Are you searching for the best nursing pillow? Our review ranks today's top 10 nursing pillows. Finding a nursing pillow that functions well is essential to your breastfeeding success and enjoyment. Our baby experts hold over a decade's worth of testing experience and have tested more than 37 different nursing pillows, so it's safe to say we have the necessary expertise to help guide your search. After reviewing each nursing pillow's quality, stability, ease of cleaning, and functionality, we provide the details you need to find the best pillow for your needs and budget.
We love the Blessed Nest Organic Nesting pillow. This pillow stands out among the competition because its filling is organic buckwheat hulls instead of foam. The buckwheat offers mold-ability that forms to your body and your growing baby. This superior, somewhat customizable support means no awkward hunching or additional pillows to get your baby's head at the right height for feeding. We appreciate the versatility of the Blessed Nest because it also makes a great pregnancy support pillow. This pillow with high-quality materials is sure to last. The GOTS certified outer organic cover is easy to remove for washing, and you'll feel good about your baby's sensitive skin against the material. It does an adequate job absorbing spit-up before it reaches the inner pillow, and you can toss the pillow body in the dryer to help keep things sanitary and free from dust mites. We appreciate the organic material in this pillow, so your baby isn't inhaling potentially toxic fumes 5-8 hours a day.
The buckwheat makes this pillow heavy. At approximately 5 1/2 lbs, it can feel like a lot when you add the baby's weight on top, especially if you've had a c-section. We recommend using the "football" hold until you heal to help avoid discomfort. This product is also one of the most expensive pillows in this review, but the higher price gives you organic, high-quality materials, so you can justify the cost if your budget allows.
The Ergobaby Natural Curve is an ergonomically shaped polyurethane foam nursing pillow. It is firm, free from flame retardants, and has a removable cover that is washing machine-friendly. The pillow's thoughtfully designed shape allows for belly-to-belly breastfeeding and keeps the baby's head above the stomach. In addition, the firmness of the material does not lose shape over time. Ergobaby claims that the extra support will help to prevent slouching and back strain while breastfeeding.
This pillow has a more purpose-specific design and may not be as versatile as some of the competition. Some of the qualities that make it an excellent nursing pillow prevent it from being useful in other capacities. For example, it is not soft enough to be a useful backrest for mom and is a bit too structured to use as a support pillow for your baby. There is no belt strap on the Natural Curve, and some moms found it challenging to keep the pillow positioned properly. Overall, we found very few flaws with this pillow. If you are okay with purchasing a single-function product and would like something to help support good posture, the Ergobaby is a good choice.
My Brest Friend Deluxe is a unique, wrap-around pillow. The thick band that wraps around your back provides support to help with any nursing strain, and the wrap-around style keeps the pillow in place so your baby can stay latched. Traditional C-shaped pillows tend to shift and need regular adjusting while nursing. Constant adjustment is not the case with the Brest Friend. Once secure, you'll have a firm but soft surface for nursing. We also appreciate the pocket feature. It is a convenient place to keep everything from burp cloths to nipple cream or your phone. When purchasing the Deluxe version of the pillow, you will get a soft and snuggly slipcover, perfect for babies with sensitive skin.
While we love many things about this option, the foam's quality is disappointing, and there is no base cover for added protection. Some users note that the foam can fall apart when removing the slipcover for cleaning. Also, the wrap-around style can be a bit of a pain to put on. Connecting the straps around your body can be challenging while holding a baby, and we suspect some moms will stop using the belt over time. The wrap also utilizes Velcro. While removing it with the silent release straps (whew!), the Velcro sticking to other materials can be annoying. Overall, we think the pluses outweigh the negatives, making this an option we highly recommend.
The Humble-Bee Nurse-Sling is an innovative breastfeeding accessory that makes nursing on the go simpler. The sling-style cushion hangs on the mom's shoulder and creates a soft and supportive place for the baby's head to rest. The strap is easy to adjust while wearing, and thanks to the minimal design, mom and baby are less likely to overheat during feedings than with a traditional pillow. Once you get the hang of positioning your baby, the Nurse-Sling can provide a hands-free feeding time. The sling fits into a carry case that is small enough to stuff in a diaper bag or the basket of a stroller. The cotton cover and polyester core are both machine washable. A pocket on the outside offers a convenient space to keep essentials such as nipple cream and a burp cloth. After the breastfeeding days are over, you can remove the pillow core and use the case as a sling bag.
We like that the minimal design makes the Humble-Bee so portable. However, it offers less support for mom and baby, and the mom's neck and shoulder end up bearing most of the weight. During extra-long feeding sessions, this can get uncomfortable. It can also be challenging to keep a squirmy baby correctly positioned, as the pillow only supports the back of the head and neck. We suspect that the light polyester fiber filling will condense over time and be less cushiony. However, if you use this exclusively as a travel accessory and have a traditional pillow you use at home, we believe it will hold up well. If you like to pack light for your daily outings but still want a more comfortable nursing experience, the Humble-Bee Nurse-Sling is for you.
Why You Should Trust Us
BabyGearLab has over ten years of testing experience with more than 37 nursing pillows, bringing a high level of expertise not found in competition pillow reviews. We spent months evaluating, researching, and using the nursing pillows. We even enlisted the help of real nursing moms who provided feedback. While each nursing pillow aims to bring the baby closer to breast level, they don't all do it the same way with the same level of success. There are several factors to consider when finding a nursing pillow that's right for you and your baby, including ease of use, materials, and ease of cleaning.
To find the best nursing pillows, our founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier, a board-certified pediatrician and mother of two, helps select the competitors from the top-ranked options on the market using her personal experience and client feedback on nursing problems or concerns. Also contributing to this review is Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, and mom of 2. Having nursed both children for over a year, Wendy brings her personal nursing experience to the table when analyzing each product and the information provided by hands-on testers.
Analysis and Test Results
Choosing to breastfeed your baby can be gratifying but challenging. With nearly 75% of mothers attempting to nurse, the number of breastfeeding products like nursing pillows is rising. A nursing pillow can support and reduce your effort to focus on successful nursing and your little one. This review breaks down the differences between top contenders to help you choose the best pillow for you and your baby.
When it comes to finding an excellent pillow for nursing, we encourage you to think about how often you'll use it. Since you'll be using the pillow multiple times every day, a more expensive option will quickly break down to pennies-per-use and offer a greater value over the product's lifetime. Also, most pillows will last through multiple babies, making it gear you can use for years. Pillows can also be used for comfort, propping up older babies, and for dad's helping with feeding. The Ergobaby Natural Curve and My Brest Friend Deluxe are budget-conscious choices that rank high overall in our tests. Despite the higher list price, the Blessed Nest Organic Nesting is also a good value. It provides organic and natural materials for sensitive moms or babies and a versatile shape. Even if you only use it for the first year, it will be one of the least expensive items in your nursery, and it will make your life easier, and it is hard to put a price on that.
Nursing comfort is the metric we consider the most important. If a nursing pillow doesn't increase your overall comfort, then it's missing the point. We considered you and your baby's comfort and combined them to one score for overall nursing comfort.
Our favorite options have a semi-firm filling that can support a young infant while being soft enough to mold to the shape of both bodies (mom and baby). We prefer pillows that wrap around your waist and allow you to rest your elbows and prevent slouching. A few options, like the Frida Mom and the My Brest Friend Deluxe have belt straps with built-in lumbar support that is much appreciated during longer feeding sessions.
The most comfortable pillow we tested is the Blessed Nest. They both have a wider-than-average surface for the baby to rest on, and the Blessed Nest is easily customizable to fit your height and shape preferences. Both of them stay put and require minimal adjusting mid-feed. The lowest scoring for comfort is the Luna Lullaby Travel Pillow. This pillow is soft and not very supportive, lacking in height and sturdiness, which results in constant pad adjustment during feeding.
Ease of Use
An excellent pillow for nursing should be easy to use without being something a new mother needs to master. Since a baby's hunger typically dictates the time and the place, a mom often finds herself breastfeeding in various locations. A great pillow is easy to carry and store to accommodate this best. Extra features that make a mom's job easier, such as pockets for items like the best burp cloth and nipple salves, are nice. The ease of positioning and removing a pillow is also important. Straps can be a double-edged sword, keeping the pillow stationary and secure during feeding, but they require more setup than plain pillows.
We find buckles like those on the Boppy Best Latch can make positioning more challenging and cumbersome, especially during nighttime feedings. Last, we consider how each pillow fits during different postpartum experience stages and for women with various body shapes. The Ergobaby Natural Curve performs well despite its simple design and lack of additional features. It is portable in size and weight, easy to position with one hand, and fits many women well. The Ergobaby, and the Blessed Nest Organic Nesting scored well for ease of use. The most challenging option to use is the Luna Lullaby. The Luna slips away from mom's body easily, and the thinness impacts how you can position your little one for a good latch.
Having an easily portable nursing pillow in the car, like the Humble-Bee Nurse-Sling or the Luna Lullaby Travel Pillow can make a huge difference when nursing away from home.
Cushion and cover materials can impact the pillow's overall quality, feel, and user experience. Our review includes 100% synthetic, 100% cotton, synthetic-cotton blend, and foam products.
The Blessed Nest Organic Nesting has natural materials like buckwheat hulls and organic cotton. Each material has pros and cons, and it often comes down to personal preference and lifestyle to determine which is right for you. However, when possible, we prefer to lean toward natural products and make an effort to avoid pillows that can potentially off-gas.
For instance, the Blessed Nest Organic Nesting is an all-natural pillow featuring a 100% organic cotton cover and an interior filling of organic, pesticide-free buckwheat hulls. Although this pillow costs double the price of some competition, some parents may feel the additional expense is acceptable for the all-natural materials. However, the Blessed Nest cover doesn't compare to the snuggly softness of polyester covers, like the one found on the Luna Lullaby.
In theory, a nursing pillow should last through at least six months of nursing before your baby can fully support him or herself. Ideally, you can use it for multiple children over the years. We analyzed shape retention based on the materials inside each pillow and how well they hold up to washing and cover removal. Some contenders look brand new after months of use, while others grow lumpy, compressed, or misshapen.
Many nursing pillows provide the firm support necessary in early infancy by utilizing internal foam. The My Brest Friend Deluxe and Ergobaby Natural Curve have a polyurethane foam core. This material is more likely to hold its shape well over time without compressing. However, the foam has other concerns, such as the potential for off-gassing. Fortunately, none of the pillows in our review use flame retardant chemicals in their foam (woohoo!).
Ease of Cleaning
Trust us, spills and spit-ups are inevitable. So, you'll need to clean your pillow or cover regularly. But, not all products are equal when it comes to the necessary time and effort to get them clean and back in action. With the number of times you need to use your pillow each day, you don't want your pillow out of commission for very long.
The best options to clean have covers and pillows that are machine washable and dryer safe, like the Boppy Bare Naked. This design is a huge time-saver. The Humble-Bee Nurse-Sling earned the top score for ease of cleaning with a 9 and machine washable and dryable cover and cushion. Unfortunately, some pillows have foam inserts that can only be spot cleaned and laid flat to dry (total time suck). While testing, we timed how long it took to put the cover back on each pillow after washing. Although this task should be simple, it took us over ten minutes to put some pillows back together. Liquid repelling covers such as the one on the Luna Lullaby also offer quick clean-up. Still, it earned the lowest score for cleaning in the group because the pillow is not machine washable, and when you remove the cover to clean it, the pad changes shape when it is replaced.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed, babies often eat for longer than you ever thought possible. With some feeding sessions lasting upwards of 40 minutes, we think moms will appreciate a supportive accessory to help hold and position little ones as they feed. A nursing pillow can be an essential piece of gear, providing the physical support needed to feed your baby without struggle or pain. We offer the details and specifics you need to be equipped to make the right choice for you and your brand-new little one.
Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team