates two babies at once.
- Boomerang, rectangular, and triangular: All of these are generally used to ease positioning discomfort when breastfeeding.
The size of nursing pillows varies from three feet to two meters. Some pillows come with special pockets where mothers can store small items. They are also usually equipped with straps and Velcro strips that can help secure the pillow on your back.
- Holofiber: This type of filler is a practical and environmental-friendly material, but it makes the pillow loses its shape faster than those that contain other types of fillers.
- Foam rubber and sintepon: These are relatively inexpensive materials that are used for equally affordable nursing pillows. They provide support, but they tend to compress when used.
- Buckwheat husk: This natural material is relatively safe to use and makes nursing pillows durable and at the same time comfortable. It is breathable and allows proper contouring of the pillow against the body when positioning for nursing.
- Polystyrene balls: These are light and soft materials that make a pillow comfortable to use. Like buckwheat husk, they are breathable and help keep the pillow airy. Being able to follow the contour of the body, it is an ideal material for a nursing pillow. It has orthopedic properties, too!
How to Use Nursing Pillows?
Nursing pillows are primarily used to ease breastfeeding by propping you up in a comfortable position. Typically, it is placed around the mother’s waist, and the baby is placed on it.
However, this is only possible for a C-shaped or crescent-shaped pillow. For other types of nursing pillows, you may follow the easy guide below:
- If your pillow has a clasp, insert it sideways to allow you to secure it with ease.
- Adjust the pillow to the level of your breast so that the baby can have a good prop and won’t try too hard to latch.
- If you feel it will make it easier and more comfortable for you and the baby, you may try reclining your back a bit.
- In case the nursing pillow sinks down because of the baby’s weight, adding regular pillows underneath can help.
- Using your free hand, adjust your baby’s head to help the baby have a good latch.
When using a nursing pillow while feeding your baby, it would be easier for both of you to keep the pillow wrapped around your waist. This way, you won’t have to lean over or support the baby with your arms while feeding.
Positioning the baby right under the breast can also help improve milk flow which is crucial in normalizing breastmilk production. This position is also possible when feeding twins.
What Are the Other Uses of Nursing Pillows?
Nursing pillows are not only used to make your breastfeeding comfortable, but it can also be utilized for other baby-related things.
Your nursing pillow can be a tool for your baby’s developmental exercises. You can use it to prop the baby’s chest when doing some tummy time. Take note, though, that this exercise must only be done once the baby can hold his head firmly.
Babies love tummy time as they can look around and enjoy things around them. When the baby can turn over on his own, the nursing pillow can serve as a stopper to help prevent falls.
Nursing pillows can also be used to stimulate the sensory development of the baby. The bright pillow covers can serve as an excellent visual sensor to babies, while the fillers, especially buckwheat husks and polystyrene balls, can contribute to sensory development.
What Are the Advantages of Using a Nursing Pillow?
Let us sum up the many benefits of using a breastfeeding pillow:
- Eases sitting breastfeeding: Some women prefer the sitting position when breastfeeding their babies as it promotes better latching.
- Diminishes body pain: Breastfeeding is often associated with body pains like back and neck pains. Using a pillow specially designed for nursing can eliminate the need to slouch or bend, which is the primary cause of body pains in breastfeeding mothers.
- Corrects baby position: Using a nursing pillow while feeding the baby does not only promote proper latching. It also helps prevent reflux action due to a bad feeding pose.
- Multi-functional: As we discussed earlier, the nursing pillow is not just for breastfeeding; it can also help prop the baby during activity time.
- Helps during pregnancy: Since it is a multi-function pillow, you can also use to ease the pain even before the baby arrives.
Learning how to use nursing pillows do not only assure that you can feed your baby well. It also ensures that you and your baby are in a comfortable position.
Just remember to choose the right pillow for your needs, as well as your baby's needs. Also, when using a breastfeeding pillow, you must make sure always to keep an eye on your baby.
Like any other pillow, a nursing pillow poses a risk of cerebral asphyxia or death due to insufficient oxygen supply to the brain. This may take place when the baby is left face down and unable to lift his head up from a dangerous position. Never leave your baby alone with a nursing pillow or any pillow for that matter.