Is It Worthwhile To Get A Pillow For Your Baby?

BabynHome - When Does your Newborn need a Pillow?

Before our baby arrived, we received different baby gifts. Among them is a cute baby pillow.

It is indeed a perfect addition to our baby cot and we wanted to put it to use. However, along the way, we discover there is also a right time for using the baby pillow and this has nothing to do with feng shui.

So, Why a Pillow?

A pillow is used to protect the neck and to keep it in a level position while sleeping. This works naturally for adults whose neck structure is already well-formed.

However, for a newborn, they don’t really need a pillow before the age of one. This is because their neck and shoulders are not as big as adults and giving them pillows would, on the contrary, flatten their head more as they grow.

An infant will start swaying their head sideways in the first few days after birth and it is very common to find your newborn sleeping with his/her head at either side instead of facing up towards the ceiling. At this juncture, it is not surprising to find many anxious parents (we admit we were.) worrying about their baby having one side of the head more flattened compared to the other side. This is known as the Flat Head Syndrome.

BabynHome - Babies tend to sleep on one side
Babies tend to sleep on one side most of the time, don’t be overly concerned

TWO Ways to Solve This

  1. From time to time, assist your baby to sleep evenly on both sides by shifting their head. You could also massage the baby head gently as their skull is still soft and quite malleable. 
  2. The other way is to provide your baby with a pillow that has a hole/slight dent in the centre to keep the baby’s head in an upright position.  This pillow method is advisable after 3 months of age, as a newborn may suffer from aspiration. Aspiration is when something enters the airway or lungs by accident. It may be food, liquid, or some other material. This can cause serious health problems, such as pneumonia or in serious cases, death. When your baby is a bit older (3 months and more), they can move their head easily and thus the risk of aspiration during sleep is significantly lesser. This is the reason why we suggest using such pillows after 3 months of age.

Tips for Parents

There is no urgency to rush to get a baby pillow. You can get one later after your baby is older. Along the way, you might even get pass it down or a free gift from friends or local sponsors. In fact, we didn’t buy ours’. It was gifted to us and we only started to use it recently when our baby turns three months. 

After several months of usage, our baby outgrew the pillow. No, it wasn’t because she got so big that the pillow couldn’t fit.

When our baby reached the stage where she can wriggle around in her cot, we often find by the following morning she was no longer resting her head on the pillow.

In fact, she often wriggled her way around the cot and the pillow became more of a toy than its original purpose.

So there, that’s our conclusion and experience. Most parents would get a pillow just to counter the flat head syndrome but do go in with the expectation that babies do not lie obediently on their pillows once they start getting wriggly.

In need of a baby pillow? Check out: John N Tree Organic Cotton Baby Pillow for Newborn

The one we are using is similar to this model, except for that cute monkey at the corner.

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