5 Reasons Why Your Baby Does Not Need a Pillow

One confusion new moms face is deciding if their babies need a pillow or not. Well, this post, 5 reasons why your baby does not need a pillow will help you make a good decision regarding this matter.

Contrary to popular beliefs, pillows are not necessary for new born babies. Babies don’t even need pillows at all until they reach the age of 2.

Pediatricians recommend that you wait until your child starts using a regular bed before introducing them to pillows, and this usually occurs between the ages of 2 to 3 years.

You may be wondering why this is so, well, let’s go straight to the point and see reasons why your baby does not need a pillow, and or why pillows are not good for babies.


5 Reasons Why Your Baby Does Not Need A Pillow

1. It can suffocate your baby

There is a high risk of suffocation when your baby sleeps using a pillow. Their delicate head can sink into the soft pillow and this, in turn, can prevent breathing and possibly death if no one is around to notice it.

Another way pillow can cause suffocation is when the baby’s delicate nostrils get pressed by the pillow. This, in turn, can restrict the flow of air when your baby moves his head from side to side.

2. It can cause overheating

Most baby pillows are fancy; they have attractive covers that are made of polyester or other materials other than cotton.

This can lead to overheating under the baby’s head and this, in turn, can cause fluctuations in body temperature in the young child.

Heat or excessive sweats caused by pillow covers can cause hyperthermia in babies. This medical condition is characterized by high body temperature and it can be fatal.

If you don’t want to see your baby battle a life-threatening condition, avoid using pillows for babies.

3. It can sprain the baby’s neck

Your baby’s neck is delicate and most baby pillows are not flat, they are fluffy. This can sprain your baby’s neck if he/she sleeps for long hours and we know babies sleep for at least 20 hours a day.

4. It increases the risk of flat head syndrome

Flat head syndrome in infants is real and it is caused by constant pressure on the back of the head. Allowing a baby sleep on a pillow for too long can result in flat head syndrome.

Reduce the risks of structural deformities in the head by not using a pillow for your new born baby.

5. It can cause SID

Sudden Infant Death (SID) is a real condition and it has affected millions of babies. Mothers wake up to find that their babies died in their sleep and most times, the cause cannot be ascertained.

Using pillows for a new born baby can increase the risks of SID in a lot of ways. If the baby’s pillow is stuffed with thermocol beads or sponge, they can accidentally come out and choke the baby.

Even the horseshoe pillow that is used traditionally to support the delicate head of babies can restrict their movement.

So, if you think making your baby to sleep on a propped pillow is good and it will help them sleep better, you are wrong.


Is It Safe For Infants To Use Pillow?

From the 5 reasons we’ve given above, you can see that it is not safe for infants to use pillows. If you are wondering how to go about this, here are some sleep-safe rules you can adopt when putting your precious little one to sleep.

1. Always lay your baby down on the back and not on the chest

2. Don’t use pillows for your baby until they reach the age of 2

3. And when your baby reaches 2, make sure the pillow you choose for him/her is firm and flat

4. To avoid flat head syndrome, try and change your baby’s position when sleeping. If you notice that your baby’s head is in a particular position for a long time, let’s say 2 hours, you can gently change the position. If your baby is moving around at night, place them on the head’s rounded side touching the mattress and do not use wedge pillows to maintain your baby’s body in one position.

5. Hold your baby as often as you can to reduce the amount of time spent sleeping on their backs and also it will reduce the pressure on their heads.

6. Have some tummy time. This means you can place your baby on their stomach for some time, under your supervision (while your baby is awake also).

7. Put your baby’s crib close to your bed so that you can fully monitor him/her and have quick access to your baby. This also means that your baby’s crib will be far away from electronic gadgets and room heaters.


When To Use baby Pillow

The only time you can use a baby’s pillow is when your baby clocks 2-year-old and above.

So, while your baby is not up to 2 years old, you should ensure that he/she only sleeps on a flat surface covered with a fitted sheet. This means that pillows, blankets, and other beddings are not allowed.


How To Choose A Baby Pillow

When your baby is grown and able to use a pillow, you still need to get the right pillow for them.

So, avoid novelty and fluffy pillows. Instead, go for pillows for children because they are designed with kids in mind.

Pillows suitable for little children are smaller in size when compared to a standard adult pillow. They are just like airline pillows and they are very firm. You can remove the pillowcase to reduce the amount of fabric on your baby’s bed.


The Best Pillows For Toddlers

You need to study your child’s needs so that you can get the right pillow for him/her. Also, study their sleeping position, because each sleeping position needs a different pillow as each sleeping position needs a particular support.

This particular support can only be achieved when you get the right pillow for your toddler. Study your child’s sleep position, it will help you to come up with your child’s particular sleep needs and this, in turn, will help you give them the best support.

Some of the best pillows you can get for toddlers are:

1. Back sleepers: This special pillow is used to maintain head level in toddlers. It is also used to avoid a forward position. Make sure the pillow you use for your toddler is thin.

2. Stomach sleepers: This is used to support babies that sleep on their stomach. It is skinny and flat, and sometimes, it is no pillow at all.

3. Side sleepers: This is a firm pillow that is used to cover the spaces between the outer shoulder and the sleeping toddler’s ears.

When your baby finally graduates from a toddler, then you can introduce a firm pillow and also some light beddings like kids blankets or pillowcase. You can make this fun and involve your child in this transition by shopping together with your baby.


Other Tips On Pillows For Toddlers

So, if you’ve successfully moved your toddler from the crib to the “big kid bed”. Congratulations. Now, you have to introduce pillow to your child and teach them how to use it safely.

The main aim of a pillow is to provide comfort during sleep.

Do not force your child to use a pillow as most children do not need a pillow when they transition to the “big kid bed”. Some may be ready as early as 2 years old, while some will refuse to use a pillow.

In a case where your child refuses to use a pillow, you can test a few different pillows to help you see the one that works for your child. This may take many trials and errors on your side.


What If Your Toddler Refuses A Pillow?

Many parents find that toddler is not receptive to the introduction of pillows, so don’t be surprised if it happens to you. It is perfectly okay. You can stop and then try again in a few weeks or a month.

You may succeed and you may not. There are many children who prefer to sleep without a pillow at all.

Once you’ve gotten the pillow situation under control, the next thing is to make sure that your child’s room is safe for sleeping. The bed should be appropriate for their age. Remove suffocation and strangulation hazards like blinds and cords, and outlets should be covered.

Make sure you keep all medicines and cleaning supplies out of their reach. Children are curious and you never can predict them. Anything that is potentially toxic should be out of their reach.

Install smoke alarms in the room or ensure that the ones already installed are working. you can also install a carbon-monoxide detector near any fuel burning equipment near any sleeping area.

Also Read: What to Do If You Baby Hates Swaddling



The safety of your little bundle of joy is very important and that is why we’ve put this post to help your baby get a safe sleep. The tips in this post will help you reduce the risks of SIDS and other injuries.

Then when it’s time to shop for your baby’s pillow, ensure that you follow the tips outlined in this post.