I successfully nursed my first daughter for over a year with the help of a great lactation consultant, the loving support of my husband (who would fetch water and feed me while I nursed), and two essential breastfeeding items: my Boppy nursing pillow and this Medela Nursing stool.
Near the end of my third trimester of pregnancy this time around, I dug out my Medela nursing stool. Once again, it's been a critical part of my successful breastfeeding experience.
About the Product
Yes, this is a foot stool, but it differs from the typical stool in that it has an angled surface so your feet are not perpendicular to the ground. It was designed to help nursing moms maintain the most ergonomic position and relieve unnecessary stress on one's back, shoulders, legs and arms. I'm not quite sure how it helps with one's shoulders and arms, but I can see how it helps with back and leg discomfort. More on this below.
In addition to the large flat surface for your feet (which is conveniently grooved to make it a non-slip surface), there are rubber feet on the base of the stool so it won't slide.
The stool measures 7Hx12-7/8Wx10-7/8D". It comes in either natural/oak stain or white. The stool was made in Malaysia.
I inherited this from an older cousin who is done with having children, so I didn't buy it myself or need to assemble it. I've seen it at Babies R Us in a flat box, so assembly is required. In examining my stool, I see 5 pieces and 6 allen screws, so it should be a very easy assembly.
Since I started out with this stool, I didn't realize how important it was to my breastfeeding experience until I started nursing downstairs on the couch and was too lazy to drag the stool down with me. I found my back ached and my legs were strained when I didn't have enough leg support. I would tense up and that affected my ability to sit for 40+ minutes to nurse.
Like I said earlier, I'm not sure how using the stool helps with proper positioning for arms and shoulders, but it definitely makes a difference for minimizing pain/discomfort in a nursing mom's legs and back.
Rather than spend the $30 or so to buy a second stool, I grabbed a regular stool and tried to use that. Unfortunately, regular stools are not meant for your feet to rest flatly on them while you're sitting. Instead, I could only stick my legs straight out (resulting in back pain), or perch my toes on the side of the stool (which felt precarious like my feet would slip off). After I returned to working full-time, it was no longer an issue as I would do all my nursing upstairs in the nursery.
Fast forward 3 years and I'm home on maternity leave again and need 2 nursing stations (one upstairs in the nursery in the evening and one downstairs during the day). Since I purchased a used Dutailier glider with an ottoman, I figured I could use my Medela nursing stool downstairs. Sadly, the ottoman is an older model, so it does not have the built in angled nursing stool that mimics the Medela. Thus, I find myself reluctant to nurse upstairs as my feet perch on the side of the ottoman, trying desperately to mimic the angle of the Medela nursing stool. It's probably time I just buy a second stool!
I strongly recommend this nursing stool to any breastfeeding mom. Given the hours you spend nursing, you need to minimize any discomfort caused by poor posture. Parents of bottle-fed babies can likely benefit from this, too, but I think its greatest use is for nursing moms.
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