Best Nursing Pillow
We love the Blessed Nest Organic Nesting pillow. This pillow stands out among the competition because it's filling is organic buckwheat hulls as opposed to foam. What the buckwheat offers is moldability that forms to your body and your growing baby. This superior, somewhat customizable support means no awkward hunching or utilizing 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 resting on 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 toxic fumes 5-8 hours a day.
One drawback is that 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. Also, this product is 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.
Read Review: Blessed Nest Organic Nesting
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, because once it is 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. Also, when purchasing the Deluxe version of the pillow, you will get a soft and snuggly slipcover, which is perfect for babies with sensitive skin.
While we love many things about this option, the foam's quality is disappointing, and there is no cover beside the slipcover. Some users note that the foam can fall apart when you remove 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 you can remove 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.
Read Review: My Brest Friend Deluxe
If you have been around nursing mothers in the past 25+ years, you've probably heard of the Boppy. The Boppy is classic, and the Boppy Bare Naked lets you decide which cover you like best (a variety of options sold separately). The most popular are the polyester/cotton blend Boppy Classic Slipcover, and the utilitarian water-resistant Boppy Protective Slipcover that reduces the need for washing. Alternatively, the Boppy Luxe provides the pillow with a soft and minky type feel with thick piping for extra pampering. The Boppy is super versatile in design. While most parents buy the pillow for breast or bottle-feeding their baby, it has multiple extended uses. Parents have found that the Boppy is a useful tool during tummy time, extra support for sitting up, and a comfy place for playing or resting. The great quality of the pillow allows for years of use.
While the Boppy fits a good range of body types, it is not a one size fits all pillow. Some postpartum women, along with some men, will find it doesn't fit them very well or at all. It can also shift while feeding, especially if your baby is extra squirmy. The pillow can pull away from your stomach, which creates a gap. Last, while we think the quality of the product is high and it typically lasts for a long time, the pillow will flatten somewhat with regular use. Overall, this pillow is a classic for a reason; it is comfortable, versatile, and will last for years after your nursing days are over.
Read Review: Boppy Bare Naked
The Twin Z is the answer for a twin pillow. While it is perfect for breastfeeding, it can also serve other purposes. The pillow's versatile nature allows for bottle feeding, tummy time, pregnancy, support when babies are sitting, and a toddler pillow. It is a comfortable spot to lay babies down at an incline for anything from helping with reflux to looking at books. The pillow is different than other models with a centerpiece of the pillow that folds up to go behind mom's back while feeding, offering crucial and welcome back support.
The Twin Z is quite large, making it a comfortable spot for twins, but makes feeding them in a chair somewhat of a chore. You'll likely need to nurse on a couch, bed, or floor to accommodate the pillow's width. The size also impacts the pillow's ability to travel. Also, the interior of the cushion is 100% cotton and will flatten some with use. Overall, the versatility this pillow provides for parents of twins is hard to beat.
An alternative to the Twin Z is the My Brest Friend Twin Plus. Each product has pros and cons, so you'll need to consider which choice best meets your needs.
The Luna Lullaby Lil Something is the perfect nursing pillow for the mom on the go. It is compact but effective, making it an ideal fit for your carry-on bag or the basket of your stroller. This pillow is helpful tummy time support with the soft plush material and curved shape, and we appreciate that it is made in the U.S.A. and contains no flame retardants. All of this, at a great price, makes this pillow one of our top choices.
While we love the plush and cozy feel of this product, some users feel the pillow is too soft or too small. This problem can cause your baby to sink in, parent hunching, or the pillow sliding away from you. Also, the pillow itself is not machine washable, which seems like an oversight. While you can wash the cover, babies often make messes that penetrate the cover creating an impossible situation.
If the Luna isn't your thing, the littlebeam is another excellent travel nursing pillow to consider.
Read Review: Luna Lullaby Lil Something
The Boppy Best Latch is a dual-sided breastfeeding pillow. It offers a firm side great for newborns and a plush side for older babies. The softer side also feels nice on your lap. This Boppy is a thicker pillow and should work well for moms with longer torsos. The pillow offers a buckle that helps keep it from sliding around, so your baby stays nice and close to you. The pillow can be machine washed, which is welcome and rare in this kind of product. While you can't remove the cover for washing, we like knowing that a spit up or diaper leak isn't saturating the pillow's interior.
The buckle on this product could use an upgrade because it isn't the easiest to use. The buckle sits behind your back, which can be uncomfortable to lean on. Also, the pillow can be prone to sagging after a few months, and you may find yourself wishing for extra support. Overall, we like this pillow, and the dual side feature is hard to beat.
Read Review: Boppy Best Latch
The Luna Lullaby Bosom Baby is a super plush nursing pillow. Moms and babies enjoy how comfortable it is, and the soft cover comes in multiple patterns and colors, is fleece-like, and ideal for cool weather feedings. The L-shape makes it easy to use and adjust, and the shape fits plus-size moms more easily than pillows like the Boppy Bare Naked.
This pillow can be a bit overwhelming for petite moms and small infants thanks to its larger size. Also, the material is so soft that it can compress and the baby can slide into the gap. While the cover is washable, the inner cushion is not. This lack of washability is a bummer because we know that little ones can make big messes. This product is more expensive than much of the competition in this review. So, while there are some things to consider before purchase, many moms love their Bosom Baby.
Read Review: Luna Lullaby Bosom Baby
The Infantino Elevate is an interesting twist on a dilemma facing several nursing moms. Some moms feel that nursing pillows lack the height to get the baby to the breast without slumping and hunching in an uncomfortable position. The "book-like" style of the pad allows you to flip support layers to get the baby's head to the best height for breastfeeding with less strain for mom. This adjustability can create a hands-free device, which is convenient. It also assists babies that need more of an incline because of reflux issues. Also, moms with longer torsos or larger bosoms seemed to have an easier time with this pillow in comparison to moms with a more petite build. This pillow is sturdy and durable.
The middle section of this product seems to create a lump that presses into the middle of the baby's back. And the multi-tiered system can prevent getting baby close enough to the breast. Also, while the quality is durable, it may come at the cost of scratchy material and firm padding. Overall, if you are struggling to find a pillow that is right for your shape and size, the Elevate is a versatile choice worth trying.
The Lansinoh Nursie is a good choice for those who want to avoid wrapping a pillow around their waist. The style is different than your typical nursing pillow because you slide it onto your arm to raise your baby to the appropriate height to feed, versus sitting on your lap. This design is nice for moms recovering from a c-section, as it relieves the pressure that a wrap-around pillow can place on the incision site. The pillow is more compact than the traditional counterparts, making it a nice solution for travel or to keep in the car. The soft plush material is super comfortable, and the entire pillow is easy to wash by tossing it into the washing machine.
We feel this option is great for older babies, but tiny infants or first time nursing moms may struggle with nursing one-handed, as it can often take two to get a good latch. Also, the soft, cozy material can get warm and make you sweaty. While we like the gender-neutral design, we wish there were different covers for purchase as the white fabric looks pretty until the first stain. Overall, this pillow can fill a niche for moms looking for something specific.
The Itzy Ritzy Milk Boss is a versatile arm pillow that works well for bottle or breastfeeding, as well as assisting with burping baby after feeding. The pillow is similar to the Lansinoh Nursie, freeing your lap from a wrap-around design, and the soft cushion helps relieve sore arms from multiple daily feedings. It is easy to use with no buckles or latches to hassle with, stick your arm through the hole, position your baby, and you're ready to go!
While the pillow is user-friendly, it can take several tries to get the best position. The cushion is super supportive but is also very thick, and those with larger breasts or shorter torsos may find that the Milk Boss raises baby too high for comfortable nursing. The placement can be awkward and take some finagling to figure out as you struggle to adjust the pillow one-handed while holding a baby. Itzy Ritzy does have a helpful video that demonstrates how the pillow works. Also, while the pillow is machine washable, the cover is not removable. Despite the potentially longer learning curve, this might be a good choice for those looking for something different with an increased boost.
Why You Should Trust Us
To find the best nursing pillows, our founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier, board-certified pediatrician, and mother of two, helps select the competitors from the top-ranked options on the market using her personal experience and feedback from clients on nursing problems or concerns. This roundup also includes Senior Review Editors, Wendy Schmitz (mom of 2) and Abriah Wofford. 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 testers. With over 10 years of combined experience, either using or testing pillows for nursing, the team brings a level of expertise not found in competing pillow reviews.
We spent months evaluating, researching, and using the nursing pillows. All of the pillows achieve the goal of bringing baby closer to breast level, but they don't all do it in the same way or with the same level of success. There are several factors to consider when finding a nursing pillow that is right for you and your baby, including ease of use, materials, and ease of cleaning. These 11 pillows were used by real nursing moms who provided feedback on the critical metrics for each pillow testing them side-by-side for a great comparison experience.
For any new mother, choosing to breastfeed your baby can be gratifying, but it can also be challenging. Therefore, we put mom and baby first when testing and scoring nursing pillows. With nearly 75% of mothers at least attempting to nurse, the number of breastfeeding products is rapidly rising, such as nursing pillows, breast pads, nipple salve, breastmilk supplies, and breast pumps. Nursing can be beautiful, but it isn't without its hurdles. A nursing pillow can provide support and reduce effort so that you can focus on successful nursing. While a pillow for nursing can seem insignificant, it is more involved with various potential options and features designed for nursing success. In this review, we break down the differences between top contenders to help you choose the best pillow for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding is a Workout
As a new mother, you may not realize how helpful a nursing pillow can be until you begin nursing. Plus, it may seem more like a luxury than a necessity. After all, a regular old pillow already in your home and should work, right? Honestly, for the majority of nursing moms, not so much.
The reality is breastfeeding a newborn can last up to 40 minutes a session, and with an average newborn feeding 8-12 times a day (sometimes, an hour after you just finished your last nursing session), comfort and support for mama is critical. Of course, once your baby gets the hang of things and grows, frequency and duration will somewhat taper, but not significantly until your baby starts eating solids. Also, as your baby grows, you'll have more baby weight to support. In short, breastfeeding is a physical endurance sport for mom, and proper support can be essential to continued success. Without it, you can experience fatigue and pain in the arms, neck, shoulders, wrists, and back. Also, your baby may not be in an optimal nursing position, affecting latch, nipples, and your milk supply. The more negatives you correlate with nursing, the higher chance there is that you'll give up.
So, once you realize you'll be breastfeeding your baby about 5-8 hours a day, a nursing pillow becomes more of a necessity and less of a luxury. After all, one of the most significant benefits of nursing is the quality of mommy and baby bonding time that helps you adjust to life together. Without the aid of a suitable nursing pillow, feeding can become difficult, uncomfortable, and frustrating instead of a bonding opportunity.
Nursing typically has a steep learning curve, and it may take weeks to get the hang of effective feeding. A well-made pillow can help support a baby so that mom has full use of her hands to get her breast in the right position to help baby latch correctly. Mom will also use her arms to support and cradle the baby close. Plus, a pillow will provide mom with a place to rest her arms during nursing, which results in less strain to the neck, shoulders, and back.
Nursing Pillow Basics
There are a variety of options for pillows designed for nursing, and some have more features than others. However, remember that a nursing pillow has a single purpose of making breastfeeding more comfortable.
A woman's body will go through a dramatic metamorphosis through pregnancy and postpartum. The various shapes of pillows for nursing suit different body types. We evaluated the following shapes in this review:
- Crescent Roll — sits in front of the body with little to no wrapping. Examples of this style are the Blessed Nest Organic Nesting, and the Luna Lullaby Bosom Baby. The increasingly popular crescent-shaped pillows wrap around a single side of mom's body. The crescent Luna Lullaby Bosom Baby provides extra support in the middle of the cushion where the baby's head rests. This shape can be ideal for curvy women, but it doesn't fit smaller women very well with sides so long they tend to bump against the back of the chair or sofa where mom is sitting. We liked the gently curved shape of the Blessed Nest Organic Nesting Pillow, as it is effortless to adjust with one hand and fits women of different sizes equally well.
- O-Shaped — wraps around the entire body like the letter "O." This style includes the Twin Z and My Brest Friend Deluxe. The O-design has the advantage of wrapping around the body with cushioned back support and an adjustable waist-belt for a snug fit. This style may not fit all women well, but the pillow will stay with you if you get up to change locations or positions.
- C-Shaped — are the traditional, wrap-around C-shaped nursing pillows, such as the Boppy Bare Naked. Boppy also has the Boppy Best Latch specifically for nursing with a plush, firm side for newborns and a cushy side for older babies. It includes an adjustable belt but does not have lower back support. This shape tends to fit a variety of body types and provides arm support no matter which side your baby is feeding or which hold you use.
- Arm Pillow — this type of pillow slides onto your forearm, like the Itzy Ritzy Milk Boss and Lansinoh Nursie. This innovative style works well for moms recovering from a c-section as there is no pillow weight resting on the midsection. It is also great for women of various shapes and sizes as it does not wrap around the body, but it can make your arm sweaty and has a steeper learning curve.
- Alternative Shapes — The Infantino Elevate does not fit in the traditional categories. This pillow lays flat on your lap, with no wrapping, and although adjustable, it does so in a different way to help you and your baby obtain a comfortable position.
No matter where you plan to nurse, you'll be sitting up, and your ideal pillow will need to fit your body shape. Your posture is important so you can position the baby's head and body at the height of your nipple. A few nursing pillows offer a buckle strap like the Twin Z or Velcro strap system like the My Brest Friend Deluxe to help achieve a secure and tight fit around the waist. Some pillows, like the Boppy Best Latch pillow and Luna Lullaby, are taller, which better suits longer torsos. Other pillows offer a no-frills, simplistic approach designed to wrap around the front and one or both sides of the body. Try to imagine yourself 5-6 months pregnant to help determine which style will fit your midsection best right after birth.
Three of the pillows we tested, My Brest Friend Deluxe, Twin Z, and the Boppy Best Latch, offer a buckle system to help keep the pillow close for the best possible fit. While these features keep the cushion from moving and prevent the baby from slipping between the mom's body and the pillow, they also make it challenging to get the pillow on and off. Typically, feeding time comes with some subtle (or not so subtle) warnings from the baby. When mom struggles to hold a hungry baby with one hand and get the pillow secure with the other, the extra step of buckling will probably go undone.
Nursing Support and Comfort
A breastfeeding relationship has a greater chance of success if proper technique and great support happen from the very beginning. A good latch is essential to effective and natural breastfeeding. If your nipple or body suffers, everything can quickly spiral out of control resulting in new moms giving up the nursing dream. Using the right pillow can help you focus on a great nursing experience rather than worrying about your comfort or supporting your baby's body.
The primary function of a pillow for nursing is to provide mother and baby with positional support and comfort during breastfeeding.
- For Mom — Dual arm support, lumbar support, and a snug fit. The baby's mouth needs to be at the same level as the mother's breast. Mom should not be bending or hunched over.
- For Baby — Head, neck, and body/back support with the baby's nose and mouth positioned level to and facing the mother's nipple. The baby will need to lead with their chin and widely open their mouth to initiate a good latch.
Whether using a nursing pillow from the get-go in the hospital or at home, the extra support can feel like a blessing to an already traumatized post-pregnancy body. Most of your nursing time won't include lounging in an expensive glider; instead, you'll be nursing anywhere you and your baby happen to be, which makes arm support essential.
Nursing pillows can provide small infants with a much-needed boost in height, so their head and mouth are at the right position and angle for effective and comfortable feeding. The pillows can also help maintain appropriate positioning for the baby's body during feeding. Early on, keeping the baby's head and bottom horizontal to one other is key. As the baby grows older and stronger, a pillow also needs to be sturdy enough to support more movement 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 nursing location, a mom will need to breastfeed in various locations. As such, the pillow must be portable and easy to store. Extra features that make a mom's job easier, such as pockets for items like burp cloths and nipple salves, are nice. Ease of positioning and removing a pillow is also important for securing straps. We find that buckles like those on the Boppy Best Latch only make a more challenging and cumbersome pillow, especially during nighttime feedings. Last, we consider how each pillow fits during different postpartum experience stages and for women with a variety of body shapes. The Boppy Bare Naked 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 it fits many women well.
Expected Length of Nursing
Before purchasing a nursing pillow, you may ask, "How long will I nurse my baby?" While your answer may change once your baby arrives, sprouts teeth, starts solids, or maternity leave ends, having a ballpark idea can be useful. Your pillow's longevity may not matter much if your breastfeeding plans are short. However, if you nurse exclusively at home during your baby's first year, then a more significant pillow investment will make sense.
Although you may have a fabulous nursing glider, you're likely to find yourself breastfeeding in the family room or kitchen where everyone hangs out. Once your baby hits around 4-months and starts becoming distracted while nursing, your nursing location may shift to a quieter area. Your nursing location (e.g., in a glider, couch, bed, kitchen table, or floor) will likely influence the style of pillow you choose.
A Few to Go Around
When a baby is hungry, but the nursing pillow is in another location, retrieving it can suddenly become a low priority. Sometimes investing in a few and having them dispersed around your favorite nursing spots can make a big difference for its convenience factor.
Having an easily portable nursing pillow to keep in the car, like the Luna Lullaby Lil Something or Lansinoh Nursie, can make a huge difference when nursing away from home.
Cover and Pillow Materials
Cushion and cover materials can impact the overall quality, feel, and user experience of the pillow. The products in our review include 100% synthetic, 100% cotton, synthetic-cotton blend, foam, and natural materials like buckwheat hulls and organic cotton. Each material has pros and cons, and it often comes down to personal preference, plus lifestyle to determine which is right for you. However, whenever possible, we lean toward natural products and make an effort to avoid options 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 of the 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 that polyester synthetic covers have like the Luna Lullaby. Also, many nursing pillows utilize internal foam for firm support, which is necessary for early infancy, like the My Brest Friend Deluxe. Foam has other concerns, like off-gassing, depending on the type. Fortunately, My Brest Friend no longer uses flame retardants in their foam, and according to the Boppy website, Boppy has never used flame retardants (woohoo!).
In theory, a nursing pillow should last through the six months of nursing before your baby can fully support themself. Ideally, it should continue to be of use through multiple children over multiple years. Our test pillows were in play for nearly four months straight, and each washed a minimum of four times. We analyzed shape retention when we replaced the cover, or when a new tester got the pillow. Some contenders look brand new after four months of use, while others grew lumpy, compressed, or misshapen.
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. Liquid repelling covers such as the one on the Luna Lullaby also offer quick clean-up. Some pillows have foam inserts that can only be spot cleaned and laid flat to dry (total time suckage). 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.
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 for each use. Also, most products will likely last through multiple babies, making it gear that you can use for years. Pillows can also be used for comfort, propping up older babies, and for dad's helping with feeding. The Bobby Bare Naked and Luna Lullaby Lil Something pillows are both budget-conscious choices with the Boppy having proven multi-child and years of use under its belt. The Blessed Nest Organic Nesting is also a good value despite the higher list price because it provides organic and natural materials for sensitive moms or babies in addition to a versatile shape. Even if you only use it for the first year, it will be one of the least expensive gear items in your nursery, and it will make your life easier (hard to put a price on that). We believe that the price of a good nursing style pillow is worth the advantages of having a pillow specifically designed nursing.
Motherhood is an emotion-filled ride, full of learning, as well as trial and error. Whether your breastfeeding dreams are cut short, or you nurse longer than you ever thought possible, you'll need support. A nursing pillow can be essential, providing physical support to get the job done. Let our review give you the details you need to make the right choice for you and your new little one.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team