In this guide we’ll look at the best nursing pillows for breastfeeding.
We’ve compared comfort, support, practicality and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What is The Best Nursing Pillow?
More Detailed Nursing Pillow Reviews
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Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner Review
The Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner is probably the original nursing pillow that most people know of. It’s a pillow that’s been most recommended to me by lactation consultants and friends and family over the years. It’s also the pillow I’ve used to nurse both of my babies. This C-shaped pillow is pretty large. The opening in the middle, the part that goes against your body when your nursing, is also pretty big. I’m average size for a woman, and this pillow fits me perfectly. I also like that it’s large and stuffed enough to support a large baby. Both of my babies were always in the 90th percentile or above on both height and weight, and they never seemed to outgrow this pillow. I have a long torso, and I have found that this pillow doesn’t quite get baby up to the right level unless I cross my legs for more leverage underneath it. This isn’t something that’s bothered me, but I know many moms struggle with getting this to support them correctly. I have found over the years that you have to really snuggle it all the way around you to get it to work without baby rolling in between you and the pillow. This becomes less of a problem as baby gets older and bigger.
I’ve rated this as my favorite pillow for recovering from a C-section because I have been there and done that. I’ve also talked to other friends who have had C-sections and they stated that this was the most comfortable nursing pillow they had found. Not only does it provide proper positioning for breastfeeding your baby, but it provides extra support during recovery from the surgery. I used this pillow in the hospital to nurse my baby, but I also used it on the ride home to hold against my c-section incision as we drove over bumps in the road. Then, I used it at home to nurse my baby, but I left it on my lap all the time to brace my stomach in case of a laugh or sneeze. It helps keep me comfortable and I don’t think I could have recovered as quickly from the C-section without this essential piece of equipment.
This pillow is made from 100% polyester fiber. These fibers are not treated with any chemicals or flame retardant of any kind. I have found that my Boppy has retained its shape and fluff through two kids and over the course of almost 5 years.
My favorite feature about the Boppy is that the entire pillow can be thrown in the washer. I have washed this pillow more times than I can remember, and it has never done any damage to the shape or materials. This pillow is truly well made and will hold up.
The cover that’s included with this original boppy is made from cotton. Another great thing about boppy covers is that you can find them from many different retailers and in many different patterns. You can even find really cute ones on Etsy or have custom ones made to match your nursery decor. The original Boppy covers are not waterproof, so you may want to purchase the additional waterproof cover. That way, you have your pillow, with a waterproof cover over it, and a cute cotton slipcover on top of that.
This is probably one of the best basic nursing pillows on the market. Many, many users have used Boppys for years and love them. The shape and size of this pillow work particularly well for recovering from a C-section and breastfeeding at the same time.They are a little higher on the price range, but I find that you get what you pay for. I also like their versatility, because you can use them for tummy time and sitting baby up, as well as for a napping lounger for baby. The selection of cotton covers is amazing, and I like that it’s easy to buy or sew a custom cover for this pillow. A helpful and time-honored nursing pillow choice.
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My Brest Friend Original Nursing Pillow Review
Second only to the Boppy, is the My Brest Friend Original nursing pillow. This nursing pillow offers an alternative for people who have tried the Boppy and didn’t like it.
Instead of being more of a multi-use pillow, the O-shaped nursing pillow is meant to help while nursing only. It has a C-shaped pillow on the front that’s made of a very firm foam. This pillow also features two bumps on the sides to help keep baby from rolling off. Attached to this is a thin side strap and a thick foam back piece. This piece is designed to give mom back support while she nurses the baby. This makes it a really good option for people who prefer to nurse on a straight-back chair or on the floor. It provides the extra back support that you might be lacking if you nurse somewhere that isn’t as cushioned. It’s also a really good pillow for moms that have previous back problems or injuries. Having that proper support will help keep the muscles from tweaking and aching in your back.
It has a strap that keeps the pillow in place, which is really nice because you won’t have to worry about the pillow and the baby squirming around. The straps can be loosened to accommodate a waste up to 40 inches, so even moms who are a little bigger will be able to comfortably use this pillow. The strap does make it hard to move around for different nursing positions, like football hold.
The main part of this pillow is made from a foam. This foam is they phthalate, lead, BPA, and latex free. The foam maintains its shape well over time, but it can’t be washed. Putting this foam in the washer will destroy it, so you only have to spot clean. This means that the pillow has the potential to get very dirty over time. It also means that the foam can’t be washed before the baby uses it, and this is a problem for this pillow. The foam has a distinct plasticky, sort of chemical smell when it comes from the manufacturer. Some airing out and some sunshine take care of some of the smell, but not all of it. It does take a considerable amount of time for the foam to off-gas enough that you don’t notice the smell.
The My Brest Friend does come with a cotton slipcover. The slipcover is difficult to get on and off, but it can be removed and washed, which is a plus. I also like that the slipcover has a pocket attached to it in the front. This means that you can keep breastfeeding essentials, like nipple cream, breast shields, or even burp rags close by no matter where you are nursing.
This is a quality nursing pillow that is very helpful for a lot of moms. The fact that you can secure it to you helps eliminate the problem of getting an improper fit from a nursing pillow that slides away from the body. The firm and supportive foam really helps to get baby at the right level, but being so flat might not be good for baby’s reflux. The foam pillow itself isn’t washable, but the removable cotton cover is. The good news about this pillow is that it is a little bit cheaper than some of the other more popular options on the market. Overall, this will provide great support at a great price, and works really well for moms who want additional back support for themselves and firm foam support for baby.
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Leachco Cuddle-U Basic Nursing Pillow Review
The wonderful Leachco Cuddle-U Basic Nursing Pillow is a C-shaped nursing pillow, although the curve is so round that I would almost call it more of a U shape. This pillow is designed to go around the torso of the mom so that she can have support under her arms while holding the baby to nurse them. If you have a long torso, you will definitely have to use your arms and this pillow, or some kind of rolled-up towel or blanket and this pillow. If you have a shorter torso, you might be able to use this pillow as the only means of supporting baby while you nurse hands-free. This pillow is unique from other C-shaped pillows in that it has an awesome strap to hold in baby. The strap is shaped sort of like a y, and to me looks almost like a pair of underwear. The velcro on each side holds the strap in place so that you can place the baby in the pillow to take supervised naps. I have found that this made the pillow really useful for baby. It made it a great place for baby to take a nap when she was small and wouldn’t wiggle, and I also made a really good pillow for tummy time and for cushioning baby when sitting up. The large size kept baby comfy and protected. That’s why this pillow is my pick for best multi use nursing pillow.
This pillow is constructed from polyester fiber filling. I like this feeling because it’s very thick and fluffy. It seems to retain its shape overtime. My complaint with this pillow is that it doesn’t seem to have high quality workmanship. There seems to be fibers coming out of the pillows, and the seams don’t seem very sturdy. In fact, many users have complained that their pillow has burst at the seams after a very short time of use. I think this is maybe just a quality problem from Leachco, not a problem with the design of the pillow.
The cover on the pillow is made from cotton. Now, when you buy this basic Cuddle-U nursing pillow, the cover is not removable. This poses a big problem for me. If you have a baby who likes to have leaks from one end or the other, this pillow is going to get very dirty very quickly. The manufacturer recommends that you spot clean only and not machine wash. If you are brave enough, you could probably machine wash this pillow on gentle cycle and dry it on gentle cycle, low heat in the dryer. However, I feel like this is going to affect the longevity of the pillow. The best idea is to purchase the removable and washable cover that you can buy separately. You may even be able to use another pillow cover from brands like Boppy. One fantastic thing about this cover is that it features a small pocket for you to store the baby strap in when not using it.
This nursing pillow provides great support and really fixes is the strain on your neck shoulders and arms. The fact that baby can also safely take naps in it is fantastic, because napping upright right after eating will help to reduce reflux. This is the best nursing pillow for getting different uses out of it for that reason. You can feed with it, nap with it, or use it for tummy time or playtime sitting up. Even though it’s not machine washable, it is cleanable, and you can purchase a separate, washable cover to keep the pillow protected. The price is lower than some other similar pillows on the market. This makes it a smart money choice for nursing moms.
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Luna Lullaby Bosom Baby Nursing Pillow Review
The Luna Lullaby Bosom Baby Nursing Pillow actually has a very unique shape. It’s v-shaped, so while it acts similar to a C-shaped nursing pillow, it allows for a little bit more versatility. One end of the V has a curved edge, while the other end of the V has a straight edge, like a rectangle.
The V shape means that you don’t just have to put it around your torso in the front. You can switch it from side to side and shift it where you need it. That means that if you have some extra curves on your body, you won’t have to worry about fitting into the shape of this pillow. Instead, you can make the shape of this pillow fit you. That means that it provides really good elbow and shoulder support when you’re feeding the baby.
While the pictures don’t do it justice, this thing is actually a very large and very full of stuffing. So, this means you’ll want to really consider where you’re going to use the pillow before you purchase it. If you’re going to nurse in a very padded area like a couch or chair, this pillow might be too big and just too much stuffing for you to properly breastfeed. But, if you prefer to nurse in a straight-back chair or rocking chair, this might be the ideal pillow for you. It’s large enough that it will go from armrest to armrest on a wooden rocking chair, which will give your baby a comfy place to nurse. Being so big makes it good for nursing older babies, as it still is large enough to support a longer and heavier baby.
The unique shape and big size also means that it works well for different breastfeeding positions besides the traditional cradle hold. This particular pillow works really well for the football hold. Also, this pillow can be used for twins. It’s not the best pill on the market for twins, but you can definitely adapt it for that use.
The stuffing on this pillow is made from 100% polyester and zero chemicals or flame retardants. This polyester filling is very soft and fluffy, but it does compress under the weight of a larger baby. I think that’s why they make it so over-stuffed to begin with.
They don’t recommend that you machine wash or dry the pillow, but that you spot clean it instead. I personally don’t like this feature, as the 100% cotton chenille cover doesn’t repel water or moisture very well. Several messes have soaked through both the cover and the pillow and then I feel like the pillow just doesn’t get clean enough. But, I really like the cover on this pillow. The soft cotton chenille is both plush and breathable for baby. It’s also nice that it’s neutral and doesn’t necessarily look like a breastfeeding pillow.
Which leads me to my next point- this pillow can be used for more than just nursing. This makes a great maternity pillow for placing between the knees or to support the belly. It also works really well for tummy time and for propping baby up when they’re learning to sit on their own. It can even be used as a sleeping pillow for adults.
Overall, this is a very good nursing pillow. This is the best pillow for plus size women, since it doesn’t constrict in any way. Any body shape could benefit from this pillow, though. Do keep in mind that this pill is very large and full, so if you are very small, it might be too much pillow to be comfortable while breastfeeding. For the price, this versatile pillow will serve you well during breastfeeding, especially if you plan to breastfeed as your baby gets older. This pillow also wins my pick as best for any nursing position because of its unique shape.
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My Brest Friend Twins Plus Deluxe Nursing Pillow Review
My Brest Friend Twins Plus Deluxe Nursing Pillow is O-shaped and very supportive. It features a large, curved front pillow that’s attached to a small back support pillow. You have to use the strap to fasten this pillow around you. Unfortunately, the straps can’t be removed, so you’ll have to use them no matter what. The straps fasten using a velcro, which is easier to do and undo with one hand, but is also more scratchy on your skin. Having that back support is really handy when you have the added weight of two babies on the pillow and at the breast.
This pillow is great for two babies, but it’s also good for women of different sizes. This pillow will probably fit a average to plus-size woman better than it will fit a very slender woman. If you are slender and would like to use this pillow, you’ll probably have to use rolled up blankets to fill in the gaps between the pillow and your body. Still, the design of this pillow is fantastic.
The pillow itself is made from a thick, cushioned polyester foam. This foam is very supportive for two babies, but it also provides a flat surface for the babies to lay on. This means that when you’re nursing your babies, you won’t have to worry about them rolling off of the curved edges. This makes tandem feeding your twins totally doable and almost a hands-free experience. There is enough space on the this pillow to support the heads and bodies of two babies, whether using the cradle hold or a football hold.
The 100% polyester foam is covered by a 100% polyester fabric cover. This cover is completely removable and machine washable. It seems to be soft and breathable without being too plush. You can’t wash the memory foam insert itself, but you can’t hand wash it in the sink. This means that you’ll still get it mostly clean, but the memory foam will hold up over time because it isn’t constantly getting wet and drying. On the cover, there is a small pocket in the front for keeping things that you’d like close by you. It works great for almost everything, from a small water bottle to a TV remote to a cell phone to nipple shields and breast cream.
This pillow is a must-have for any mom of twins who wants to try breastfeeding. Breastfeeding one baby is hard, but breastfeeding two babies is a whole other ballgame. This pillow makes it not only possible, but comfortable as well. The back, side, and front supports mean that you will be able to comfortably feed your babies on a flat surface and not have to worry about them rolling around. Even if you only have one baby and prefer the football hold, this pillow could be very helpful to you. This pillow is definitely worth the money and will be a lifesaver to any mom of twins.
Finding the Best Nursing Pillow
If you’ve worked with a lactation consultant before, you’ve probably tried some kind of nursing pillow. Each person has their own favorite shape and design, and each pillow will work differently for different moms. Here’s a guide to help you choose the best nursing pillow.
Size and Shape
Once upon a time, nursing pillows only came in a couple of different varieties. Now, you can find many different shapes and sizes to accommodate pretty much any and every nursing need.
Before I go over the different shapes of nursing pillows, I want to address the size of nursing pillows. Similar to pregnancy pillows, nursing pillows are different depending on who is using them. Your own body size, where you nurse, and how long you nurse for will all help determine which pillow you should use. Smaller pillows will work well for traveling and will also work better for women with smaller bodies. Larger pillows work best for those who are exclusively breastfeeding because they’ll provide the most support and usually the most durability.
Also be aware of the height of the nursing pillow. If you have a short torso, the nursing pillow might not be the right size to get the baby at proper nipple level. If you have a long torso, make sure that your nursing pillow is tall enough to get the baby to the right height. Under either circumstance, consider whether or not you want to hold your baby and have the pillow support your arms, or whether you want to let your baby lay directly on the pillow and nurse them hands-free.
This might seem like a small detail, but it’s very important. Getting the baby to the right height at the breast will ensure that they have proper latch. This will make feedings more comfortable and more efficient. It will also protect milk supply. Plus, if you’re going to be feeding your baby upwards of six hours a day, you want to make sure that you and baby are both comfortable and well supported.
C-shaped pillows are often the most common and most versatile nursing pillows. They provide good support across the entire torso for the nursing mom. This means that no matter which side you’re nursing baby on, your arms will be supported. This type of pillow also works well for moms of all body shapes and sizes, because you can adjust the fit to where you need it. This is the shape of pillow that I have personally used to feed two kids, and I love it! I have traveled with it and use it as a nursing pillow, a neck pillow for myself, and a support pillow for baby during nap and play time. In my opinion, this versatile shape gives you the most use from a nursing pillow.
O-shaped pillows are much less common, but they’re the most supportive type of nursing pillow. They’re called o-shaped pillows because they go all the way around the body. Most of the pillows have a sort of C-shaped or crescent shaped pillow in the front, as well as a back pillow attachment for mom. The two pieces are usually connected with some kind of velcro or buckle strap. This does make it tricky because you will have to fasten yourself into this pillow. So if you have a screaming baby in your arms, it can be difficult to sit and take the time necessary to strap yourself into an o-shaped pillow. However, it does provide the best support, So if you are going to be nursing a lot, especially if you’re going to be nursing exclusively during the first year, this type of pillow may be worth the money.
Crescent or V-shaped
The third type of nursing pillow is a crescent or v-shaped pillow. This is very similar to the C-shaped pillow, except it is usually fuller and larger on one end than the other. This type of pillow works really well for curvier moms, since it doesn’t take up as much space on the body. The more flexible shape is good for many different nursing positions, too. One downside of this pillow is that you have to flip it when nursing your baby from one side to the other. This is hard to do if your baby is getting sleepy in between breasts. You’ll have to wake them up so that you can lift and flip the pillow to nurse them on the other side. However, this type of pillow is usually the smallest and therefore the easiest to travel with.
Fillings and Fabrics
I’ve touched several times on the fact that exclusively breastfed babies nurse for several hours per day. This means that they will spend a lot of time laying on a nursing pillow. Just like you would put the time and effort into finding the best crib mattress for baby sleep on, you want to make sure that baby has a high-quality pillow to lay on during nursing sessions. Carefully consider the pillow fillings and fabric cover materials, as well as their washability, before selecting your nursing pillow.
You can find a variety of pillow fillings for nursing pillows. Here are the three most common fillings.
- Polyester. Many of the nursing pillows on the market use a polyester or cotton or other fiber stuffing. This makes them similar in size, shape, and heft to a regular bed pillow. The good thing about this kind of filling is that you can usually adjust it to support where you need it, and also to evenly fill the pillow. This type of stuffing also retains its shape generally well. My favorite thing about this type of pillow filling is that it is usually machine washable. I personally have a nursing pillow that I can stick the entire pillow into the washing machine. This has saved me many times when a leaking diaper went unnoticed and soaked into the pillow itself.
- Foam. A new and wonderful trend in nursing pillows is foam nursing pillows. These pillows usually use some type of memory foam to fill them. Some of the pillows may even be double-sided, featuring a firm foam on one side and a soft foam on the other. This is nice because you can customize the level of support according to your nursing location and the baby’s age. Be sure to carefully research the durability of foam pillows. Many of them may wear down after time and will be permanently indented where you use them the most.
- Natural and organic options. A final filling that I have come across a few times when looking for nursing pillows are natural and organic feelings. Some of these include natural cotton fibers or organic buckwheat hulls. These types of materials are wonderful because they don’t expose your baby to chemicals, like some other pillows might (Foam pillows and synthetic fiber pills seem to be the biggest culprits for having flame retardant chemicals in them). With these natural fillings, you won’t expose your baby to those chemicals, but you also lose out on some other great features. Many of the natural fillings are not machine washable, so cleaning will become a chore. Also, pillow texture and shape may be different if a natural filling, like buckwheat hulls, is used.
The pillow cover is another very important aspect of nursing pillow. The best nursing pillows usually have removable and washable covers. These covers can be made from nearly any material, but usually a soft cotton or polyester is the best bet. Having a cover that is either waterproof or water-resistant is a good idea. That means that every drop of milk, spit up, or other body fluid won’t immediately seep into the pillow. That gives you time to quickly wipe them off and keeps you from having to wash the whole pillow.
How the cover comes on and off the pillow is important. I have used a nursing pillow in the past that had a large zipper on one side of the pillow or baby would like, and this just made it really uncomfortable for my baby. I can only use one side of the pillow and comfortably nurse my baby. Pillow covers with zippers on the seam or with envelope-style encasement work best.