Providing a comfortable and safe resting space for babies is something that first-time mothers and fathers worry about. The recurrent question is whether it is convenient to place a pillow on them, something that understandably raises some fears due to the risks it may involve.
If you are preparing your child’s room and you want to know what you will need for his crib or if he has not used a pillow so far but think it is time to put one, this article will interest you. We will solve all the doubts that this issue raises, and we will talk about the right time for your baby to start using a pillow and how it should be.
Should Babies Use a Pillow?
The baby is anatomically different from the child or adult. Your head is proportionally larger than the rest of your body and your neck is small, so you do not need and should not use a pillow as it provides the correct support for your spine; nor does it give you a more comfortable rest. In addition, until it reaches its first year of life, the pillow can increase the risk of suffocation.
Between two and three years, your body changes and acquires proportions more similar to those of an adult , so the pillow can be comfortable for you to rest and no longer carries risks. However, it must be borne in mind that it must be adapted to their age. Later, in this article, I will explain what characteristics the one we choose should have.
Are Flat Head Pillows Safe For Babies
As we have said before, a baby’s use of a pillow is not only not necessary but it can be harmful to their health and can pose a risk. On the one hand, when using a pillow your spine is misaligned and the natural curvature of your neck is forced. On the other hand, because the use of a pillow in a baby increases the risk of suffering from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
What is sudden infant death? Medically it is defined as the sudden death of a baby under one year of age with no explainable cause. According to experts, and based on the cases analyzed, one of its main causes could be laying the baby face down because, in this position, a blockage of their airways can be caused. If the baby is also using a pillow, on his stomach, he inhales the same air that he exhales and his oxygen level decreases, this being a probable cause of suffocation. For the same reason, it is also advisable not to leave cushions or stuffed animals in the crib.
When Can a Baby Sleep With a Pillow?
Although sleeping without a pillow is rare and even not recommended for adults, babies do not need it for at least the first 24 months of life.
Between the ages of two and three, however, the physical characteristics of your body change. Your shoulders grow and become wider than your head. If you lie on your side, your head will hang if you do not have support and it will not be comfortable for you to rest. In addition, given his maturity, he already has control over his body, he can turn to find the best sleeping position and he is not at risk of suffocation.
From this moment, we could say that the pillow begins to be necessary to provide you with more comfort since now it does allow a correct alignment of your head, neck, and back.
Overcoming Difficulties In Breastfeeding
When it comes time to start using a pillow with your little one to breastfeeding, it is important that you take into account the recommendations of the experts when choosing one and the physical development of your baby.
The pillow for a child from 2 years has to be:
- Slim and low in height, so that the head, neck, and back are perfectly aligned.
- Low firmness (preferably soft). It should be borne in mind that children weigh little and a pillow of medium or high firmness that does not sink could cause cervical problems.
- Of the same length as the bed, so that when moving it continues to be supported by it.
- With a removable cover that can be washed frequently.
Pillow For Newborn Baby To Treat Plagiocephaly
Plagiocephaly is an asymmetric malformation (flattening or deformation) of the head of the baby caused by external pressures. Its causes can be a long period in the incubator, the process during birth, the position of the baby in the womb, or the baby spending a long time with the head resting in the same position on a flat surface. And it is the latter that can be prevented in several ways: by having the baby spend some time while awake on his stomach (always with supervision), by changing the orientation of his head to one side or the other or by holding him more often.
If we observe that our baby may suffer from plagiocephaly, we have to consult the pediatrician. In addition to the recommendations just mentioned, it is possible that, if you consider it necessary, you will advise us to use a special pillow for plagiocephaly. The design of this pillow corrects posture and eliminates pressure from the baby’s skull. But it is important not to use this type of cushions on our own and without a prescription, as they could be dangerous if used incorrectly.
Summary and Final Recommendations
Although it may seem to adults that without a pillow it is impossible to sleep, we have already seen that, given the physical characteristics of the baby up to two years of age, not only does he not need it but its use can be harmful to his back or, even worse, be a cause of sudden death by suffocation.
Regarding the recommended postures at bedtime, we know that it is advisable to place him on his back and never put him to sleep on his stomach. Comfort regarding posture in bed responds to a habit, so if we habituate our baby to sleep on his back from the first day, he will not need a pillow to be comfortable in this position.
To prevent your still soft head from deforming because it is always in the same position, it is advisable to change its orientation from one side to the other. In the crib, you can put a toy or something that catches his eye on the side you want him to face, but not inside, or put the baby to bed alternating between the head and feet.