Which nursing pillows are the best for you and your baby? Finding a nursing pillow that works for you is essential because you'll be using it multiple times a day, every day. Without proper support, discomfort and back pain can influence your ability to breastfeed. We researched and tested the twelve top competitors to help you determine which might work best for you. After considering factors such as quality, stability, and functionality, we have compiled the pros and cons of each product to give you a well-rounded understanding of each product. Read on to see our top picks and buying advice.
The Best Nursing Pillows Review
We are in love with the Blessed Nest Organic Nesting pillow. It is different than competing pillows because it's filled with organic buckwheat hulls instead of foam. What this provides is moldability to form to your body shape and that of your growing baby. This great support means no awkward hunching or shoving in extra pillows get your baby's head to the appropriate height for feeding. We also appreciate the versatility of the Blessed Nest because it also makes a great pregnancy pillow. The Blessed Nest uses high-quality materials that will last. The GOTS certified outer organic cover is easy to remove for washing. It does a nice job absorbing spit up before it reaches the inner pillow, which you can toss into the dryer for 15 minutes to help keep things sanitary and free from dust mites. We really appreciate the organic material in this pillow, so your baby isn't inhaling toxic fumes while feeding.
This pillow is heavy. It weighs approximately 5 1/2 pounds, and when you add the weight of your baby on top, it can be a lot, especially if you've had a c-section. The extra weight on your tender belly can be a lot to bear. We recommend using the "football" style hold until you are healed to help avoid discomfort. This product is also one of the most expensive nursing pillows in this review, but it is organic and higher quality so the price is justifiable if your budget allows it.
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 additional support to help with the strain that can result from nursing. The wrap around style helps keep the pillow in place which helps keep baby 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 slipcover that is soft and snuggly, which is perfect for babies with sensitive skin.
While we love many things about this product, the quality of the foam is disappointing, and there is no cover on the foam outside of 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 straps 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 ever, you have probably heard of the Boppy. The Boppy is classic, and the Boppy Bare Naked lets you decide which cover you want to purchase. There are a variety of Boppy covers you can be purchased separately to cover the Bare Naked. The most popular are the polyester/cotton blend Boppy Classic Slipcover $10, the plush fabric with a 2-sided design of the Boppy Luxe Slipcover $17.50, and the very utilitarian water-resistant Boppy Protective Slipcover $11 that reduces the need for washing. Alternatively, the Boppy Luxe provides both the classic pillow with a soft and uniquely designed mink type fabric and 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 Bobby does fit a good range of individuals, it is not a one size fits all pillow. Some postpartum women, along with some men, find it doesn't fit them very well. It also can shift during feeding time, especially if you have an extra squirmy baby. The pillow can pull away from your stomach, creating a gap. Last, while we think the quality of the product is high and will last for a long time, the foam does flatten some with daily use. Overall, this pillow is a classic for a reason. It is comfortable, versatile and will years last beyond nursing.
Read Review: Boppy Bare Naked
Dr. Brown's Gia in a unique spin on the classic C-shaped nursing pillow. The pillow is more of a "comma" or "shrimp" shape, with the larger end inclined. This shape helps promote better posture when breastfeeding, helps to avoid back pain from hunching, and aids infants with reflux. It is nice quality and should maintain its shape well over time. Also, because of the unique shape, it fits a variety of shapes and sized adults, and it can be used as a pregnancy pillow as well.
Nursing moms complain about the unique shape, and the one-sided incline means you have to remove the pillow and flip it to switch sides which can be annoying. It can also be challenging to adjust because it is large. If you fail to fit it correctly, a gap baby can slip into can form between the pillow and mom. Tucking the pillow end behind your back can help this problem somewhat. Overall, if you are looking for a good pillow that fits plus size mamas better than a c-shaped one, or you have a little one with reflux, this is a great option.
Read Review: Dr. Brown's Gia
The Luna Lullaby Lil Something is the perfect nursing pillow for the mom on the go. It is compact but effective, making it perfect 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. We appreciate it is made in the U.S.A. and contains no flame retardants. All of this at a great price makes this one of our top choices.
While we love the plush and cozy feel of this pillow, some users feel the pillow can be too soft or too small. The problems this can cause include baby sinking in, parents hunching over, or baby's weight sliding the pillow away from you. Also, the pillow itself is not machine washable. While you can wash the cover, sometimes babies can make messes that penetrate the cozy cover creating an insurmountable 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 Twin Z is the answer for a twin pillow. While it is perfect for breastfeeding, it also serves other purposes. The versatile nature of the pillow allows for bottle feeding, tummy time, pregnancy pillow, support when babies are sitting up, 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 together. The pillow is designed differently from other models with a centerpiece of the pillow that folds up to go behind mom's back while feeding, offering crucial back support.
The Twin Z is quite large, which makes it a comfortable spot for twins, but makes feeding them in a chair more of a chore. You'll likely need to nurse on a couch, bed, or floor to accommodate the width of the pillow. The size also impacts the pillow's ability to be travel-friendly. Also, the interior of the cushion is 100% cotton and will flatten some over time. Overall, the versatility this product provides for parents of twins is hard to beat.
An alternative to the Twin Z is the My Brest Friend Twin Plus. Each choice has pros and cons, so parents will need to consider which choice best meets their needs.
The Babymoov Mom & B is a pregnancy pillow that transitions to a nursing pillow. The outer cover is cotton, and the filling consists of microbeads, making it super adaptable for multiple uses. For pregnancy, it works great as belly support when sleeping or to place in between your knees. You can also use it behind your back, neck or legs to provide optimal support. Once your baby is born, this option easily converts to a nursing pillow. Plus, the pillow is fairly compact making it good for travel or daily outings.
The Babymoov has a zipper, but no tab to open and close the zipper. This missing tab is related to safety concerns, but you can still remove the cover by attaching a paper clip or bobby pin through the hole to slide the zipper up and down. Another bummer is the cover is machine washable but not the pillow itself, which could be a problem if your little one has a blowout. However, we think this product is super comfortable and versatile making it a great option during pregnancy and nursing.
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 alike 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 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 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 compared 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 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 up 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 find this pillow is great for older babies, but tiny infants or first time nursing moms may struggle with having only one hand to nurse, as it can sometimes take two to get a productive latch. Also, the soft, cozy material can get warm and leave you with a sweaty arm. And, while we like the gender neutral design, we wish there were different covers for purchase. The white fabric looks pretty until the first stain. Overall, this pillow can fill a niche for moms looking for something different.
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 fashioned like 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, just 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 your baby positioned correctly. The thick cushion is super supportive but is also very high, and those with larger breasts or shorter torsos might find that the Milk Boss raises baby up too much. 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 a little boost.
How We Evaluated
We spent months evaluating, researching, and 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.
Deciding to nurse your infant can be a gratifying but challenging decision for any new mom to make, so we put mom and baby first when determining how to test and score the nursing pillows. With nearly 75% of mothers nursing their baby, the number of breastfeeding products is ever increasing. This product maze includes nursing pillows, breast pads, nipple salve, breastmilk storage supplies, and breast pumps. Nursing can be beautiful, but it isn't without its challenges. A nursing pillow can make it easier by providing additional support and requiring less effort so you can focus on successful nursing. While a pillow for nursing can seem like a small pillow you rest on your lap, it can get more complicated once you discover the variety of potential options on the market. In this review, we break down the major differences between popular products to help you choose the best pillow for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding is a Workout
It is hard to imagine how helpful a nursing pillow can be until you start nursing. At first, when overstimulated with new mama "must-haves," this item may seem more like a luxury than a necessity. After all, regular old pillows are already in the home and should suffice, right? In truth, for the majority of nursing mamas, not so much.
The reality is that newborn nursing sessions can last up to 40 minutes a pop. The average newborn feeds 8-12 times in a 24 hour period with each feeding lasting anywhere from twenty to forty minutes. Then, after a quick nap for baby and snack for mama, you're back doing it all over again maybe as soon as an hour later. Once your baby gets the hang of things and grows, frequency and duration will taper a bit but not much until you introduce solids. Also, mom has more baby weight to support. In short, breastfeeding is a physical endurance act on mom's part, and proper support is crucial. Without it, you're likely to experience fatigue and pain of all sorts in the arms, neck, shoulders, wrists, and back. Also, your baby may not be in an optimal position which can affect latch, nipples, and overall milk supply.
So, when you realize you will be lovingly nursing your baby anywhere from 5-8 hours a day, a nursing pillow quickly becomes a necessity, not a luxury. After all, one of the most significant benefits of nursing is the quality mommy and baby bonding time that helps you adjust to life together. Without the aid of a good nursing pillow, feeding can become a strenuous, uncomfortable, and frustrating activity instead of an opportunity to connect with baby.
Consider pregnancy as the warm-up to breastfeeding a newborn. Nursing typically has a steep learning curve, and it often takes mama and baby weeks to get the hang of feeding. The process has been known to elicit tears from both. A well-made pillow helps support baby so that mom can use her hands to get her breast in the right position and guide your baby to a proper latch. Mom also uses her arms to support and cradle baby close. A great pillow will also provide mom with a place to rest her arms during nursing which allows for less neck, shoulders, and back strain.
Nursing Pillow Basics
There are a variety of options when it comes to pillows designed for nursing, and some have more bells and whistles than others. However, remember that a nursing pillow has one sole purpose, to aid in having the best breastfeeding experience possible.
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, Luna Lullaby Bosom Baby, and the Dr. Brown's Gia. 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. However, it does not 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 which earned our Editors' Choice award 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 entire waist with cushioned back support and an adjustable waist-belt for a snug fit. This style may not fit all women equally well.
- 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 pillow shape tends to fit most body types and also provides arm support no matter which side baby is feeding on or which hold you are using.
- 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 that are recovering from a c-section as there is no weight of a pillow resting on the midsection. It is also great for women of various shapes and sizes as it does not wrap around the waist, but it can make your arm sweaty and has a steeper learning curve than some other shapes.
- Alternative Shapes — Babymoov Mom & B and the Infantino Elevate do not fit in the traditional categories. Both pillows lay flat on your lap, with no wrapping involved. While they are both adjustable, they do so in different ways to help you and baby obtain a comfortable position.
As you look at nursing pillows, no matter where you nurse, you will be sitting straight up, and it will need to fit your body style. Your posture is important so you can position baby's head and body at the height of your nipple. A few nursing pillows offer either a buckle like the Twin Z or Velcro strap system like the My Brest Friend Deluxe to help achieve a secure fit around the waist. Some pillows, like the Boppy Best Latch pillow and Luna Lullaby are taller which, suits longer torsos better while the Dr. Brown's Gia pillow is nearly half the height. Others pillows offer a no-frills, simplistic approach designed to wrap around the front and either one or both sides of the body. Try to imagine yourself 5-6 months pregnant to help determine which style may fit your midsection best after birth.
Three of the pillows we tested, My Brest Friend Deluxe, Twin Z and the Boppy Best Latch, offer a buckle system to give the pillow the closest possible fit. While these features help keep the cushion from moving in the middle of a feeding and keep baby from slipping between mom's body and the pillow, they also make it more difficult to get the pillow on and off. Usually feeding time comes with some subtle warnings from baby and at times, some not so subtle ones. When mom is struggling to hold a hungry baby with one hand and getting the pillow secure with the other, the extra step of latching a buckle is likely to go undone.
Nursing Support and Comfort
Proper technique and great support at the beginning of a breastfeeding relationship can make a big difference in nursing success. A good latch is essential to effective and natural breastfeeding, and if your nipple or comfort suffer, everything can spiral quickly out of control. Using a good pillow can help you focus on what's important, instead of worrying about getting comfortable 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. 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 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 bed or at home on the couch, the extra support can feel like a godsend to a mama's neck, shoulders, and lower back. Most of the time you nurse, you won't be lounging in an expensive glider, but instead, you'll be feeding where you and baby happen to be which makes arm support essential.
Nursing pillows can also play a helpful role early on providing small infants with a much-needed boost in height, so that baby's head and mouth are at the right position and angle for efficient and comfortable feeding. They also help maintain appropriate positioning for the baby's body during feeding. Early on, keeping baby's head and bottom horizontal to each other is essential. As the baby grows older and stronger, a pillow also needs to be sturdy enough to support more movement during feeding.
Ease of Use
A great pillow for nursing should be easy without being something else a new mother has to worry about mastering. Since a baby's hunger typically dictates the nursing location, mom will need to breastfeed the baby in a variety of locations. As such, it is important that a pillow is portable and easy to store. Extra features that make mom's job easier such as storage pockets for nursing items like burp cloths and nipple salve are a nice addition. Ease of positioning and removing a pillow is also important when it comes to securing straps. Unfortunately, we find that buckle(s) like those on the Boppy Best Latch make a pillow more difficult and cumbersome in entry and exit, especially during nighttime feedings. Last, we consider how each pillow fit during different stages of the postpartum body and across women of different body shapes. The Boppy Bare Naked does well despite its simple design and lack of bells and whistles, it is very portable in both size and weight, easy to position with one hand, and it fits most women well. There are good reasons why it remains a popular choice.
Expected Length of Nursing
The first question you may want to consider when purchasing a nursing pillow is "How long do you hope to nurse your baby?" Though your ideal may change once your baby is born, or sprouts teeth, starts solids, or you go back to work, having a ballpark timeline in mind can be helpful. A pillow's longevity may not matter if you only plan to breastfeed for about three months. If you are nursing exclusively at home during baby's first year, then a more significant investment can make sense.
Though you may have that fabulous nursing glider in baby's nursery, you may find yourself breastfeeding your baby in the family room or kitchen where everyone is hanging out more often. After your baby hits the 4-month mark and starts becoming distracted when nursing, you'll most likely need to nurse in a quiet place. Depending on if you will be using a nursing pillow in a glider, on a couch, in a bed, at the kitchen table, or on the floor, this may very well determine the style of pillow you choose.
A Few to Go Around
When a baby is ravenous, but the nursing pillow is in another location of the house, retrieving it can become low priority pretty quickly. Sometimes investing in a few and having them dispersed around your favorite nursing spots within the home can make a big difference for its convenience factor.
Also, finding one that is easily portable to throw into the car like the Luna Lullaby Lil Something or Lansinoh Nursie can make a big difference when nursing outside of the home or on the road.
Cover and Pillow Materials
The materials for both the pillow itself and the cover can make a big difference in its overall quality, feel, and your experience. The pillows 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 and lifestyle to determine which is better.
For example, the Editors' Choice Blessed Nest Organic Nesting is an all-natural pillow featuring an organic cotton slipcover and pillow fabric with an internal filling of organic, pesticide-free buckwheat hulls. Although this pillow costs double the price of the other products in our review, some may feel the additional expense is worth it for the added peace of mind offered by 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. 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!).
A nursing pillow should last at least through the six months of nursing a baby before they can fully support themselves and hopefully be used with additional children too. The pillows were used for nearly four months straight and washed a minimum of four times each. We considered shape retention each time we replaced the cover, or a pillow was starting use with a new tester. Some pillows look brand new after four months, while others became lumpy, flatter, or misshapen.
Spills and spit-ups while nursing happens, so you will have to clean it fairly regularly. The question is how much time and patience do you have for cleaning? The easiest options to clean have covers and pillows that can be machine washed and dried like the Boppy Bare Naked and Dr. Brown's Gia. This design is a huge time-saver. Fabric covers that repel liquid nicely like the Luna Lullaby make for a quick clean-up. Others have foam inserts that need to be spot cleaned and laid flat to dry which will take extra time. We also timed how long it takes to put the cover back on to reconstruct each pillow after washing to get it back to its original supportive shape. Although this task sounds simple, it took us over ten minutes to put some pillows back together. The Babymoov Mom and B has a cover that is simple to remove and put back together, but the zipper has no tab which is missing for safety concerns. We had to improvise and use a safety pin to open and close the zipper.
When it comes to finding a great pillow for nursing, we encourage you to think about how often you'll use it. With multiple times a day use, it is easy to see how the price over time will be pennies per use no matter which product you choose. Also, most pillows last through multiple babies making it a product that you can count on for years. After little ones finish nursing, it also makes a good snuggle pillow or body positioning tool for comfy sleeping. Dads can also use the pillow for cradling little ones and bottle feeding, and as your baby grows and can hold the bottle themselves, it is also good for propping them up to feed themselves. The Bobby Bare Naked, Dr. Brown's Gia, and Luna Lullaby Lil Something pillows all tied for our Best Value Award winners. Even budget-conscious parents will agree that is nothing considering how often you'll be using it (ranging from $2.00-$2.50 a month if you only use it for a year). The Blessed Nest Organic Nesting is also a good value despite the higher list price of $94 because it is the highest ranked option with a versatile shape. Even if you only use it for the first year, it will cost less than $8 a month. We think the price is well worth the advantages of having a pillow specifically designed for holding and feeding your new family member.
One of the beautiful things about motherhood is that it is an unpredictable ride full of learning and trial and error. You may end up nursing for a shorter time than you plan or you might nurse longer than you imagined possible, or maybe you never nurse where you imagined yourself bonding the most with your baby. No matter what holds true for you and your baby as you nurse, one thing remains true, you will need all the support you can get, and a pillow designed specifically for nursing can be instrumental in providing at least the physical support you need. The available options make choosing one more fun than ever and using this guide, and our buying advice can give you the inside details you need to make the right buying choice for you and your new little one.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Selig