Remember buying that pregnancy pillow when sleeping became unbearable and uncomfortable during pregnancy? Now that you’ve had your baby, you’re looking at that same pillow and wonder how you can use it again. Your pregnancy pillow seems like an oversized nursing pillow, but can a pregnancy pillow be used for breastfeeding?
You can use pregnancy pillows as nursing pillows. The truth is, some companies market both pregnancy and nursing pillows interchangeably. Even though they’re marketed the same way, some pillows have different designs, so not all pregnancy and nursing pillows can be used interchangeably.
Let’s dive deeper into the topic to understand the differences between pregnancy and nursing pillows. To learn more about whether or not nursing pillows are necessary and how you can find the right pillow to fit your needs, read on.
What Is the Prime Example of a Pregnancy Pillow?
The prime example of a pregnancy pillow would be a pillow that is firm enough to provide support, yet soft enough to foster comfort. A pregnancy pillow will fit snugly to the body and be durable enough to hold added weight without losing its shape.
There are four different types of pregnancy pillows:
- Wedge pillows that you can place under your stomach while side-sleeping. Other expectant parents have also used them to slip between their legs to help with sciatica pain.
- Total body pillows that come in U and C shapes. They extend the length of your body and allow you to get comfortable without the pillow moving around too much. Similarly, a full-body pillow has the same effect, but it’s just a rectangle.
- Inflatable pillows that allow stomach-sleepers to get comfortable without squishing the baby. They’re not as common as the other options, though.
- The Bean Pillow that you can take on the go. It’s compact and can provide added lower back support. You can also use it between the knees while sleeping.
Can Pregnancy Pillows Be Used as a Nursing Pillow?
You can use pregnancy pillows as a nursing pillow. However, there are only certain types that can be used successfully. For example, using a U or C-shaped pregnancy pillow will suffice much better as a nursing pillow than a wedge pillow.
Just like you can use a pregnancy pillow for nursing, you can use a nursing pillow as a sleep aid during pregnancy.
While nursing and pregnancy pillows can perform the same functions, they each have unique qualities that separate them from one another. For starters, each pillow functions for different reasons.
Pregnancy pillows provide support and help make sleeping more comfortable. Nursing pillows, on the other hand, were made to provide support while you feed your baby. Aside from these functions, let’s take a look at what makes each type unique:
- Pregnancy pillows come in different shapes and sizes. They support your body as it changes throughout your pregnancy. Therefore it accommodates varying spots on the body. You’ll find some pillows that wedge under the belly, some that have a “C-curve” to rest between your legs, and U-shaped pillows that allow for the most movement.
- They help you sleep. Trying to get comfortable while pregnant can feel almost impossible. These pillows help to relieve the joint pain, pressure, and possible sciatica that comes with pregnancy.
- They also improve circulation. Sleeping on your left side is supposed to promote blood circulation. Pregnancy pillows that are “U-shaped” are great because they relieve pressure and open up blood flow.
- Nursing pillows come in a “C” shape. They’re specifically for nursing, so they’re built to wrap around your torso and provide support to your baby’s body and your arm. Some may come with a fastening belt, but most will come in the “open C” style.
- Some come with added features. Nursing pillows have unique features, such as side pockets where you can hold things like burp cloths or other necessities for feeding time. They can even come in different patterns and look more stylish than traditional nursing pillows.
- They’re versatile. While it’s technically for feeding, many parents have also used it as a maternity pillow, a tummy time helper, and added support when their baby is learning to sit up on their own.
What Style of Pregnancy Pillow Can You Use as a Nursing Pillow?
You can use a U or C-shaped pregnancy pillow as a nursing pillow. These are the most ideal because they will support your arms as well as your baby, and provide optimal comfort during nursing.
The best way to use your total body pillow (U or C-shaped) for nursing is by making sure you and your baby are both comfortable. Sit in a comfortable chair or lay in a comfortable position in bed because you’ll have a much more successful experience when you’re both comfortable and relaxed.
Follow these steps if you plan on using a pregnancy pillow to nurse while sitting:
- Choose a comfortable location. Pick the most convenient spot for you and make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing.
- Position part of the pregnancy pillow behind you. This will help keep the pillow in place for the whole feeding session and provide extra support to you.
- Bring the other side of the pillow in front of you. Your side that has pillow support will be the side you nurse from.
- Use an extra pillow on the open side. This is optional, but doing so means you won’t need to mess around with repositioning the pillow when it’s time to switch.
- Cradle your baby and start feeding. You’ll likely be the most comfortable if you lie slightly back after your baby finds their latch.
Follow these steps if you plan on using a pregnancy pillow to nurse while lying down:
- Make sure the area is safe. Push aside any blankets, pillows, or other possible obstructions that could block your baby’s airway if you happen to fall asleep.
- Your baby should be on their back and you on your side. This is the safest position for lie-down nursing.
- Lean slightly on one side of the pillow to lift your chest off the bed a little bit. This will help your baby have an easier time latching.
- Put the pillow between your legs. Use the other side as a buffer to keep your baby close to you.
- When you need to switch sides, just guide the other breast to your baby. Nurse as usual.
Is It Better To Buy a Nursing Pillow?
Nursing pillows aren’t necessarily better than pregnancy pillows. It doesn’t make it worse either, so deciding whether to use a nursing or pregnancy pillow all boils down to personal preference.
Technically speaking, there are two types of nursing pillows: those with an adjustable strap and those without. The consensus among parents is to go with nursing pillows with straps because it offers more support and is more secure than their counterpart. With that being said, pregnancy pillows come with their own set of benefits.
The Pros and Cons of Pregnancy and Nursing Pillows
If you’re still in your pregnancy and you’re dealing with sciatica and soreness, splurging on a U or C-shaped pregnancy pillow is probably the right way to go. However, if you’re lucky enough to sleep okay and you want something to help with feeding time, buying a nursing pillow might make more sense.
If you’re still unsure which one to purchase, I’ve provided a complete rundown of the pros and cons of both pillows to help you decide:
Pregnancy Pillow Pros
- They’re specifically for sleep.
- You have several different styles to choose from.
- Pregnancy pillows improve circulation.
- They allow you more comfort when relaxing.
- They’re great for after pregnancy, too.
Pregnancy Pillow Cons
- U and C-shaped pillows take up a lot of bed space.
- High-quality pillows can be pricey.
- They won’t always be 100% helpful.
Nursing Pillow Pros
- Nursing pillows are the perfect size to support your baby.
- They’re still helpful, even as your baby grows.
- Nursing pillows give optimal support to prevent hand and wrist strain from holding your baby in a feeding position.
- They’re helpful for bottle-feeding, too.
- Some pillows come with a strap that helps you adjust the height of your baby, which is suitable for those with longer torsos.
Nursing Pillow Cons
- If you aren’t careful, the pillow can make it harder for your baby to latch.
- If they aren’t of good quality, the pillow will flatten quickly.
- Depending on your body type, it may be difficult to position correctly.