If your baby has ever had a latch issue, you already know how frustrating and painful it can be for both you and your baby. It's stressful, and the causes and solutions aren't always straight forward. Some things help your little one get to your breast and some don't, like nursing pillows. Do breast pillows help with latch? Because something's got to give, and you don't want it to be your nipple.
Every week it seems there's a new wonder device designed to make breastfeeding easier. Honestly, when I started breastfeeding my son, all I wanted to do was figure out a way to have my husband breastfeed at zero dark. But I remember my breast pillow. It was a Boppy, and I had some very chic covers for that C-shaped pillow. (Think cartoon teddy bears and strange plaid.) It really went with my "brand new mom" vibe that I was going for (or unconsciously falling into as I suddenly could not care less about pillow covers), and I used that dang thing until it was flatter than my boobs are now, years after breastfeeding. (To be fair, I have never had boobs to begin with.) Did it help? It certainly helped my arms. Do breast pillows help with latch, though?
Colleen Williams, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in Cape May, New Jersey, tells Romper, "It can help, but mostly in keeping your baby in the right position once you get them in it. Mostly, latch issues are mechanical, like user error in a computer, or physiological. Babies have tongue-tie, or a frenulum issue, or there's an issue with baby's palate — lots of reasons pop up."
Williams says, however, if the latch is not so much a problem, but a learning curve and maintenance issue, breast pillows can be a godsend. "If you get a good, deep latch, a pillow can help keep baby anchored to you. Even if you prefer to have baby upright, a good nursing pillow will help keep your baby's booty from slipping. The pillows are designed to hug the mother and cradle the baby, and they do it really well."
But Williams notes that it's important to get help if you're having a latch issue — cracked nipples and slow feedings aren't pleasant for anyone. If you are simply having issues keeping baby in one position, a nursing pillow may be just the thing. Plus, the covers have improved so much in the past several years. A breast pillow can help you maintain a good latch, but if your baby's latch is poor because of some other issue, you might need an IBCLC to help in addition to your Boppy. You might even be able to find a few that aren't sporting Christopher Robin's imaginary BFF.