Many parents underestimate the importance of a well-organized place for a baby to sleep. He should feel comfort, warmth, and security from the very first days of his life. It is necessary to think over all the details in advance: a spacious bed, a dense and hard mattress, and a pillow.
The peculiarity of the organization of a bed for a child is that it is constantly changing. This is due to the physical growth of the baby and the sequence of formation of his skeleton. It is impossible to buy one bed to serve a baby up to 5-7 years old. You will change at least 2-3 beds and everything that is in it during this time.
Does a baby need a pillow from birth? When can a baby have a pillow? Which one to choose? These and many other questions will be discussed in this article.
Why does a baby need a pillow?
An adult needs a pillow for convenience and a feeling of comfort. The main purpose of this bedding is to provide support for the head and neck. Children also need a pillow to support the correct formation of the curves of the spine. This will get rid of most of its defects.
The head of the baby at birth is quite large relative to the body. A baby can sleep without a pillow with this body design. It is quite comfortable and safe for the baby. Body proportions change with time. The head is smaller than the body. The spinal column grows and the neck lengthens. Outside help is needed for balance and proper support.
The absence of a pillow for the first couple of years does not harm the child. The muscles of the cervical region are getting stronger, the spine takes the correct shape.
Do newborns and infants need a pillow?
Newborns and infants do not need a pillow. There are some cases where a special orthopedic pillow may be prescribed by a doctor. It has a special recess that allows you to properly fix the child’s head. Such a pillow should not be used all the time but it is part of the therapy. An orthopedic pillow may be prescribed or recommended for certain health problems:
This is an annoying digestive problem. It can appear from the first days of life. Food enters the esophagus, pharynx, or oral cavity along with gastric juices in reflux. Such a reverse movement of food in an acidic environment causes persistent pain, burning sensations, and severe discomfort.
The cause of reflux is the underdevelopment of the lower food sphincter. How will a pillow help? She will slightly raise the baby’s head, reducing the symptoms of reflux. A much smaller amount of acid will enter the pharynx and oral cavity. The child will sleep better and worry less.
The curvature of the spine
Sleep with an orthopedic pillow is prescribed for the curvature of the spine. It serves as a guarantee of maintaining the effect during sleep. Results will be missing if you do not use a pillow. The baby spends most of the time sleeping in the first six months. The position of the body during this period plays a leading role in the formation of the spine.
Deformities of the skull
Some babies may be born with a skull deformity. It is necessary to correct this while the bones are labile and malleable to change. That is when an orthopedic pillow is used. A change in the shape of the skull can occur for up to 1 year due to some fault of the parents.
For example, if they put the baby to sleep only on his back and on one side. This site will be flatter. The child will have a flat nape if he sleeps with his head straight. Experts believe that skull deformities in infants may be associated with a lack of vitamin D and one pillow is not enough.
This problem may be congenital or acquired. Torticollis is externally manifested by the fact that the child’s head is tilted to one side and slightly turned. The difference from the habit is that this head position for the child remains constant. Torticollis is a muscle defect that is well treated with complex therapy: physical education, massage, wearing an orthosis, and sleeping with an orthopedic pillow.
It is worth using the help of a special positioner pillow if the baby suffers from constant regurgitation. It fixes the baby in a sideways position and eliminates the risk of choking on his vomit. You should consult a doctor if the situation does not improve.
Orthopedic pillows are often prescribed for severe muscle tension in the body or excessive lethargy. It helps the baby as an adjunct to general therapy. A massage session often ends with feeding and a deep sound sleep. Special pillows come to the rescue to fix the result.
The lack of calcium and phosphorus in the body of a child leads to the appearance of rickets. This is fraught with disturbances in the formation of bone tissue in the phases of active growth. Sometimes the bones soften too much, deform and even break. An orthopedic pillow in this case is used to prevent deformation of the bones of the skull.
Up to what age can a pillow be dangerous?
Using an ordinary pillow is harmful to babies of a certain age and can be a real threat to life. Newborn babies are immobile. They gradually build up their muscle strength. The pillow at first can become a dangerous accessory due to the high probability of suffocating for them.
Newborns do not turn their heads well. They sleep the way you lay them down. Head turns become more confident at two months. At the same time, there are no turns of the torso and the arms are still not strong enough. Any careless movement in sleep and the baby is in a position with blocked airways.
Do not immediately introduce a pillow if the child begins to roll over. Roll overs appear approximately from the 4th month of life. The child can change the position of the body and it is difficult to return to a safe position. It is not recommended to use the pillow for under 1 year.
How to choose the first pillow right?
The sleeping place for a 2-year-old baby will be organized correctly in ideal conditions and with preliminary preparation. Parents will study all the materials and select the best accessories and useful items for sleep. Consider some tips from us to do it without errors:
The width of the pillow should match the width of the mattress so that there are no empty spaces where the child’s head can fall. It is comfortable and allows the child to feel more relaxed. He will not wake up in the middle of the night. The kid will be sure that he has support under his head.
Without unnecessary details
Never purchase products that have buttons, patches, zippers, or other extra items. They can not only injure the child but also cause him more serious harm. She can scratch the baby. He may choke on swallowing the item.
Natural fillers in the form of feathers and down are not suitable for children. These materials are prone to high accumulation of dust, bacteria, and insects. Give preference to silicones, latex, holofiber, or simple foam rubber. These materials will not cause an allergic reaction, they are easy to clean and dry quickly.
You can choose models with the function of remembering the shape of the body. These ergonomic materials adapt to every curve of the spine. They envelop the body creating the most comfortable space for all the tubercles and depressions. The pillow helps to support the neck in its natural position while maintaining the ergonomics of the body.
Height by age
Be sure to consult with an orthopedist before choosing a pillow. Especially if the child previously had problems with the spine or neck. The height of the baby pillow is 1 – 2 inches. There are models with two rollers. One is a little higher and the other is lower. A high pillow for the age of 2 years is not needed yet.
Remember that orthopedic pillows almost always do not require a pillowcase. Their coverage should be natural. Pleasant cotton fabric is suitable, which does not irritate the skin, and absorbs and easily evaporates moisture. See the composition of the product and do not purchase synthetic coatings.
It is very convenient when the pillow for the child is equipped with special ribbons. They will allow you to properly fix the product in place so that it does not slip. So the child will not be able to move the pillow and be left without it.
At what age is the pillow acceptable?
The use of a pillow for sleeping a child is allowed from 2 years. The proportions of the child’s body change by 2 years. It becomes more elongated and a visible long neck appears. The head visually becomes smaller than the body. The distance from the base of the neck to the edge of the shoulders increases.
Sleeping without a pillow at 2 years old is unpleasant and uncomfortable. The child needs cervical support. The natural curves of the spine continue to form during this period. The child ceases to experience discomfort in the cervical spine thanks to the pillow.
Sleeping without a pillow after 2 years of age is even more harmful. Especially if the child loves the side position. The most powerful load on the muscle and bone sections in this position. The child needs stable support that can unload and support the neck.
Choosing a pillow by age
Consider what pillows and at what age can or should be offered to a child. We have compiled a simple selection algorithm that will help you avoid mistakes.
From birth to 1 year – Only an orthopedic pillow is prescribed by a doctor. It is recommended before the period of active mobility of the baby. Selected individually according to indications.
1 – 2 years – It is possible to use a pillow in case of bad sleep for the baby. Only thin products are recommended: no thicker than 1 – 1.5 inches. A flat pillow will ease the position of the growing skeleton, making sleep easier.
From 2 years old – A children’s pillow is preferably specialized from materials with “memory”. Size 15 – 20 inches is selected individually according to the size of the mattress. Height no more than 2 inches. The pillow should not be soft. The elasticity of the filler is important.
From 7 years old – You can use a regular adult pillow. The selection of the product remains within the framework of the hypoallergenicity and naturalness of the top layer. Everything else is up to budget and preference.
A 2-year-old refuses a pillow?
Not all children can positively perceive the introduction of a new subject for sleep. When a baby refuses to fall asleep on a pillow, he will not sleep on it at night. Do not torture your child with persuasion or insistence on using this product. Take care of your nerves and the psyche of the baby. Sometime will pass and he will go to sleep with a pillow.
Sleeping without a pillow is perfectly acceptable if there are no medical contraindications. The child will find a suitable position or begin to put a blanket under his head. Gradually invite him to sleep with a pillow but without forcing.