When a baby is born, he has to be taken care of with caution and tenderness. For that very purpose baby products i.e. bed and beddings are made in such a fashion to provide as much comfort to a child as possible. Pillows are one such item. It is a general conception that soft, plush pillows and cushions are a guarantee for a perfect night’s sleep. Unfortunately, we overlook the question that what is the proper age at which the babies should be provided with a pillow?
Let’s find out the answer!
Does Newborns Need Pillow?
Pediatricians are suggesting parents not to use a pillow for their baby. The reason is simply that the natural physiognomy of a person does not allow any external support. When a baby is born, he has the perfect body. Of course, it is just the beginning of his life and his body is going to grow with rapidity.
But even then, when he is born his body has its own perfection. We have a perfect spine and perfect positioning of the neck and head. If there is any need for support we would have been born with a cute little fat cushion on our very own necks.
Do Baby Feel Uncomfortable Without Pillow?
Babies do not require any external support such as a pillow. Their soft structure of bones and muscles allow them to relax on any surface with ease. As sleeping is the time when the body of a baby is growing, lying on a flat surface allows their body to grow at the natural angle the way it is meant to be. Their spine, head, and neck are at the appropriate position and their brain is getting proper blood supply. In addition to that, lying on a flat surface also prevents the neck to get stiff at an awkward angle. However, babies do need a head support when they are being fed. It allows the food to reach the stomach without any danger of getting choked.
At What Age Should A Baby Can Use A Pillow?
It is advisable that the proper age at which a baby should be allowed to sleep on a pillow is 1-2 years. Sleeping without any support for this much time allows the bones of the body to straighten and normalize. It also minimizes the chances of the baby getting sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). At this age the neck muscles of a baby get the strength to function at some level.
Find out more about Top Best Sleep Sacks for Babies.
What Bedding Should I Use until My Toddler Is Old Enough For A Pillow?
The best bedding for the baby’s crib would be a mattress rather than a hard surface until he is safe enough to use a pillow. It should not be a hard one as it might lead to disturbed sleep and strained back. A soft mattress allows the body to the position according to the needs. In that way, a baby can have a good night’s sleep and would wake up being fresh.
Bedding slightly rose from one side to support head is also a good option for the baby’s sleeping posture. It would be neither too flat as to cause discomfort nor as harmful as a pillow is for the body.
Which Type of Pillow Is Good For Baby
If you feel the need for a head support for your toddler, start with a thin duvet or a padded cloth under the head of the baby. Try to avoid any feather or polyester fillings as they might lead to future complications which will be discussed below. However using simply a padded cloth for the neck support is good enough for a sound sleep of a toddler. At the age of 2, the baby has already got a healthy and ideal body so using a little support to relax the neck muscles won’t be as hazardous for the baby as it would have been when he would be a newborn. Using a soft cushion would also allow increasing the quality of sleep for the baby.
However, the best thing would be to use a soft and thin foam pillow for the baby. It should be not so hard as to give sprains to the neck and similarly not so soft as to increase the chances of getting suffocated.
In addition to that, foam pillows also have a good quality of not getting overheated which leads to a perfect sleep without any nightmares. So, until your baby is ready for a proper pillow, a foam pillow is the best alternative for a good night’s sleep.
How to choose the best pillow for your toddler
Choosing a pillow for your toddler is a difficult task in many respects. You need to consider the following factors when choosing a pillow for your toddler.
Choose the right material. It is known that the babies have soft skins. To prevent their skins from getting damaged by rash or allergy use a soft material for the pillow.
Choose the filling of the pillow wisely. Do not use complicated fillings such as feathers, down, wool etc as it has been observed several times that they can lead to severe breathing or skin problems in future. The best option would be to use hollow polyester for the filling, they give a good cushion to the tender bodies of the babies. Also, use a properly filled pillow, a pillow hollowed out awkwardly from different areas might lead to discomfort for the baby.
Firm vs. Soft
The pillow’s firmness also counts in the baby’s comfort. Make sure not to use too firm pillows as to give neck sprains and not too soft as to disfigure the angle of the spine. Choose a medium firmness to avoid inconvenience for your baby.
While selecting a pillow also keep an eye on the thread count as well. It is advisable to always use 200 thread count for your baby’s pillow.
Substitute of Pillow
The best alternative for the pillow would be to use a head and neck support pillow for babies. Unlike a traditional pillow, it has a hollow in between with support to head and neck. Its sides are plushy and soft to avoid straining the muscles. This allows the head of the baby to relax at the certain angle with comfort. It also prevents the babies to get Flat head syndrome. It can also be used to support the baby’s head when he is in his stroller, baby bouncer or when the baby is sitting.
You may want to read more about The Best Mattress for Kids.
To conclude, we can safely assume that it is safe to use a pillow when your baby is 1-2 years old or above and that too with certain precautions. Do not overstuff your baby’s crib with pillows, do not choose pillows haphazardly, keep the head at a proper level on the pillow, do not leave empty or hollow spaces between head and pillow. Although it is highly recommended, that for the better sleep quality and growth of the baby to not to use any external support for the baby. It is always good to let them sleep in their natural postures without disturbance.