illustration of dog wearing nursing pillow
Breastfeeding Fun Stuff Parenthood

How I Really Use My Nursing Pillow

By Olivia Williams

Like most new moms I was certain that a nursing pillow was mandatory baby rearing equipment and so I dutifully registered for one when the time came. Although I have certainly made use of the nursing pillow to nurse the baby, I’ve found that it is really a multi-purpose tool.

In fact, I use it for so many things during the course of the day that the baby has begun to look at me with dismay when she sees me pick it up. Whereas she could previously count on a snack when I busted it out, now she knows it could be impressed into service for any of the following uses.

Laptop Rest

You may ask yourself how it’s possible to simultaneously breastfeed and type.  The answer is nursing pillows. Get the baby propped into a good position and after she dozes off you can use the edges of the pillow to support your laptop.  Is this the most comfortable or the most efficient way to type? Maybe not but when there’s nobody else to take the baby, and when the baby refuses to nap anywhere except upon your person, this is a very feasible solution.

Dog Bustle

The first time our terrier accidentally got the nursing pillow stuck around her middle it was admittedly her mistake. To this day it’s not entirely clear whether she’d been digging under it to find the perfect place to nap or whether the toddler put it there. Whatever the origin story may be, the results were hilarious.  She looked like a fancy Victorian lady and was desperate to get it off leading her to run around in circles while everyone laughed. If I need cheering I can always throw on her bustle for a guaranteed giggle. It’s the same principle that’s at play when you dress a cat in a sweater and watch them either (a) fall over in defeat or (b) try to back out of the sweater.

nursing pillow usage

Train Tunnel

For some reason, my son finds it endlessly entertaining to turn the nursing pillow into a tunnel for his train set. I’m not going to argue with anything that can occupy him for more than ten minutes. It’s easy to prop it against the arm of the couch and then let him crash Thomas into it for half an hour.

Bum Rest

When I first came home from the hospital after delivery it was nice having something slightly less embarrassing than the hemorrhoid donut many women employ. I was able to discreetly position my nursing pillow under me before sitting down until I’d had a chance to heal. Now I use it to make sure my hips are higher than my knees when I’m sitting on the floor to play with the kids. Sure I could roll out my yoga blanket but this saves time and means I don’t have to deal with a temper tantrum because the toddler wants to build a blanket fort.

Spit Up Receptacle

If it weren’t for you, nursing pillow, all five ounces of the milk I just laboriously transferred to my baby and which she promptly regurgitated would now be in my lap.  Because you were there on the front lines, I only caught about an ounce on my sleeve.

nursing pillow

Pillow Fort

This might seem self-explanatory but the (I’m sure patented) U –shape of most mainstream nursing pillows can really punch up the whimsy in your pillow and blanket fort creations.

Neck Pillow

Like an oversized travel pillow for those times you’re just too exhausted to keep going without a brief siesta in an upright position on the couch. As an added bonus, you may be able to prop yourself up enough that you don’t spill any of the day old coffee you were desperately trying to imbibe in a failing effort to remain awake.

Sleep Training Aid

My daughter has an almost Pavlovian desire to get in a full meal and then nap when she sees me reach for my nursing pillow. Will I still be rocking her to sleep on top of a giant kidney-shaped pillow when she’s eighteen? All signs point to yes but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Best Friend

I sometimes fantasize about the day when I can hand this bad boy off to a friend expecting her first baby but then I start to tear up a little. Like Linus’s blanket or Lyra’s daemon, it has been with me through thick and thin, sickness and health, naps and nap strikes. I’ll probably just re-cover it and keep it in a comfy chair to remind me of the days when my kids were young.

Our next reco: What to Get When You’re Expecting – New Baby Checklist

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