“Nursing pillows are amazing. For the first few months, I could set the baby on top of the pillow, which left my hands free to help her with latching and allowed my shoulders to relax,” comments Emily, mother of a 3-year-old and 5-month-old.
For years, new mothers like Emily have extolled the benefits of pillows that help remove some of the strain associated with breastfeeding. However, if you’re not careful about how you position it, both you and your baby could experience discomfort and frustration.
If you’re new to breastfeeding, you’ll quickly learn how important positioning is. Without correct placement, the infant may not get enough milk during a feeding or could experience gastric problems. Mother also could end up with sore shoulders, back and even painful nipples.
According to Breastfeeding USA, babies have to be very close to mom’s body in order to secure a proper latch. The infant should be turned toward mom, basically belly to belly, not lying belly up. Incorrect positioning will force you to lean over the infant, which places extra stress on your back. Sometimes breastfeeding pillows can interfere or inhibit this placement. To make the situation work, you have to find the right type of pillow and then experiment a bit to find the positioning that works for the two of you.
• Pillow types
Breastfeeding pillows come in a variety of shapes with the most common being the “C” or “U” shape. There’s also a wedge pillow and it can be used during pregnancy to ease back stress or as a sleep support.
• Latch first
One of the best ways to use the pillow, according to Breastfeeding USA, is to get the baby to latch first and then adjust the pillow under you and/or baby to provide support. If you notice your child is having difficulty maintaining a latch or you experience pain while nursing, then detach the infant, remove the pillow and try again without it.
• Use for bottle feeding
Anyone who sits with babies to feed them bottles can feel muscle strain after a while, especially as the little one grows bigger and bigger. Use one of these specially designed pillows to prop up baby or rest an arm.
When the ultimate goal is to make sure your baby eats well so she can grow big and strong without creating chronic pain for you, why not take all the help you can get?Leachco Natural Boost – Adjustable Nursing Pillow – Denim
The base of this pillow starts with a traditional design, but a booster cushion enables mothers to adjust its angle to get the best nursing position. Need to switch sides? No problem just flip the booster.
$27.79My Brest Friend Pillow, Sunburst
This pillow is a hit with lactation consultants because it has a reputation for staying in place—no shifting or sliding during feeding. A plush backrest gives mom support while the wraparound pillow serves as armrest.