How to Use a Nursing Pillow

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how to use a nursing pillow


Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way for mothers to nourish their newborns, providing them with essential nutrients and bonding moments. However, it can also be a challenging and tiring experience, especially for new mothers. This is where nursing pillows come in. Nursing pillows are specially designed pillows that provide support and comfort during breastfeeding, making the process easier and more enjoyable for both mother and baby. These pillows help mothers find the right position for their baby, ensuring a proper latch and reducing strain on their arms, neck, and back.

Imagine trying to breastfeed without a nursing pillow; it would be like trying to balance a delicate plate on one hand while trying to feed a hungry baby with the other. Nursing pillows act as a stable and supportive surface, allowing mothers to find a comfortable and ergonomic position. They provide a cushioned space for the baby to rest, helping them maintain a proper alignment of their head, neck, and spine. This not only ensures a more comfortable feeding experience but also promotes better digestion for the baby.

Nursing pillows can also be a lifesaver for mothers who have had a cesarean section. The pillows can be positioned in a way that takes the pressure off the incision area, allowing mothers to breastfeed with minimal discomfort. In addition, nursing pillows can be used by fathers or other caregivers who want to participate in the feeding process, providing a supportive and inclusive environment for the whole family.

In this article, we will explore the world of nursing pillows, discussing their importance in breastfeeding and providing valuable tips on how to choose, use, and maintain them. So, if you’re a new or expectant mother looking to enhance your breastfeeding journey, keep reading to discover the wonderful benefits of nursing pillows.

Choosing the Right Nursing Pillow

When it comes to choosing the right nursing pillow, there are several factors to consider. One of the most important factors is the size of the pillow. You want to make sure that the pillow is large enough to provide adequate support for both you and your baby. A pillow that is too small may not provide enough support, while a pillow that is too large may be cumbersome and difficult to position correctly.

Another important factor to consider is the shape of the pillow. Nursing pillows come in a variety of shapes, including C-shaped, U-shaped, and crescent-shaped. Each shape offers different levels of support and comfort, so it’s important to choose one that works best for you. Some mothers prefer the C-shaped pillow, which wraps around their waist and provides support on both sides. Others may find the U-shaped pillow more comfortable, as it provides support for the back and neck as well.

The material of the nursing pillow is also worth considering. Many nursing pillows are made from soft and breathable materials, such as cotton or bamboo. These materials are gentle on both you and your baby’s skin and allow for adequate airflow, reducing the risk of overheating. Additionally, some nursing pillows come with removable covers that can be easily washed, ensuring hygiene and convenience.

In summary, when choosing a nursing pillow, consider the size, shape, and material. It’s important to find a pillow that offers adequate support for both you and your baby and is made from comfortable and breathable materials. By selecting the right nursing pillow, you can enhance your breastfeeding experience and make it more enjoyable and comfortable for both you and your little one.

Preparing the Nursing Pillow

Before using your nursing pillow, it’s important to properly set it up and position it for maximum comfort and support. Start by finding a quiet and comfortable place where you can sit or recline comfortably. Ensure that you have all the necessary supplies nearby, such as burp cloths, nursing pads, and a water bottle. This will minimize the need for unnecessary movements and help you maintain a relaxed and focused breastfeeding session.

Next, place the nursing pillow on your lap or around your waist, depending on the type of pillow you have. Adjust the pillow to the right height by adding or removing inserts if necessary. The ideal position is to have the pillow at a height that brings your baby’s mouth to the level of your breast. This will prevent you from slouching or straining your back and neck while nursing.

Once the nursing pillow is in position, gently place your baby on the pillow, ensuring that their head, neck, and body are well-supported. Use your arms to cradle your baby and guide them to the breast. The nursing pillow should provide a stable and comfortable surface for your baby to latch onto the breast without any difficulty.

Remember to maintain good posture while using the nursing pillow. Sit up straight and align your back, neck, and shoulders. This will not only prevent any discomfort or strain on your body but also promote better milk flow. Additionally, make sure that your baby’s nose is not blocked or pressed against the pillow, as this can interfere with their breathing.

By properly setting up and positioning the nursing pillow, you can create a comfortable and supportive environment for both you and your baby during breastfeeding. This will allow you to focus on the precious bonding time without any discomfort or distractions. So take a moment to ensure that your nursing pillow is ready before each nursing session, and enjoy the beautiful experience of nourishing your baby.

Using the Nursing Pillow for Breastfeeding

Using a nursing pillow during breastfeeding can greatly enhance your comfort and support, making the experience more enjoyable for both you and your baby. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to use a nursing pillow effectively.

Step 1: Positioning

Start by sitting in a comfortable chair or on a bed with good back support. Place the nursing pillow around your waist, making sure it wraps snugly around your body. This will provide a stable foundation and prevent any unnecessary movement.

Step 2: Height Adjustment

Next, adjust the height of the nursing pillow to ensure that your baby is at the proper level for breastfeeding. The pillow should elevate your baby to your breast, allowing them to latch on easily without straining. You can use additional layers or pillows to achieve the desired height.

Step 3: Latching

Once you are properly positioned and the nursing pillow is at the right height, gently bring your baby to your breast. Use your free hand to support their neck and head, guiding them to latch on. The nursing pillow will provide additional support, relieving strain on your arms and helping your baby maintain a good latch.

Step 4: Comfort

Take a moment to ensure that both you and your baby are comfortable. Adjust the nursing pillow as needed to find the most comfortable position for feeding. This might involve shifting your baby’s weight or repositioning the pillow to provide better support.

Step 5: Bonding

Breastfeeding is not just about providing nutrition; it is also an opportunity for bonding and connection. The nursing pillow can help facilitate this by allowing you to maintain eye contact with your baby and engage in skin-to-skin contact. Use this time to relax, enjoy the closeness, and create a strong bond with your little one.

Using a nursing pillow during breastfeeding can make a significant difference in your overall experience. It provides support for your arms, shoulders, and back, reducing strain and promoting good posture. Additionally, it helps ensure that your baby is properly positioned, promoting proper latch and efficient feeding. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can fully utilize the benefits of a nursing pillow and make breastfeeding a comfortable and enjoyable experience for both you and your baby.

Using the Nursing Pillow for Bottle Feeding

Using a nursing pillow for bottle feeding is not only beneficial for the baby’s comfort but also for promoting bonding between the caregiver and the baby. Just like during breastfeeding, the nursing pillow provides support for the caregiver’s arms, shoulders, and back, allowing for a more relaxed and comfortable feeding position.

When using a nursing pillow for bottle feeding, place the pillow around your waist and securely fasten it. This will ensure that the pillow stays in place and provides the necessary support. Gently lay your baby on the pillow, making sure their head is elevated slightly higher than their body, which helps prevent reflux.

The nursing pillow’s raised edges also help keep the bottle in place, allowing you to have both hands free to hold and interact with your baby. This enables you to maintain eye contact, talk, and sing to your baby, promoting a strong emotional connection.

Using a nursing pillow for bottle feeding can mimic the closeness and position of breastfeeding, making the transition between breast and bottle feeding easier for the baby. The familiar position can provide a sense of comfort and security, which can reduce fussiness and make feeding time more enjoyable for both the caregiver and the baby.

In addition to providing physical support, the nursing pillow can also create a cozy and comfortable environment for bottle feeding. The soft and cushioned surface of the pillow offers a comfortable resting place for your baby, allowing them to relax and focus on their feeding. This can help create a positive association with bottle feeding and promote a peaceful feeding routine.

Using a nursing pillow for bottle feeding offers numerous benefits, from promoting bonding and connection to providing physical support and comfort. It can make bottle feeding a more enjoyable and intimate experience for both the caregiver and the baby, establishing a strong foundation for their relationship.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Proper cleaning and maintenance of your nursing pillow is essential to ensure its hygiene and longevity. Regular cleaning will help remove any dirt, stains, or bacteria that may accumulate over time. To clean your nursing pillow, start by checking the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Most nursing pillows can be machine washed on a gentle cycle using mild detergent. Make sure to remove any removable covers or inserts before washing.

After washing, thoroughly rinse the nursing pillow to remove any soap residue. It is important to completely dry the pillow before using it again to prevent the growth of mold or mildew. You can air dry the pillow or use a dryer on a low heat setting.

In addition to regular cleaning, it is also important to maintain your nursing pillow. Check for any signs of wear and tear, such as frayed seams or loose stitching, and repair them if necessary. Keep the nursing pillow stored in a clean and dry place when not in use to prevent dust or dirt from accumulating.

To maintain the shape and support of your nursing pillow, fluff it regularly. Gently knead and squeeze the pillow to redistribute the filling and ensure even support for your baby. This will help extend the lifespan of your nursing pillow and keep it in optimal condition for a longer period of time.

By following these cleaning and maintenance tips, you can keep your nursing pillow clean, hygienic, and in good condition. This will not only ensure the comfort and safety of your baby but also prolong the lifespan of your nursing pillow, allowing you to continue enjoying its benefits for a long time.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Using a nursing pillow may seem straightforward, but there are some common mistakes that people often make. By being aware of these mistakes, you can ensure that you are using your nursing pillow correctly and getting the most out of it.

One common mistake is using the wrong size or shape of nursing pillow. It’s important to choose a nursing pillow that suits your body shape and size. A pillow that is too small or too big may not provide the right amount of support and comfort, leading to discomfort during feeding. Take the time to find a nursing pillow that fits you well and provides the necessary support.

Another mistake is improper positioning. It’s crucial to position both yourself and your baby correctly when using a nursing pillow. The pillow should be positioned at your waist level, allowing your baby to latch on comfortably and at the correct height. Improper positioning can lead to difficulties with latching, ineffective feeding, and even discomfort for both you and your baby.

A common mistake that many new parents make is not utilizing the straps or fasteners on the nursing pillow. These straps are designed to secure the pillow in place and prevent it from sliding or shifting during feeding. Using the straps can provide stability and ensure that your baby remains in the correct position, maximizing comfort and safety.

Failing to clean the nursing pillow regularly can lead to hygiene issues. Spit-up, milk spills, and other messes can accumulate on the pillow’s surface, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and clean the pillow regularly to maintain hygiene and prevent the risk of infections or allergies.

By avoiding these common mistakes and using your nursing pillow correctly, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable feeding experience for both you and your baby.

Tips for Comfort and Support

When it comes to maximizing comfort and support while using a nursing pillow, there are a few tips and tricks that can make a big difference. First and foremost, make sure that the pillow is positioned correctly. The ideal placement is to have the pillow snug against your body, with your baby’s head resting comfortably on the pillow. This will help to provide proper alignment for your baby’s neck and spine, reducing the risk of discomfort or strain.

Consider using additional support pillows or cushions to enhance your comfort. For example, placing a small pillow or rolled-up towel under your arm can help to alleviate pressure and provide extra support while breastfeeding. You can also try using a nursing stool or footrest to elevate your feet and promote better posture.

Another helpful tip is to experiment with different nursing positions. Some moms find that the football hold or side-lying position offers better support and comfort than the traditional cradle hold. Don’t be afraid to try out different positions and find what works best for you and your baby.

In addition to proper positioning, it’s also important to take care of your own comfort. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing and using a supportive chair or nursing glider. Consider using a small pillow or cushion behind your back for added lumbar support.

Don’t forget about relaxation techniques. Breastfeeding can be a beautiful bonding experience, but it can also be tiring and stressful at times. Take deep breaths, practice mindfulness, and find ways to relax during feedings. This can help to reduce tension and increase overall comfort and enjoyment.

By following these tips for comfort and support, you can create a nurturing and comfortable environment for both you and your baby. Remember, breastfeeding should be a positive experience, and with the right tools and techniques, you can make it even more enjoyable.

Alternative Uses of Nursing Pillows

In addition to their primary use during breastfeeding and bottle feeding, nursing pillows have a range of alternative uses that can come in handy for new parents. One creative way to use a nursing pillow is as a support pillow for tummy time. Tummy time is an important activity for infants to help develop their neck and shoulder muscles. By placing your baby on their tummy on the nursing pillow, you can provide a comfortable and supportive surface for them to practice lifting their head and strengthening their muscles.

Another alternative use for nursing pillows is as a positioning aid for babies who are learning to sit up. By placing the nursing pillow around your baby’s waist and back, it can help provide support and stability while they are sitting on the floor or in a high chair. This can be especially helpful during meal times or playtime when your baby is still developing their balance and coordination.

Nursing pillows can also be repurposed as a nursing or feeding support for older children. If you have a toddler who needs some extra support while sitting at the table or on a chair, placing a nursing pillow behind them can provide added comfort and stability. It can also help them maintain a proper sitting posture, reducing the strain on their back and neck.

Nursing pillows can be used as a comfortable and supportive pillow for parents. Whether you’re nursing, bottle feeding, or simply need some extra support while sitting or sleeping, a nursing pillow can provide the cushioning and comfort you need. It can help alleviate pressure points and provide relief for sore muscles, especially in the back, neck, and shoulders.

With their versatile design and cushioning properties, nursing pillows have proven to be a valuable parenting tool beyond their traditional use. By exploring the various alternative uses of nursing pillows, parents can make the most of this versatile and practical accessory.

Safety Considerations

When using a nursing pillow with a baby, it is crucial to prioritize their safety and well-being. Firstly, always ensure that the nursing pillow is used under adult supervision. While nursing pillows are designed to provide support and stability, accidents can still happen if the baby is left unattended. It is important to never leave a baby alone on a nursing pillow, especially on elevated surfaces.

Secondly, make sure that the nursing pillow is used correctly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper positioning and securing of the pillow. It is essential to ensure that the baby is properly supported and that their airways are clear. Position the baby on their back or in a recommended breastfeeding position, with their head and neck well-supported.

Another safety consideration is to be mindful of the baby’s age and developmental stage. Nursing pillows are typically suitable for newborns but may not provide adequate support for older infants who can already sit up on their own. As the baby grows and develops, it is important to reassess the need for a nursing pillow and transition to more appropriate seating and support.

Always check the condition of the nursing pillow before each use. Inspect for any signs of wear and tear, such as loose seams or damaged straps. A nursing pillow in good condition will ensure proper support and reduce the risk of accidents.

Maintain a clean and hygienic nursing pillow. Regularly wash the pillow cover according to the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent the buildup of dirt, bacteria, and allergens. Keep the nursing pillow in a clean and dry environment, away from potential hazards.

By following these safety considerations, you can ensure a secure and comfortable breastfeeding experience for both you and your baby.


Now, let’s address some frequently asked questions about nursing pillows and their usage.

1. Are nursing pillows only for breastfeeding?

No, nursing pillows can also be used for bottle feeding, supporting the baby during tummy time, and as a cushion for sitting and positioning. They provide comfort and support in various situations.

2. How do I choose the right size of nursing pillow?

The size of the nursing pillow should be based on your body size and the position you prefer for breastfeeding. A larger pillow may provide more surface area for support, while a smaller one might be more portable and easier to maneuver.

3. Can nursing pillows help with breastfeeding difficulties?

Yes, nursing pillows can help in several ways. They can improve positioning and latch, reduce strain on the back and arms, and create a more comfortable and relaxed breastfeeding environment.

4. Can nursing pillows be used for twins?

Absolutely! Nursing pillows are especially beneficial for mothers of twins as they provide dual support for both babies while breastfeeding.

5. How do I clean a nursing pillow?

Most nursing pillows come with removable covers that can be washed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Regularly washing the cover helps maintain hygiene and freshness.

6. Are nursing pillows safe for newborns?

Yes, nursing pillows are safe for newborns when used correctly. Make sure to position the baby properly and always supervise during use.

These are just a few common questions about nursing pillows. Remember, each nursing pillow may have specific guidelines and recommendations from the manufacturer, so it’s important to read and follow the instructions provided.


Nursing pillows are an essential tool for breastfeeding mothers. Throughout this article, we have discussed the importance of nursing pillows and how they can greatly enhance the breastfeeding experience. By providing support and comfort, nursing pillows help mothers maintain a proper posture and reduce strain on their backs, necks, and arms. Additionally, nursing pillows promote a better latch and position for the baby, leading to more effective breastfeeding sessions.

We have also explored the versatility of nursing pillows, as they can be used not only for breastfeeding but also for bottle feeding and promoting bonding with the baby. The ergonomic design of nursing pillows ensures that both mother and baby are comfortable and relaxed during feeding times.

We have highlighted the importance of proper cleaning and maintenance of nursing pillows to ensure hygiene and longevity. By regularly washing the covers and following the manufacturer’s instructions, mothers can keep their nursing pillows in excellent condition.

In summary, using a nursing pillow offers numerous benefits for both mother and baby. It provides support, comfort, and proper positioning, making breastfeeding a more enjoyable and successful experience. So, whether you are a new mother or have been breastfeeding for a while, consider adding a nursing pillow to your breastfeeding routine. You and your baby will undoubtedly reap the rewards of this invaluable tool.