Nursing pillows or breastfeeding pillows are pillows that are made specifically for breastfeeding mothers. The pillow has a variety of shapes and sizes, but its main purpose is to help keep the baby and mother in a comfortable position while breastfeeding. The pillow makes sure that the baby is safe and in a correct position. It also helps the mother so she does not have to bend as much and end up hurting her spine.
However, using these kinds of pillows needs a bit of practice to make sure the baby and the mother are in a good position and the pillow is worn properly to avoid accidents. It would also be a good idea to check on the shapes and types of baby pillows and make sure to get the best one for you.
Putting on the Pillow
Using an oval shaped nursing pillow needs a bit of getting used to. First, place the pillow at your waist with the clasp on the right side. This is much like wearing a belt. Next, fasten the strap using the clip or Velcro strip. Make sure that the pillow is at the optimum breastfeeding height. Once the clip or Velcro strip is in place, adjust the pillow so that it fits the body.
With the pillow in place, the mother needs to sit down and put the baby on the pillow. Allow the baby to start breastfeeding. Make sure to keep hold of the baby the whole time. Once the baby is done, you can undo the strap and put away the pillow.
Breast Feeding While Using the Pillow
Before breastfeeding, make sure that the pillow is around the waist with the zipper side face down. Make sure that the back or lumbar cushion is comfortably settled at the back. The pillow should feel naturally on the lap.
Hold the baby, making sure he/she is facing you. The baby’s head, neck, and shoulders should be supported by your hand with the thumb and the index finger below each ear. Using the hand behind the baby’s head, tip the baby’s head back so that the chin touches the breast. Make sure that the chin is closer to the breast than the nose is.
With your free hand, support your breast. The thumb must be an inch behind the nipple and the index finger is directly across your thumb. Press both thumb and forefinger slightly to compress the breast in front of the baby’s nose right below the chin. Compressing will shape the breast to match the mouth of the baby.
While compressing the breast with the thumb and index finger, make sure the baby’s nose is lined up with the nipple and then touch the baby’s upper lip with the nipple. The baby should open his/her mouth when that happens, gently push the baby onto the breast chin first. If done right, the baby will take more of the tissue below the nipple. Keep the breast compressed until the baby starts sucking. One important thing to remember, the baby should be on his/her side with the tummy facing the mother. If not positioned properly, the baby may have a difficult time swallowing or a gastric reflux.
A Few Things to Remember
There are a few things the mother should keep in mind when using this device. Following these few guidelines will ensure a safe and worry free experience, while the pillow is in use.
The pillow is not to be used while standing. The mother should be seated and should always hold the baby.
When selecting a pillow, try to make sure that you have a pillow that will fit your mid section after birth. A good gauge will be your size when the mother was 5 or 6 months pregnant.
Another thing to consider is the fastening straps on the pillow. On the good side, the straps keep the pillow secure and the process can go smoothly. The bad side is it takes time to take off the pillow with straps. IF something happens and you need to take off the pillow immediately, the straps may take a bit of time to undo.
Make sure the baby is on his/her side with the tummy facing the mother when breastfeeding with the nursing pillow. If the baby is in another position, he/she may not be able to swallow properly or may throw up what he/she just took in.
The nursing pillow is an excellent device that helps both the mother and the infant during breastfeeding. But the mother must always have the baby’s safety in mind to prevent accidents while using the pillow. There are also cases where a baby would prefer being held rather than placed on a pillow or the pillow causes discomfort to the mother or the infant. It would be better off in both cases not to use them. The important thing to remember here is that both mother and baby are comfortable using the pillow.