Last updated: 14 May 2023
Ways to use your Breastfeeding Pillow
So you have chosen your breastfeeding pillow. Now you will want to know how to use your nursing pillow properly to get the most benefit out of it for you and your baby.
You can move your pillow around to support the position you are feeding your baby in. Depending on the type of pillow you chose, this might mean moving your pillow around when swapping from side to side. Here are tips for different feeding positions.
Watch our video below to see some demonstrations on how to use your breastfeeding pillow to maximise its potential.
Using your nursing pillow in the cradle hold
The cradle hold is the most common breastfeeding position and is used for both breast and bottle feeding. But anyone who has fed a baby will know that holding your baby in this position for a long period of time will be uncomfortable or painful. A good supportive breastfeeding pillow will help prevent soreness from carrying the weight of your baby on one arm.
Milkbar Breastfeeding Pillow is great for using in both the cradle and football holds.
Positioning the pillow in the cradle hold
Place the pillow across your lap and if it has a higher end, position this on the side you are feeding. This will ensure that you can lift your baby’s head as close to the breast as possible and prevent you from slouching. This will help you to prevent back, shoulder and neck pain while feeding.
Bring your baby into the cradle of your arm on their side, with your baby’s tummy snug against your own and your arm around your baby’s back. The pillow should be positioned so that it is supporting your arm and taking the weight of the baby rather than allowing you to be carrying the weight of the baby alone.
Milkbar Twin Feeding Pillow used in the football hold with single baby.
Clutch or Football hold
In this position, place the pillow under the arm on whichever side you will be feeding from. If your pillow has a higher end, you will want this end to be positioned at the breast end under your baby’s head to ensure that you can lift their head as close to the breast as possible.
Place your baby onto the pillow with their head near your breast while bringing their tummy up close against your side. Place your hand from the pillow side, under your baby’s head for support and your arm along their back. Your baby’s legs and feet should be tucked under the arm with their hips flexed.
Benefits of the clutch hold
This is a great position for mum’s who have had Caesarean births as it keeps the baby away from the incision. For mum’s that have a fast let down, this position can also help the baby to control the flow more easily.
For any mum who wants to express milk on the other breast while feeding, the football hold using a single or wedge nursing pillow, gives you more space to use your expressing equipment while feeding.
Feeding twins or two babies using a twin nursing pillow
Breastfeeding pillows designed for feeding twins tend to be U-shaped or almost circular and have ties or clips so you can clip them around your waist to prevent them slipping while you are supporting two babies.
When feeding twins at the same time with a twin pillow, the football hold is the easiest method to use as the pillows are designed so you have support on either side. Follow the instructions above for the football hold positioning if feeding two babies at one time.
Twin nursing pillows can also be used for singletons for mum’s who prefer a larger pillow.
Feeding Friend Nursing Pillow used to bottle feed a baby.
Using a breastfeeding pillow while bottle feeding
Breastfeeding and nursing pillows can also be used for bottle feeding, you don’t have to be exclusively breastfeeding.
When bottle feeding lay the pillow in your lap as for the cradle hold. Use the pillow to support your elbow as you cradle your baby’s head and hold your arm behind their back.
You may find the best choice of pillow for bottle feeding is a wedge pillow with one end higher than the other. This way you can keep your baby’s head on a slight incline while feeding, which can be especially helpful for babies who suffer from reflux.
Milkbar Feeding Pillow is also great to support your belly during pregnancy.
Using a nursing pillow beyond breastfeeding
Many breastfeeding pillows are designed to be used long after breastfeeding or for multiple uses in between feeds.
I still use my Milkbar pillow on the couch for comfort (maybe for some afternoon naps). The Milkbar, and many other nursing pillows, is great for supporting your belly in subsequent pregnancies too as it is compact, contoured and firm.
Horseshoe shaped pillows can be used to support your baby while they are learning to sit. Some, like the Babyhood Organic Nursing Pillow come with toy bars that are detachable so you can use it for playtime between feeds.
Baby relaxing on nursing pillow with toy bar. Play time couldn’t get easier.