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Best Nursing Pillows

Updated May 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 15 Models Considered
  • 68 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 76 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best nursing pillows

    Last Updated May 2018


    Those tender moments spent nursing your baby can be amazing. Unfortunately, they're not always the most comfortable for moms. Holding your tiny bundle in just the right position may place strain on your back, arms, shoulders, and neck.

    A nursing pillow can make things easier by providing cushioning and support for your little one during feeds. And they aren't just for breastfeeding, either; nursing pillows work for bottle feeds, too.

    While the market isn't exactly packed with nursing pillow options, the various shapes, sizes, and styles can be a little bewildering nevertheless. If you're struggling to find the perfect nursing pillow, you've come to the right place. We've asked the experts, consulted owners, and turned the best nursing pillows inside out to help you find the perfect one.

    Here at BestReviews, we're committed to creating reliable product reviews that our readers can trust. We never accept free products from manufacturers, so you can count on the fact that our opinions are honest and objective.

    With the help of Aimee, a pediatric occupational therapist with 18 years of experience in the field, we created the detailed guide below. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about nursing pillows.

    No time to spare? We understand. Skip straight to our product matrix above to choose your favorite. We've rounded up five of the best to take some the guesswork out of selecting a great nursing pillow.

    Nursing pillows come in a variety of patterns and colors. Choosing one you love can give it extra appeal, but this shouldn't be a major selling factor. Always choose functionality over style.

    Why use a nursing pillow?

    Of all the baby essentials you'll be purchasing, your nursing pillow might just be the most versatile. Let's take a look at what makes nursing pillows so great.

    • Back Support During Pregnancy: There’s no need to wait for your baby to arrive to start using a nursing pillow. Turning a traditional c-shaped nursing pillow around so that it hugs your back rather than your belly can provide a little extra lower back support while sitting.

    • Breastfeeding Support: Getting your baby to the perfect height for breastfeeding and maintaining that position for the duration of the feed is no easy task. The slightest shift in position is all it takes to break a good latch, leaving you to start all over again. Having a nursing pillow to support your arms and rest your baby on can be a lifesaver.

    • Bottle Feeding Comfort: Bottle feeding can also place strain on the arms. A nursing pillow can make things more comfortable for both you and your baby. Others will also find it easier to give your baby a bottle and, secure in the familiarity of her nursing pillow, your little one is less likely to have any qualms over being held by unfamiliar arms.

    • Propping Your Baby Up: Many nursing pillows are the perfect shape and height to use as a prop so that your baby can take in the sights around him (or so your arms can finally take a break!). What’s more, propping your little one up after feeds can help reduce reflux.

    • Fuss-Free Tummy Time: Tummy time is important for developing muscles in the arms, neck, and back, setting the stage for sitting, crawling, and walking. However, explaining this to a baby who’s not keen on tummy time – and unfortunately, most aren’t – is futile. Using a nursing pillow to prop your baby up during tummy time can improve comfort and might make him a little more open to the whole experience.

    • Sitting Support For Baby: Most babies can do with a little extra support and cushioning when learning to sit. Wrapping a nursing pillow around your baby’s back will give him a bit of security and some padding to lean on. Remember to keep a close eye on him in case he topples over or needs a hand.
       

    As simple as they are, there are plenty of uses for nursing pillows outside of breastfeeding, and it's easy to see why so many moms consider them a must-have baby item.

    EXPERT TIP

    Nursing pillows really do help with positioning for breastfeeding and can relieve back or neck pain when used correctly.


    Aimee  | Pediatric Occupational Therapist

    Nursing pillow shapes

    Just like moms, nursing pillows come in all shapes and sizes. Among the most common are the following.

    • C-Shape: A longstanding favorite, the c-shaped nursing pillow simply slips on and off, making it very easy to use. The open-ended shape allows the pillow to hug your waist on both sides and support your arms without closing at the back.

    • Wraparound/O-Shape: These nursing pillows encircle both the waist and back, forming an “O” shape. Since wraparound nursing pillows fasten into place, there's no need to worry about them shifting. As an added bonus, some have a padded arm and back rest. Wraparound models also tend to be firmer.

    • Crescent and V-Shape: Similar to c-shaped nursing pillows but with less of a curve and widely spaced ends, these may be more comfortable for larger waists. Some crescent-shaped nursing pillows have a tapered end which offers babies more leg room. However, the pillow will need to be flipped over when switching breasts.

    • Twin Nursing Pillows: Designed for tandem feeding, most twin nursing pillows are quite large. These come in a few different styles, including square wrap-arounds and m-shapes, which work better to accommodate two babies at once.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Never leave your baby unsupervised when sitting or lying on a nursing pillow. As secure as they might seem, it only takes a second to roll or topple over.

    Nursing pillow considerations

    Keep these considerations in mind when shopping for a nursing pillow.

    Ease of use

    A nursing pillow that's easy to use is essential. While extra bells and whistles in the form of straps, clasps, bottle holders, and backrests may be enticing, they can often make things unnecessarily complicated. The last thing you need is to have to juggle a hungry baby in one hand and a nursing pillow in the other as you try to figure out how to get it on. Open-ended nursing pillows which slide on and off are by far the easiest to use. If you're concerned about the pillow shifting during feeds and would rather use a wraparound style, check to make sure that it's easy to adjust and fasten.

    Older siblings often enjoy holding the newest addition to the family. With a nursing pillow, they can do so safely and comfortably.

    Comfort

    Choose a nursing pillow that offers a good balance of comfort for both you and your baby. Soft fabric, generous padding, and moderately firm cushioning generally work well for most. Softer nursing pillows may look and feel comfortable at first, but they are unlikely to provide adequate support and may even result in your baby sliding into a gap between your tummy and the pillow. On the other hand, extra-firm nursing pillows offer excellent support and can work well to keep your little one in place. However, these tend to lack flexibility and often add bulk.

    Nursing pillows come in different sizes and heights. Take care to choose the most suitable size for your body type.

    Size

    Smaller nursing pillows are the most portable option, making them convenient to use both at home and on the go. However, don't be tempted to purchase an extra-small nursing pillow unless you only plan to use it for the first few months, as babies can outgrow these rather quickly. Large, firm nursing pillows provide the best support, but they can be bulky.

    When selecting a size, consider where you'll be using it most frequently. Will you spend most of your time nursing in a chair, a glider, or the living room couch? Keep your preferred nursing location in mind to help you choose the best size.

    When washing the nursing pillow itself, repeat the spin cycle for faster drying.

    Ease of cleaning

    Spills, spit-ups, and leaks happen – often. Nursing pillows with removable covers for cleaning can make life a whole lot easier. Being able to take the cover off and toss it into the washer when needed will help keep your pillow looking and smelling fresh. Stain-resistant fabrics, deeper colors, and lively patterns can help mask trouble spots. Most nursing pillows will stand up well to spot cleaning.

    If your nursing pillow doesn't have a removable cover, drape a receiving blanket over it to help keep it clean.

    Durability

    You'll likely want your nursing pillow to survive at least as long as you'll be breastfeeding, but a well-made pillow shouldn't quit when you do. Thicker fabrics, good stitching, and a quality filler all make for a more durable item. Removable covers are generally also replaceable and will go a long way toward extending the life of your nursing pillow.

    EXPERT TIP

    Reading online reviews from existing owners can offer insights into the unique qualities and pitfalls of different types of nursing pillows


    Aimee  | Pediatric Occupational Therapist

    Nursing pillow prices

    When it comes to baby essentials, costs can add up quickly. Thankfully, most nursing pillows are very reasonably priced.

    • $25 to $55: Regardless of style, the average nursing pillow usually falls somewhere within this price bracket.

    • $55 to $100: Twin nursing pillows, organic materials, and tailor-made, monogrammed covers tend to cost a bit more.
    If you find yourself torn between a soft nursing pillow for comfort and a firm nursing pillow for stability, opt for one with dual sides. These can be flipped over should you need a softer or harder surface.

    FAQ

    Q. Can I leave my baby on a nursing pillow if she falls asleep during a feed?
    A.
    No. As tempting as it may be to allow your little one to sleep on her nursing pillow, this can be incredibly dangerous. Sliding down or rolling over can cause airways to become blocked and may even lead to suffocation. Always place your baby on her back when putting her down to sleep, and keep her crib clear of pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and anything else that may pose a suffocation hazard.

    Q. What should I use to spot clean my nursing pillow cover?
    A.
    If your nursing pillow isn't machine washable or you'd like to keep it clean between washes, it's a good idea to keep some chemical-free spot cleaner on hand. One option is to apply mild soap or detergent to the area and gently rub before wiping away with a damp cloth. Raw apple cider vinegar also works well as an antimicrobial cleaner. To make your own antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral spot-cleaning solution, fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and apple cider vinegar. Lightly spray your nursing pillow and allow to air dry.

    Q. Can I use a nursing pillow if I've had a C-section?
    A.
    Absolutely. Using the right nursing pillow can even help protect the incision site. However, as the abdomen can be sensitive following a c-section, some moms prefer a firmer nursing pillow for the first few weeks, as these won't bulge under pressure and touch the healing incision.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Erica
      Erica
      Writer
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor