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Nursing Pillows: The Yay to the Nay

Mar18

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the yay to the nayLet’s be honest: breastfeeding can be tough. Particularly, in the early weeks when it might be awkward and uncomfortable. But pretty soon, you get a routine down, your breasts don’t hurt as much, and you figure out a method that is both comfortable for you and your baby.

One of the things that can aid in this process is a nursing pillow. There aren’t a ton of nursing pillow options on the market and mothers seems to have diehard opinions about the one they have chosen for themselves.

I put three nursing pillows to the test to see which one is the right one for me.

1.Boppy Nursing Pillow

The most commonly used nursing pillow is the Boppy. It’s a horseshoe shaped pillow that you put around your waist while sitting and lie your baby on so that he/she is at optimal distance from your breast. Obviously, you need much less arm strength if your baby is fully supported than if you have to hold him or her up to your breast yourself. It comes in many different patterns and colors, and the cover is removable so you can throw it in the wash.

The Boppy is simple and works great, with the cushion being just supportive and high enough to place the baby in the optimal breastfeeding position. Although I do wonder if it works for larger women. I am pretty average sized but in the days after my pregnancy, when I still had the baby weight to lose, I found the Boppy did not quite fit around my waist. Otherwise, it’s very easy to use and we have it lying on the couch at all times because when I am not breastfeeding, it is the perfect place to use as a little seat for the baby.

As a sidenote, since my baby had a bad case of acid reflux, the Boppy has been the best place to sit her since her head is propped up but her legs are flat to the ground. In most bouncy seats, her legs angle up toward her tummy which makes her spit-up every time. But keep in mind, your baby has to be two-to-three months old before they are big enough to sit in the Boppy.

VERDICT: YAY

2. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow

Yes, the name, My Brest Friend, is HORRIBLE. But, I’ve had friends who swear up and down that My Brest Friend is the only way to go. My Brest Friend is much more structured than the Boppy with a foam interior as opposed to just a regular soft pillow. Lying the baby on the My Brest Friend is like lying them on a soft contoured yet flat surface, which prevents the baby from rolling in or away while maintaining her latch. Since it wraps entirely around your body, it has both back support and arm rests. The other major difference is that My Brest Friend has an adjustable strap that hold the pillow in place around your waist. If you wanted, you could stand up and walk around and the pillow would walk around with you.

At first, I thought I liked My Brest Friend better than the Boppy. It stayed in place while the Boppy might shifts as you feed your baby. The height of the pillow is optimal for breastfeeding and your baby is definitely more supported. The back support and arm rests both add additional comfort. And I liked the little pocket on the side which I used to put her pacifier.

But ultimately, I got annoyed having to stand up and strap the pillow around me, particularly in the middle of the night when the baby was in a bassinet attached to my bed. It felt much more natural for me to drag the Boppy over to my already seated self. Not to mention, it saved some time if the baby was crying or really hungry, since I could pull the Boppy around me without putting the baby down and picking her up again. No so with My Brest Friend.

The other thing to consider is that My Brest Friend is a bit of an eyesore if you leave it lying around and cannot be used as a seat for the baby. However, if you feel you want more support while breastfeeding, it’s probably the way to go over the Boppy. I didn’t feel that level of support was necessary.

VERDICT: OKAY

3. Leachco Natural Boost Nursing Pillow

The Leachco Natural Boost Pillow is similar to the horseshoe shape of the Boppy but it has an extra stuffed appendage that shoots out of the top. When you breastfeed, you can push the appendage down on either side, depending on which breast you are feeding, so that your baby is supported in a diagonal position and more upright on your breast.

Initially, I thought this idea was genius, particularly since acid reflux babies are supposed to be fed in a more upright position. But the execution of the pillow is lacking. The pillow is so stuffed so high and fat, that it practically put the baby up by my chin. It was laughable. When I compared the pillow to the picture on the package, it was stuffed almost twice as much. I began to wonder if this pillow was meant for people with especially long torsos. I ended up finding it more comfortable to angle the appendage under my upper arm opposite of the breast my baby was feeding on, but it still was just way too big of a pillow to position the baby correctly.

If the Leachco boost nursing pillow had about half as much stuffing, it might be a real contender.

VERDICT: NAY

Overall, I think choosing between the Boppy and My Brest Friend is a personal decision. So my suggestion is, get the Boppy. If you feel you want more support that stays in place, buy My Brest Friend. No matter what pillow you ultimately breastfeed with, you’re going to want the Boppy as a place to sit the baby.

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About the author


http://www.mommyshorts.com
Ilana Wiles writes Mommy Shorts, a popular NYC humor blog geared towards new parents. In addition to blogging, Ilana has worked as a creative in advertising for the past 15 years. She lives in the East Village of NYC with her husband, her two-year-old daughter and a rapidly growing pile of stuffed animals.


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20 Responses to “Nursing Pillows: The Yay to the Nay”

  1. Hollienoel Mar 18 at 1:18 pm Reply Reply

    This baby around, I also tried the Balboa Baby feeding pillow. It was REALLY firm/dense, and lifted the baby up very high which was awesome with a new-newborn. BUT, the pillow angles in towards mom, so the baby kind of rolls towards you and that can be annoying. I gave mine to a mom in my building who had a c-section and she said it was really helpful for her to have the baby up high without any lifting/propping on her part.
    I’d love to hear anyone’s review of the similar looking JJ Cole pillow. And Boppy has some new designs out, too. (You know, research for NEXT time)

    • Isabel Kallman
      Isabel Mar 18 at 1:54 pm Reply Reply

      Thanks for your thoughts on other pillows. Love the info. :)

  2. Christy Mar 18 at 1:36 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks for the rundown – awesome. I used a boppy for my first two and liked it fine – it worked for us.

    But this time around I am expecting twins. Do you have any advice/recommendations for tandem nursing multiples?

    Pretty sure I need a bit more support than a boppy since I’ll be down an arm.

    Thanks!!

    • Autumn Mar 18 at 1:57 pm Reply Reply

      A former co-worker said my breast friend makes a twin version of the pillow.  Apparently it’s huge but you can get them both latched on at the same time with some practice

    • Brenda Apr 02 at 3:17 pm Reply Reply

      I had twins less than two years ago.   I was able to nurse for 14 months.  I HIGHLY recommend the Double Blessings Twin Pillow.  It worked so much better for us the My Breast Friend.  I attribute much of my success to the comfort of that pillow.

  3. leslie Mar 18 at 1:38 pm Reply Reply

    I used a boppy for a little while, or at least I tried to. I’m not that big, but whose post-pregnant waist is supposed to be in that little thing? I ended up creating a great system with pillows that allowed me to be flexible with the various positions I could feed in (football vs. cradle). I ended up using the boppy as a baby-holder after a couple of months. She enjoyed it, so we still got some good use out of it. 

  4. Christy Mar 18 at 2:29 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you so much!!!!

  5. Carrie Mar 18 at 4:11 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks for the comparison!  I tried to use the Boppy but maybe I am actually too skinny for it?  There was always a big gap between my belly and the pillow that the baby would roll into, so it didn’t work for me at all.  Is it supposed to go all the way around you so the two ‘arms’ are touching in back?  Seems like that would be very uncomfortable.  It was a nice seat for the baby though!

  6. KJ Mar 18 at 4:45 pm Reply Reply

    This is a little high-maintenance of me (and expensive!) but I loved having a boppy by my chair in the living room for daytime feedings and tummy time and a My Brest Friend (I cringe just typing the name) by my bed.  I have some shoulder and wrist problems so the extra support when feeding in bed was quite welcome – when I tried to use the boppy in bed, I still required an elaborate system of several other pillows to support my arms and back enough.

    Another minor note – while the boppy covers are pretty easy to get on and off, the MBF covers are a HUGE PAIN to change (the downside of the pillow being so firm and structured, I suppose). I found that it helped with my big-spitting baby to get some smallish waterproof flannel pads, and/or burp cloths, to lay over the top of the pillow during feedings.

  7. bri @ In Love & Words Mar 18 at 10:39 pm Reply Reply

    I have both the Boppy and My Brest Friend. Though I used both fairly regularly (the Boppy in the living room for BFing during the day, and the MBF in the bedroom for BFing at night), I have to say, if you are only going to choose one, I’d also go with a Boppy.

    Now that my 7mo is sitting up on her own, and especially when she was first learning to sit up, I used the Boppy to put behind her so that if she toppled over, she wouldn’t bump her head on the floor. I still use it to spot her.

    I am also currently using it as a barrier between my laptop and lap :)

    • Hollienoel Mar 21 at 12:07 am Reply Reply

      Heh, the Boppy IS an excellent laptop stand :)

  8. Danielle Mar 19 at 2:15 pm Reply Reply

    It’s not necessary to stand to put on the My Breast Friend. I used to put it on while seated — in bed, on the couch, in a chair. I’d just lean forward a bit, wrap the back piece around, buckle, then adjust a little so it was positioned how I like it.

    I also had a c-section, and found the My Breast Friend very comfortable and non irritating.

    And I loved that I could stand while using it, without it falling off (still supporting baby with an arm though).

    That said… I used the breast feeding pillow for only the first few weeks. Then I figured out how to hold my daughter without it (may have helped that she was a bigger baby, and I’m petite, so she practically nestled in my lap). If I were to do it over, I wouldn’t bother buying one at all, and would just use a regular pillow until the baby outgrew it.

  9. AmyRenee Mar 20 at 3:24 am Reply Reply

    I had a hoppy with my first son and it did not work for me. I am long waisted and plus sized, so when I put the boppy on it didn’t wrap around me properly and was too short, so the baby would roll into the gap between the boppy and me, winding up with his nose practically on my belly button. I used it a couple of times for tummy time, and a few times on car trips as a neck pillow, but it never worked for me as a nursing pillow. With #2 I just used soft throw pillows that could be squashed into shape as needed and tried to sit in chairs with arms as much as possible and that worked for  us. I would also sit on the floor, lean against the couch or bed, and bend my knees with a pillow on them to support the baby and that worked too. 

  10. Ang Mar 20 at 1:04 pm Reply Reply

    Like AmyRenee, I am long-waisted and the Boppy did NOT work for me. Baby was about 4 inches south of where he needed to be, lol. I wanted to try the MBF but couldn’t bring myself to spend money on another nursing pillow that may not work. Regular bed pillows worked best for me, but if I have another I definitely want to try MBF.

  11. Elena Mar 21 at 4:45 pm Reply Reply

    Another long-waisted mommy here, and I had the “My Breast Friend”. I found it didn’t go up high enough and i had to bend over, which was awkward. Also, since I had a c-section, it was very uncomfortable to have to close up, but otherwise there would be a gap for baby to fall through. The head bump was also weirdly placed and didn’t work for us. I pretty much gave it up and opted for nursing lying down, which was most comfortable given my post-op state.

  12. Tracy Mar 22 at 11:53 pm Reply Reply

    I liked the Boppy, but also had a Blessed Nest pillow, which is crescent shaped, and filled with buckwheat husks – The dent made by the baby stays dented, and I didn’t feel like the baby would roll off if I took my hand off of her for a sec - 
    The crescent shape lets it fit around your body, without any concern about your girth - 

  13. Carrie Mar 23 at 6:44 pm Reply Reply

    The Boppy didn’t work for me at all. MBF (as much as I hated the name) worked so much better. Sometimes the back support was annoying if you’re trying to sit back in a chair or to have to do the buckle up, but it supported my baby so much better. I’m a larger and had quite a large chest thanks to nursing, so the lack of a gap between me and the pillow (of the MBF pillow) helped immensely. I bought it to take on vacation because I didn’t know what kind of pillows I’d have access to and didn’t want to bring 2-3 from home just for nursing. Yes, it’s not very asthetically appealing, but it work so well I don’t care. Definitely recommend it for anyone with a larger body/chest.

  14. Rena Mar 28 at 1:50 pm Reply Reply

    The Boppy now has a pillow with a detachable belt, which I am thinking about adding to my registry. I saw it at Target http://www.target.com/p/boppy-nursing-pillow-pinwheels/-/A-14386022#prodSlot=medium_1_26&term=boppy. It’s another four months until I have the chance to test it though.

  15. Sunshine Sep 14 at 9:16 am Reply Reply

    I found a YAY YAY YAY! I found it online and I haven’t seen it in stores but it should be. Its called Shuga Bebe Couture. I had the my brest friend and wasnt a fan at all. It was such a hassle and huge! The one I found is great. Its higher so my arms dont get tired at all. And before I started using it my son would spit up alot after eating. This one is sloped so he doesnt do it nearly as much anymore. He’s actually so comfortable that even when he’s done he still lays there. I enjoy the extra bonding time. I think this will be my new go to gift for baby showers. Its absolutely amazing.

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