Breastfeeding pillows are specially designed for breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding pillows can be found in a variety of styles and designs, and they are designed to support your baby while you breastfeed. Learn how to use a breastfeeding pillow to ensure your baby is in the proper position and to ease strain on your spine.
Selecting a Breastfeeding Pillow
You should consider the length of time you will be nursing
A breastfeeding pillow is a somewhat long-term investment. As long as you enjoy using it, and it works well for you and your baby, you will use it until you are done breastfeeding. When choosing your pillow, keep this in mind.
- Some mothers only breastfeed for three or four months. If this is the case, you may not need to worry about the length and size of the pillow. Baby in that age range should fit on most breastfeeding pillows without much difficulty.
- Many women choose to breastfeed for a longer period of time. If you intend to breastfeed your child for a couple of years rather than a couple of months, go with a larger-sized pillow that can support a bigger child. In time, however, a baby’s head will help him support himself and his body will be able to control its functions better. A pillow might not be necessary for support as you get past a year old.
Look into fit and shape
When choosing a breastfeeding pillow, you should consider more than just your baby. To ensure that the breastfeeding pillow fits your body, you must also consider your own size and shape.
- Many breastfeeding pillows are designed to strap around your torso so the pillow can support the baby’s head and neck when you breastfeed. Choose a pillow that will fit your midsection shortly after birth. It can be helpful to visualize yourself 5 to 6 months pregnant, as this gives you an idea of what size to buy.
- Breastfeeding pillows come in different shapes: “c” shape, “o” shape, and the crescent shape. The “c” shape tends to be the most universal shape and generally fits the most body types while providing adequate arm support.
- O-shaped pillows wrap around the entire body, which can be good if your need extra support after pregnancy due to complications or a c-section.
- Crescent shapes are designed to wrap around the side of your body. They might not work as well for smaller women as the sides might fall on the back of the chair, sofa, or wherever you’re sitting. Some crescent-shaped pillows, however, are adjustable and can be maneuvered to fit multiple sizes.
Decide whether or not you want fastening straps
Breastfeeding pillows with fastening straps are popular. The buckles allow the pillow to fit as close to your body as possible.
- The main advantage of fastening straps is that they keep the pillow more secure. This makes breastfeeding less disruptive. The straps can also be used to pull the baby closer to your body.
- The biggest disadvantage of fastening straps is how difficult it is to take them on and off. Breastfeeding can be unpredictable. There may be issues with your baby, such as spitting up. Other children or pets could need attention, resulting in you needing to walk away from breastfeeding for a moment. Straps could delay your response time to issues that occur.
Make sure it’s easy to clean
Breastfeeding pillows can easily become dirty. Baby spit ups and other accidents cause debris to accumulate. Choose a pillow that’s easy to clean.
- The easiest breastfeeding pillows to clean have covers that can be removed and then machine washed and dried.
- Some breastfeeding pillows come with foam inserts that can be hand washed and then laid out to dry.
- Materials used also play a factor in the ease of cleaning your pillow. Sometimes, organic materials can be harder to clean. However, if you feel more comfortable with pesticide-free padding and fabrics know you might have to take time to hand wash your pillow.
Feeding with a Breast Feeding Pillow
Decide how you’ll sit while feeding your baby
During breastfeeding, how you use the pillow depends on how you position your body. Choose a position that is most comfortable for you and your child.
- Many women choose to breastfeed while lying on their backs or on their sides, which is a popular position for breastfeeding. You can cuddle the baby by laying him across your chest or stomach to feed him, or have him lay right next to you on a bed or sofa. It may not be necessary to use a breastfeeding pillow if you use one of these positions.
- The breastfeeding pillow is especially useful if you breastfeed while sitting on a chair or sofa with the baby across your lap. It can support the baby’s head and neck while you breastfeed.
- Most women breastfeed from the side and tuck the baby under their underarms for support. In such cases, a pillow is usually necessary. Such feedings can be made easier with a breastfeeding pillow, particularly a crescent-shaped one.
Use a breastfeeding pillow while breastfeeding
When you sit down to breastfeed, regardless of the position and pillow type you chose, make sure you breastfeed with you and your baby’s safety in mind.
- Place the breastfeeding pillow along the arm, lap, or side of your body where the baby will be seated during feeding.
- Gently, take your baby and place his feet under your arm, facing your back. Position him so his tummy is facing your body.
- Ease your baby down onto the breastfeeding pillow. The pillow will do some work for you in regards to supporting your baby.
- Make sure your baby is positioned on his side with his tummy facing you. Improper positioning could lead to gastric reflux or difficulty swallowing.
Try using the pillow for bottle feeding
Breastfeeding pillows can also be used safely when bottle feeding when you’re weaning your baby or your partner is also feeding the baby.
- Place the pillow on your lap or side and find a comfortable place to sit. You should lie with whichever arm you are using to support the baby’s head on the pillow.
- If you are bottle-feeding your baby, he or she should be lying on a slight incline. He should tilt his head upward slightly.
- While you’ll have to use your arm to keep your baby from wriggling too much, the pillow will still provide some support and take some of your baby’s weight off of you.