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Doctors are warning moms that these breastfeeding pillows could be unsafe

You know that super-comfy, take-it-everywhere breastfeeding pillow you use for a little much-needed support while nursing? It may be doing your baby more harm than good.

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According to Pennsylvania coroner Graham Hetrick, these pillows are to blame for the deaths of three infants.

But before we all panic and throw our crescent-shaped companions in the trash, nobody’s saying these pillows aren’t safe when used during breastfeeding. The babies who sadly died did so while they were sleeping — propped up on the pillows.

These pillows were never designed to be sleeping surfaces for infants and should always come with a warning label telling parents to never allow their babies to sleep on them.

Hetrick warned that by propping up a baby on one of the pillows, it increases the risk of suffocation, because there’s a chance the infant could slide down the pillow, causing their neck to bend and their air passages to become blocked.

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It’s a far greater risk for young babies who don’t have the strength to pull themselves up after they slide down. The three infants who died were only 2 or 3 months old.

Official guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend always placing a baby to sleep on their back on a firm, well-fitting mattress. Nothing else should be in the baby’s crib, including loose bedding, toys and pillows of any shape. Wearable blankets are a safer alternative to loose blankets if a baby needs extra warmth.

And if you do use a crescent-shaped breastfeeding pillow to position your baby in a more upright position, it’s crucial that you keep a close eye on them at all times.

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Any woman who has ever nursed a baby will agree that a supportive breastfeeding pillow makes the task immeasurably more comfortable. It’s hard enough as it is without getting crazy aches and pains from trying to hold an infant in a feeding position without the right support. Regular pillows just don’t do the job. So carry on using your breastfeeding pillows, moms — just be aware that they have their limitations.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

tandem breastfeeding
Image: Ivette Ivens

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