Pregnancy Tips

Infant care

Is a feeding pillow essential for you?

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  • March 18, 2021
  • MKB Team

Theoretically, all that you need for breastfeeding is a breast, and a baby to suckle. But in reality, there are a few extras that make life much simpler and comfortable. A feeding or nursing pillow is one such accessory.

While some moms swear by a particular kind of feeding pillow, other mamas don’t even feel the need for one. Also, you might come to realise that what works for one baby might not really be suitable for another.

Why use a feeding pillow?

But let’s explore why one would need a feeding pillow or why it’s essential for you. Normally, when you are nursing baby while sitting, using a cradle, cross-cradle or a football hold, a feeding pillow is just the thing you need. When you breastfeed continuously for months on end, sometimes not having the right kind of support can result in wrist and hand injuries, and shoulder and back pain as well. But then again, this is subjective.

Can a regular pillow be used?

You can use a regular pillow as long as you are comfortable with it. If a regular or normal pillow feels good for your body type and nursing position, go for it as the first priority is that you should be comfortable while nursing. A good idea would be to identify a few places in your home that are comfortable for nursing like a corner spot on the couch for example. Once this is done prop a few pillows there. Try out the place yourself by getting comfortable there first. Once you are satisfied, begin your nursing session and get your baby latched.

How do I use a feeding pillow?

Regardless of whether you’re using a regular pillow or a store-bought U-shaped nursing pillow that can be wrapped around your waist, the feeding pillow is used to support your arm rather than hold your baby to prevent strain. In case you are using the common cross-cradle hold, your baby’s bum should be tucked into your left elbow if you’re feeding from the right breast, with a pillow under your arm and wrist to help support your arm during nursing. Remember that your baby should be tummy to tummy with you, with your baby’s head, neck and torso in a straight line, from your nipple to your baby’s nose. Once, your baby is latched, you can move to a more comfortable position with baby. Positioning makes a big difference in terms of the amount of milk transfer. The best way to use a pillow is either behind your back to support yourself or, after latching your baby on, use a pillow or cushion to support your arms wherever they land.

It’s not a very good idea to have the baby resting directly on the feeding pillow, as some manufacturers’ websites might display. This might cause baby to come out of alignment, thus reducing milk transfer and causing nipple pain because of a shallow latch. Take care not to apply pressure to an infant’s head. Support the head and neck below the ears instead.

How can a nursing pillow be helpful?

It basically depends on your body type, but there are some instances when a firmer, thicker nursing pillow is particularly helpful. If you have a long torso, a thicker U-shaped pillow can help raise the arm that’s holding your baby higher so that you’re not hunched over while nursing.

Is a breastfeeding pillow an essential item?

The answer is No! Sometimes, a breastfeeding pillow can cause more problems than it solves. By placing a big firm padded cushion in your lap and then adding your baby on top it is quite likely that your baby could be positioned too high at the breast. Normally a baby is able to get a better latch if they are slightly lower than your breast and snuggled in close to you.

To conclude, a commercial breastfeeding pillow is not an essential item for breastfeeding a baby. But it’s true that a breastfeeding pillow might be helpful for some mothers in the early weeks and can be helpful to support a mother’s back or arms after baby is latched.

 

Did you enjoy reading this article? Did you use a feeding or breastfeeding pillow while nursing? Do share your views and suggestions with us and we will be more than happy to share it with all the mothers out there! Also send us any questions that you might we have to be featured in our Q&A session, where you ask and we answer!

 

Q&A

You ask and we answer!

What is a breastfeeding pillow?

Sharada Dhamdhere, Mangalore.

Nursing pillows or breastfeeding pillows sit in your lap and wrap around your body, providing a stable and comfy surface to position your new-born at the breast. They also reduce neck, arm and back strain for you, which can help make nursing more enjoyable.

Are Feeding Pillow necessary?

Shruti Bhatnagar, Bhillai.

Babies need to be very close to their mothers' bodies to get a good latch, and nursing pillows often get in the way. Most mothers do not need nursing pillows. In fact, it is much easier to get a good latch without one! Laying your baby on the pillow can make it difficult for him to latch.

Is it safe for a baby to sleep on a nursing pillow?

Aarushi Kanwar, New York.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning parents of the dangers these items can pose. Sleeping with a nursing pillow or a lounging pad could spell danger for infants, according to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

How long do you use a nursing pillow?

Pragati Sharma, New Delhi.

A breastfeeding pillow is a somewhat long-term investment. If you enjoy using it, and it works well for you and your baby, you will be using the pillow until you're finished breastfeeding. Keep this in mind when selecting your pillow. Some mothers only breastfeed for 3 or 4 months.

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