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How to Buy a Feeding Pillow

Whether or not you breastfeed baby, trust us -- you'll put a nursing pillow to good use. Not only does it help save your arms during marathon (breast or bottle) feeding sessions, but also, everyone from your partner to the sitter and grandma will want to use it to hold baby. And, with certain pillows, when baby gets bigger, you can use it to prop her up to get a view of what’s happening nearby. It’s the ultimate multitasker.

Photo: Boppy / The Bump

Just like the seems-like-a-million other choices you’ve had to make since getting pregnant, choosing a feeding pillow can be a little complicated. Pay special attention to these features (or lack thereof) to find the perfect pillow for you and baby.

A good fit
If there are sample nursing pillows at the store, definitely try them on to see how they fit. It goes without saying that different mamas have different waist sizes, and you want something that fits comfortably around yours -- and will stay in place as you feed baby. Go ahead and grab a baby doll, pull up a chair and see how the different pillows feel as you sit and hold the doll and rest your arms on them. (Yes, you’ll feel weird, but it’s worth it.) Does the pillow feel too tight around your waist? Or too wobbly?

Shape and firmness
Okay, now look down at the baby doll. Is she in the proper position for breastfeeding? Remember that a newborn should lie with her neck straight, facing your breast. If it seems like baby is too high or would sink down too low, it might not be the right pillow for you. Some moms love curved breastfeeding pillows (like the Boppy), and some are into the firmer, flatter ones (like My Brest Friend). It all depends on your body type, favorite feeding position and personal preference.

Belt or strap
Imagine your life as a new mom, feeding baby 8 to 12 times a day. Would you want to get up from a feeding and have the pillow fall right off, without having to unhook anything? Or would you want one that straps around your waist, so you can wear it as you walk around the house -- ready at any moment to do a feeding?!

Special features
Certain pillows have other special features you may want. My Brest Friend makes a pillow for twins, Leachco Natural Boost props baby up into a semi-upright position (which can be good for reflux!), and Boppy makes a travel pillow that folds up to fit in a portable bag. The Sweet Pea 2-in-1 Pregnancy Support and Feeding Pillow doubles as both a feeding pillow and a body pillow to use during pregnancy.

Cuteness and washability
For some moms (especially those who can't decide), style is a big factor in the nursing pillow purchase. Some pillows come with colorful, patterned covers you can choose to coordinate with baby's nursery or your living room -- or just pick your favorite colors. Whether your nursing pillow is adorable or not, make sure it comes with a removable fabric cover that can be machine-washed, or buy one separately. That's one feature you'll definitely use.

Plus, more from The Bump:

How to Buy a Breast Pump

Best Products for Breastfeeding Moms

Top 10 Baby Bouncers

-- Elena Donovan Mauer

See More: Baby Registry , Breastfeeding , Baby Gear