If you are breastfeeding, the process can be exciting, as well as a bit tricky. A nursing pillow is a great product to have by your side to make the experience easier.
What is a nursing pillow?
There will be lots of little things to get the hang of if you plan to breastfeed your baby, one of which is getting your little one into a good nursing position that’s comfortable for both of you and ensures a great latch.
A nursing pillow helps with this, accommodating for your newborn’s lack of head and neck control by keeping baby propped to the breast. Nursing pillows also take the weight off your arms and back—even a tiny baby becomes surprisingly heavy to hold in the same position for an extended time. Nursing pillows sit in your lap and wrap around your body, providing a stable and comfy surface to torso your newborn at the breast, and allowing you some comfort and relaxation for the nursing hours ahead.
Do you need a nursing pillow?
It’s definitely not required to have a nursing pillow—you can nurse effectively using just a regular pillow. But many new moms find the special design and bonuses of nursing pillows to be super useful during the first months. If you don’t plan to breastfeed, a nursing pillow can still be very helpful with making bottle feeding a comfortable, bonding experience. We suggest putting one on your registry, because they make great shower gifts, too!
When do you need a nursing pillow?
You’ll most likely use a nursing pillow every time you nurse, which can be a dozen times a day (or more!). After the first 4-6 months, you may no longer need the pillow to feed your baby because they will have more head and neck control, plus you may have gotten the hang of nursing comfortably on your own. However, nursing pillows can still be used for tummy time or as a spot to cradle babies who can’t yet sit up on their own. Many babies seem to hate being on the floor for tummy time in the beginning, so a nursing pillow can be used in transition to help prop them up, giving them a better view and more interaction with you and their toys.
Breastfeeding Positions and Latching On
When you're just getting started with breastfeeding, your baby's position and the way he attaches to your breast are very important. A good breastfeeding position can encourage a proper latch, and that's necessary for breastfeeding success. When your baby latches on well, she will be able to remove the breast milk from your breasts effectively. A correct latch allows your child to get enough breast milk, and it helps to prevent breast issues such as sore nipples.
Though it may take some time for your breasts to get used to breastfeeding, breastfeeding should never cause you intense pain. If you are experiencing such discomfort when your baby latches on or attempts to, and it doesn't dissipate within a minute or two (or with a change in position), it's worth mentioning it to your doctor, your child's pediatrician, and/or your lactation consultant.