Breastfeeding is one of the most wonderful parts of welcoming a new baby into the world; it's a fantastic way to bond with your little one while giving them the healthiest start in life. What is less wonderful is how uncomfortable breastfeeding can be. Many nursing mums struggle with back and shoulder pain as a result of feeding baby, and nobody wants to have to deal with chronic pain when they're already running low on sleep. In this guide, we'll show you how to use feeding pillow to make nursing more comfortable for you and easier for your baby.
What are the benefits of a feeding pillow?
Feeding pillows are a simple but effective way of getting your baby in the perfect position to feed effectively. They provide support for baby so that you don't have to carry all their weight in your arms and put a strain on your shoulders and back. Plus, they make it easier to bring baby's head to your breast rather than the other way around so that you're less likely to find yourself hunching over and hurting your neck. Stress can impact the body's ability to produce milk, so it is vital that mum is as comfortable and content as possible to ensure baby can happily nurse. Once you know how to use feeding pillow properly, you'll find it's easier for your baby to latch on. It's not uncommon to experience a little trial and error when it comes to breastfeeding for the first time, and one of the most common issues is baby struggling to get enough of the breast into their mouth. A good trick is to gently cup and squeeze the breast, but this can be difficult when your arms and hands are supporting the baby's head and neck. With a feeding pillow taking some of baby's weight, your hands are freed up for manipulating the breast to get a good latch and stimulate the flow of milk.
How to use feeding pillow correctly
There are two main methods for how to use feeding pillow. The first and perhaps most popular is to use the breastfeeding pillow around the waist and lay baby on top. Baby's stomach should be resting against your stomach, and their chin should be brought up to your breast so that their nose is aligned with the nipple. This allows the pillow to take the weight of your baby while you use your hands to support their back and head. The second method for using a nursing pillow is known as the "football hold" or "sideline position". Here, you wrap the feeding pillow around the same side of your waist as the breast baby will be nursing from. Your baby lays on top of the pillow with their stomach resting against the side of your stomach. Once again, their chin should be brought up to the breast so that their nose aligns with the nipple. In this position, baby is tucked comfortably and safely underneath one arm, which completely frees up the other hand to cup and manipulate the breast to help your baby to feed. You can use these methods either sitting in a chair or on a sofa. Alternatively, you can use them while reclined, either on a bed or with a footstool to raise your feet. Reclined positions really help to prevent back and shoulder pain and help you to remember to bring baby up to your breast rather than hunching over to bring your breast to baby.
What else can I do to make breastfeeding more comfortable?
The key to comfortable breastfeeding is having plenty of support both for you and baby. Keep plenty of extra cushions or pillows on hand to go behind your back and shoulders and around your sides to support your arms. You could also use an additional pillow beneath the nursing pillow should you need to raise baby up a little more to comfortably reach your breast. Folded blankets or towels can work well if you don't have enough cushions or pillows. Pregnancy pillows can also be a helpful tool for breastfeeding. These long, malleable pillows can be wrapped around your body to provide support exactly where you need it. If you bought a maternity pillow for more comfortable sleep during pregnancy, you can be sure to get plenty of use out of it while nursing, so experiment with different positions that relieve those aches and pains.
Do nursing pillows have any other uses?
Nursing pillows can also be used for tummy time, particularly for newborns that need to be kept very close when on their tummies. Tummy time is a vital part of developing baby's coordination and motor function, and the sooner you can begin it, the better. Simply place the feeding pillow around your waist when sitting and lay baby on top on their tummy. This allows you to easily keep hold of them if they start squirming. The U-shape of nursing pillows also allow them to serve as handy head and neck pillows for adults, or as general support pillows for toddlers and young kids. They're great for supporting the lower back or shoulders when little ones are lounging on the sofa or floor.