Why Babies Shouldn't Use Pillows

Why Babies Shouldn't Use Pillows

Last update: 10 January, 2018

One of the main things all mothers should know is that babies shouldn’t use pillows to sleep. But why?

Although many people consider it okay for small babies or even newborns to use pillows, this isn’t recommended because the proportions of a newborn baby’s body is different from those of an adult. Their neck is small and their head is much larger compared to the rest of their body.

It’s very important to avoid using pillows until the baby really needs them, because if he sleeps with a pillow before he’s ready, he runs the risk of being smothered by the pillow.

Here are some more reasons why babies shouldn’t use pillows to sleep.

why babies shouldn't use pillows

Why babies shouldn’t use pillows

  • It can cause sudden infant death syndrome. If you put a pillow down for the baby to lie on his stomach while he sleeps, he will not be able to turn around, causing suffocation. Similarly, this can occur with stuffed animals or cushions, so they should be avoided in the baby’s crib.
  • If a baby uses a pillow, it can create unnatural alignment in the spine. This causes the natural curvature of the neck to be forced, because the baby has a smaller neck, and the head is proportionally larger than the rest of the body.
  • It is not comfortable for a baby to sleep on pillows. Although you may find yourself sleeping comfortably on several pillows, your baby really doesn’t feel comfortable this way. And if he doesn’t sleep well, he will be irritated the next day. Sleeping with a pillow could also make it difficult for him to fall asleep.
  • It can cause allergies to develop. This is also an important factor to consider when you wash a pillow or cushion, because we usually use fabric softeners with different aromas. For babies, this is not recommended because they are still developing their sense of smell.

When can babies use pillows?

The Spanish Association of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children begin using pillows after the age of 2. From then on, if you want your child to start using a pillow, it is preferable to choose a thin, small and firm one.

In fact, from this moment on it is actually advisable that they use a pillow, since at this point their shoulders are wider than their head, and this begins to cause their head to hang when they sleep on their side.

The pillow should be made of a material that allows them to breathe properly, like cotton. It is best to avoid using materials such as polyester because they can hinder oxygenation and cause excessive heating in the head and neck area.

Experts recommend avoiding the use of pillows, stuffed animals and blankets in the hours of sleep during the first two years of a baby’s life.

Tips to avoid sudden death syndrome

In addition to avoiding the use of a pillow, there are other ways to prevent sudden infant death syndrome:

  • Lay him on his back. Babies should always sleep on their backs. Sleeping face-down should be avoided at all costs.
  • The mattress should have exactly the same dimensions as the crib and should not be too soft.
  • The baby should sleep with his feet touching the bottom of the crib. The sheets should also be well-secured under the mattress.
ways to prevent sudden infant death syndrome
  • It is advisable not to use blankets made of elastic or plastic fabrics.
  • The temperature of the room should be maintained between 64 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When the baby is sleeping, it is advisable not to put him in very hot clothes or blankets. 
  • It is not recommended to have a baby begin sleeping with his parents before 13 weeks of age.
  • In the baby’s first months of life, it is recommended that the crib be near the parent’s bed.

The most important thing is that a baby should not use a pillow until he is old enough to do so. It can be harmful to the child’s body and his health. The more conducive the child’s crib is to rest, the better.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.