A good nursing pillow can make a world of difference for a new mother, especially during those early days (and nights!) of breastfeeding when you and the baby are still learning the basic mechanics. My Brest Friend and Boppy are two of the leading brands. Though both have their devoted fans, each has its unique pros and cons.
The My Brest Friend pillow is designed to wrap all the way around the mother’s waist, and is secured with an adjustable, “silent release” strap on one side. A rectangular pillow around the back supports the mother’s posture, and the front of the pillow is a half-moon shape designed to comfortably support the baby as well as the mother’s arm. The firm, flat cushion is designed to help the baby latch on comfortably, and to maintain the position without rolling inward. The front of the pillow also features a handy pocket for a water bottle, burp cloth, or anything else you might need.
Many mothers love this pillow because it is very comfortable to wear, and fits so securely that there is no need to adjust it while the baby is nursing. Some mothers find they can even walk about the house with a sleepy baby on it (with an arm around the child, of course!).
Others, however, say it’s too much bother to put on, especially while holding a hungry baby who has yet to make the association between the pillow and snacktime. The other greatest criticism is that the pillow itself is made of foam. Parents with particularly sensitive sniffers don’t care for the smell of it, and many also don’t like that it can’t go directly in the washing machine. Soaked-in spit-up is not generally considered an improvement in terms of its scent. However, some clever mamas have solved both issues by reusing the plastic cover in which the pillow is packaged. Simply unzip the plastic cover, take off the fabric slipcover (which is, of course, machine washable), put the plastic cover over the foam, and then put the slipcover back on. Ta-da!
In contrast with My Brest Friend, the design of the Boppy is remarkably simple. It’s a rounded c-shaped pillow with a “Miracle Middle “Stretch Panel” in the centre that allows it to wrap snugly around the mother’s waist, providing some cushioning on her lap under the baby. However, unlike My Brest Friend, the pillow itself is machine washable (as are the fabric slipcovers) and it also “grows with” your baby, in that it can safely be used to prop her up in a “lounging” position, support her during tummy time, and provide a little insurance during those wibbly-wobbly first days of sitting up unassisted.
The pillow’s versatility and potential for extended use are easily the greatest points in the Boppy’s favor. Many parents find it useful for taking photos of their new addition, and some also find that their child continues to use the pillow long after their nursing days are over, just to sit or lie on during play, presumably because it’s comfortable and filled with warm, fuzzy associations.
While many mothers love the Boppy and find it fits comfortably as intended, others find it slips down and allows the little one to roll inward and lose her latch during nursing. Like My Brest Friend, the Boppy is a “one size fits most” product and some plus-size women find either one too difficult to position around the waist.
Which one is right for you?
If you’re brand-new to breastfeeding or are struggling with the learning curve, you may prefer My Brest Friend because it offers a more secure fit and a higher level of support for the baby. If all you really need is a cosy arm rest for those marathon feedings and you like the idea of a pillow that does double duty during tummy time or photo sessions, the Boppy’s your best bet. Whichever one you choose, a spare slipcover is a good investment. Both brands offer a wide array of pretty patterns and simple solids to choose from, and additional covers can be purchased separately.