Finding the right nursing (breastfeeding) pillow is important in helping you have the most successful experience with breastfeeding. But what we don’t realize is how important having the right pillow, or any product for Motherhood, is for building your confidence as a Mom.
When I first became a Mom, I, gratefully, received many hand-me-downs. Lots of clothes, toys and baby equipment, including a nursing (breastfeeding) pillow. Two, in fact, and they were both the nursing pillow that is well known and highly rated (I am sure you know which one I am talking about…it rhymes with “floppy”). I remember feeling like I had just won the jackpot for nursing pillows. And two of them! It even crossed my mind to never give them back. LOL
To my disappointment and, even more, to my suprise, the pillow didn’t work for me. It wasn’t helpful. It wasn’t making breastfeeding easier for me.
In fact, it was MAKING IT HARDER.
“How is it that something that is so recommended and so highly rated NOT WORK FOR ME?!” I thought.
I was perplexed.
But because I am not one to give up, I continued to use it.
Even though, when I used it, I had to constantly readjust myself and the pillow because I couldn’t find the “right spot”. Even though I needed to support the pillow with additional couch cushions. Even though the pillow was not bringing my son up to the height I needed.
I STILL CONTINUED TO USE IT.
I practically tortured myself with it because I thought these problems were because of me. I thought I had to just keep working on it.
I was a new Mom. A wide-eyed, naive, inexperienced, unknowing New Mom. I had no idea. I thought it was user error.
I THOUGHT IT WAS ME.
I didn’t know then that my nursing pillow should’ve been better. That any nursing pillow should be better because it carries with it the very important task of making the often complex task of breastfeeding so much easier.
Listening to my needs
I’m not sure why I allowed myself to use this nursing pillow for as long as I did.
Because even though I’m a new Mom, I am also an orthopedic OT.
As a specialist in orthopedics, I am constantly analyzing and assessing whether a solution is the most sound in keeping my client’s body healthy.
So even though I did not know what I could ask for in a nursing pillow, I knew that what I had was NOT sound for my body.
My head, neck and back were often contorted into a hunched position. Because the pillow did not do a good job in bringing my son to me, I often found my body in a caved in posture to get to him. My hands, wrists, arms and shoulders became fatigued and achy every time I used it because without the pillow being firm enough my son often felt unsteady and not level. I then would hold him extra securely and with extra effort just so he was positioned correctly and safe. And, frustratingly, I would often have to shift my body to continue having him and I in just-the-right-spot.
Truthfully, I could not see it being the right choice for any body. I would never recommend this pillow to any of my client’s. It was not structurally made to support a Mother’s body in the best way and, because of that, it places avoidable strain and stress on her.
However, when I thought about it more, I think what was an even more significant flaw was the avoidable strain and stress it puts on a Mother’s psyche.
Yes it was damaging my body, but it was also damaging my already frail and fragile confidence as a Mom.
I was already struggling with EVERY aspect of Motherhood, including and, at that moment, breastfeeding. I did not need to feel like a failure at an additional thing. I did not want something seemingly simple to be another blow.
So I would not advise this pillow.
Not as an orthopedic OT.
And, definitely not as an experienced Mother.
Because, as Moms, we don’t need products that could make Motherhood harder.
We need products that not only help to make the everyday Mom tasks much, much easier, but ones that also help to support and grow our belief in ourselves as Moms.
Choosing what is right for you
I know there are Moms out there who would disagree with my views or who learned to make this pillow work. I think that’s wonderful.
At the end of the day, that is ultimately the point.
Use what works for you.
Just make sure IT DOES WORK.
Whatever you use, IT SHOULD ASSIST YOU! You shouldn’t have to sacrifice yourself, your comfort or your goals to make it work.
And I know how lucky I am to have an Orthopedic perspective and, therefore, able to assess and analyze what is best for my body.
However, when it comes to your needs Moms, you have the ability to know what works.
You just have to listen.
It’s about learning to listen to what you need as you transition to this new identity as Mother. Listen to what it is your body needs, your mind needs and what your spirit needs.
And suddenly we are longer just talking about the right nursing pillow.
We are talking about having our needs as Moms met. Of getting the support we need to meet this huge challenge called Motherhood.
So Moms, I know we started this post talking about how important the right nursing pillow is for our health and now we somehow made our way to talking about listening to your needs.
But the story is the same.
Don’t ignore what you need. Don’t settle. Find out what more you can ask for.
AND FIGHT FOR IT.
The nursing pillow I would recommend
So with all that being said, which nursing pillow WOULD I RECOMMEND?
As an Orthopedic Occupational Therapist I would recommend the My Brest Friend.
It has features that allows the baby to be held level and stable so that bringing baby to your breast is easy and ergonomically correct for you-no hunching at the shoulders, neck and back. And again, baby is stable, so you will not feel like you have to have an extra hold to keep baby safe and still on the pillow. All you have to do is have your hand nearby just in case-truly just resting nearby baby. This means significantly less stress to your shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. Finally, the pillow stays put with use so there is no constant adjusting and re-adjusting! And trust me Moms. These features are necessary to keep your body healthy as you embark on many, many, many feedings with your little one!
And, as an experienced Mom, I would highly recommend the My Brest Friend.
Because as I mentioned, a product needs to recognize it’s responsibility to help support your growing confidence as a Mom.
And this product supported me. It helped to set me up for the most successful feeding.
And that’s what a product should do for a Mom.
Set you up for the most success.
With all my love,