Should Babies Sleep Using Pillows?
While lying down on your soft and cosy pillow, you may feel the need to give your baby that kind of comfort too, by giving him a pillow. There is no denying that pillows provide utmost comfort, aid in promoting good sleeping postures, and also help in sleeping better. However, it may be unwise to use pillows for your little bundle of joy. This is because using pillows may be dangerous for your little one. So, if you are wondering whether your baby requires a pillow or whether he can do without it, we recommend that you browse through the following article. Here, we shall discuss everything you need to know in regard to when and how to use a pillow for your little one.
Should a Newborn Baby Use Pillows?
Your baby’s comfort is of prime importance to you, and as parents, you may do everything possible to keep your baby cosy and comfortable. If you are first-time parents and wondering if your newborn can use a pillow, well, we recommend that you avoid it. It is seen that any kind of soft bedding material may lead to suffocation or choking hazards in babies.
Why Are Pillows Not Recommended for Babies?
As parents, you may wonder why pillows are not recommended for your baby. This is because your baby lacks proper neck and head control in the initial months after birth. This means that in a situation where your baby’s nose or mouth may get covered with a pillow or any other soft bedding material, he may not be able to move his head away. This may lead to suffocation and choking hazards in young babies.
Apart from this, young babies are very sensitive to various allergens such as feathers, dust mites, etc., and sleeping on pillows may lead to various kinds of allergic reactions in your baby. Therefore, most paediatricians will recommend that you lay your baby down on a flat and firm surface, and advise you not to use over-sized blankets, crib bumpers, or pillows. The ideal way to help your baby sleep is by making him lie down on his back without any pillow.
When Can a Baby Use Pillows?
When it comes to the question of what age babies can start sleeping with a pillow, we recommend that any time after two years of age, you may start using a pillow for your little one. However, even after this age if you feel that your baby is comfortable sleeping without a pillow, you may skip giving him one.
At times, for babies under the age of 2, the paediatrician may recommend using a pillow because of certain health conditions such as reflux, ear infection, and chronic cold. There are reflux pillows designed to raise baby’s head. These pillows allow for easier breathing and digestion and might be useful if your baby experiences reflux since the discomfort of reflux can interfere with a baby’s sleep. If that is the case, you may place a pillow under your baby’s head, but you need to be watchful and alert at all times to not let the pillow cover the baby’s nose or mouth. You must take a few hours out every day for your baby and stay beside him when you give him a pillow. Ensure you keep the pillow far away from his reach and his crib when you are occupied with something.
How to Choose the Right Pillow for an Infant?
Pillows pose a risk of choking hazards, and they are also one of the top reasons for SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, in babies. Therefore, pillows should be avoided for babies until they are advised by a doctor as a remedy to some health complication/ condition.
As discussed above, babies may be given pillows after two years of age, but the truth is that even after the age of two, there is no requirement. You may simply be using a pillow for your baby because everyone in the family may be using a pillow or you may want your baby’s bedding to look similar to yours, which is why you may even get a pillow for your baby.
If you do want to get your little one his own pillow when he is older than 2 years, there are certain things you should keep in mind while choosing the pillow. Read on to know more.
Tips to Select a Pillow for Your Baby
Here are some tips to help you select an appropriate pillow for your baby:
- We recommend that you choose a flat and a firm pillow for your baby; however, for an older child, you may choose a pillow similar to the one you’re using.
- If your baby is old enough to get a pillow but still sleeps in his crib, you could get a smaller and compact pillow that fits perfectly in the crib.
- We recommend using pure cotton covers for your baby’s pillows for they are soft and comfortable for your baby. Also, choose lighter colour covers, so that you can change them often or as soon as they get soiled.
- There is no doubt that you want everything that’s best for your baby, but when it comes to pillows, use simple and basic ones. Do not indulge and buy pillows with scented stuffing because babies are more prone to allergies.
- Do not use pillows with microbead fillings. This is because if the pillow rips or strips, the beads may fall out and your baby could swallow them too. This could lead to choking hazards and other complications.
- Refrain from using feather pillows for your baby. Though these pillows are very soft and comfortable, they may lead to allergic reactions in babies.
- Clean the pillow regularly. Pillows are often breeding grounds of infection. Residual dust, sweat, milk, oil, or dampness can contribute to the accumulation of germs. Wash the pillow according to the care instructions and ensure that it is completely dry before use.
Pillows are not recommended for babies until the age of two for health and safety reasons. Even older babies may not like to sleep on pillows. As stated above, babies don’t really need pillows unless there’s a medical condition that requires using pillows. When your baby is old enough and does not like using a pillow, there’s no need to force him to use it either. It is important to get a cue from your baby’s behaviour as to whether he’s comfortable with a pillow. If your child insists he gets a pillow, you may get in touch with a paediatrician to know the right age for him to use a pillow and the right kind of pillow you should choose him.
Also Read: Bedtime Schedule For Infants