How to Choose a Nursing Chair

A nursing chair can be a comfort to parent and baby, creating a special place to be together while breastfeeding. However, if there's no space in your home or budget for this type of chair, it's not a necessity for such bonding moments. There is no required seating when it comes to breastfeeding; just ask the breastfeeding parent on public transit, at a restaurant, or in the park.

But if you are interested in purchasing a nursing chair, you'll find a plethora of options on the market. With dozens of styles ranging in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars, the process of settling on the best nursing chair for your nursery can be downright intimidating.

Focusing on a handful of factors should make the process of settling on—and settling into—a chair much more manageable.

1

Comfort

Parent nursing in chair

SDI Productions / Getty Images

If you think spending half the night feeding a fussy baby is a challenge, try doing it in an uncomfortable chair. Nursing can be a tricky business, so it's important to choose a breastfeeding chair that will make the experience as comfortable as possible for you and your baby.

While coziness may seem like too obvious a point to mention, you'd be surprised how many soon-to-be parents sacrifice comfort for style.

First, look for a chair with wide padded armrests. Even the tiniest babies can feel heavy after you've been holding them for a while. If you still want to be able to feel your arms 20 minutes into a feeding, you're going to need a little help. Supportive armrests also allow for better positioning while nursing, which can help support a successful and sustainable latch.

Make sure the chair comfortably fits you and baby, as well as a nursing pillow if you use one. You don't want to have to constantly readjust or struggle for space.

Footrests or ottomans that come with the chair are another handy feature, especially if your legs are on the shorter side. Elevating the feet takes pressure and discomfort off your lower back and can help you settle more deeply into the chair.

You'll also want a chair that offers a padded seat and back (especially if has a wooden structure). These comfort features will ensure you have an inviting chair at the ready.

2

Support

While a soft and cozy nursery chair is a must, there is such a thing as too comfortable. A good breastfeeding chair should offer enough support to allow you to easily stand up after nursing without disturbing the little dreamer in your arms.

If the surface of the chair is too soft, or if the chair is too big, it can be difficult to get up without waking the baby you've just spent the last half-hour rocking to sleep.

Another potential pitfall? Adjustable or reclining chairs. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a little luxury, but before you buy an adjustable chair, ensure you can operate it from a seated position without having to reach over the side and jostle baby.

3

Practicality

You’ll want to choose a stain-resistant, easy-to-clean fabric for when things get messy. Microfiber is usually a good bet, and you can't go wrong with leather-like products that can easily be wiped down.

Other features to consider are whether you want a chair that glides back and forth, rocks like a traditional rocking chair, or swivels. A glider may take up less space than a rocking chair. It also depends on what you find most useful. For example, a swiveling chair could help you turn and reach nearby items from a breastfeeding station.

Create a Breastfeeding Station

Once you've settled on the perfect breastfeeding chair, consider creating a dedicated feeding station to ensure you have everything you need for nursing your child—as well as a few items for yourself—close at hand. Your station could be a set of drawers or even a mobile cart. You may want to include items like burp cloths, towels, nursing pads, hand sanitizer, or nipple cream.

4

Safety

Rocking chairs and even gliders have a reputation for pinching little fingers and toes. To prevent accidents, choose a glider with a stop-lock mechanism that prevents the chair from moving when not in use. Be sure that all gears are encased and out of reach.

If you have your heart set on a reclining chair, choose a model with an easy-to-reach lever or button. Never leave your recliner's footstool up when you're not in the chair, and always double-check to ensure that the space beneath you is clear before putting it back down, just in case your little one is crawling around on the floor.

Whatever chair you pick, it is important not to fall asleep with your child in it.

5

Style

Finally, you'll see there are many styles of nursing chairs available. Narrow down your choices to ones that not only fit your budget but also your decor.

Ponder whether this is a chair that will be shared by the family in a common area or one that is just for the nursery, and pick a style that complements the room.

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  1. Cleveland Clinic. Low Back Pain: Coping. Updated January 22, 2014.

  2. Division of Child Development, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Infant-Toddler Zone Handbook. 2012.