A newborn brings along so much! So many emotions, sleepless nights, hurried meals, and stuff! Yes, all the baby stuff! If you don’t really buy, you are given baby essentials as gifts! Now a few things come very handy but there are few essentials which we perceive are so important but, aren’t really so. One such ‘baby essential for newborns’ is a pillow. Sorry to burst your bubble but have you ever thought- Are pillows safe for babies? Does your tiny little, frail baby need a pillow?
NEWBORN CARE TIP #1
Your baby DOES NOT NEED A PILLOW.
Pillows are NEVER PRESCRIBED for babies. They are choking hazards and pose a strong risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
Newborn babies have very limited head and neck control. In case the pillow comes to rest on their nose they might not be able to move their head away. It can RESTRICT BREATHING and lead to CHOKING.
Healthy Sleep practices as advised for babies:
- Put your newborn to sleep on their backs.
- Firm bedding without any pillows, body supporters, or heavy blankets is the safest option.
- Put your baby to sleep in their cot or crib. However, if you choose to co-sleep, always be extra careful.
What if the baby develops a flat head?
What is a FLAT HEAD spot?
A flat head syndrome or Plagiocephaly is a situation when a newborn develops a pressed spot on their skull. Since the skull is very fragile in the newborn stage and not fused completely, any application of external pressure for longer periods of time can lead to the development of FLATHEAD.
Do all babies develop a flat head?
Though not all babies, flatheads are EXTREMELY COMMON in babies. Babies tend to develop a flat head in their first few months. Also, it is completely cosmetic in nature and does not affect brain functioning at all!
Home Treatment for Flat Head spot
- Parents and caregivers should immediately spring to action as soon as they notice even a slight denting of the baby’s head.
- Interactive tummy time is one sure shot way to heal a flat spot. Check out Pihu’s kick and play piano gym. I can’t recall the number of times it allowed me to have a long bath. It’s rotating piano adjustment makes the play gym very effective for tummy time playing as well!
- Parents and caregivers should reposition the baby’s head after short periods so that the head doesn’t grow pressed from anywhere.
- Little hacks such as breastfeeding from either side also help in smoothening out any flat spot.
- Reposition and keep mixing hanging toys from one side of the crib, stroller, or rocker to another. We purchased this super hanging toy cum rattle cum teether from Hamleys and it has lasted us to date! We still go back to it whenever we chance upon it!
- Holding the baby in arms more rather than letting them lie in the cot for a longer time also drastically improves a flat spot in a baby’s head.
- Helmet therapy is also a sure-shot beneficial way to treat Plagiocephaly when no other remedy works. However, for Helmet Therapy parents need to visit their nearest Pediatrician.
What about the very commonly available FLAT HEAD PILLOWS or DONUT PILLOWS?
Are head shaping pillows safe for babies?
Surely a people’s favorite gift to any newborn, the donut pillows have been around since long. Homely variations and self made donut pillows are also popular in traditional households.
However, one must understand that pillows of any kind are choking hazards, and so are DONUT PILLOWS or FLAT HEAD PILLOWS and even homemade Rai Pillows.
- There use must be practiced only when the BABY IS AWAKE and is UNDER THE CONSTANT SUPERVISION of a parent.
In short: Are Pillows safe for babies? YES! as long as they are used as ACTIVITY PILLOWS only!
So, tell me did your baby develop a Flat Head Spot ? What hacks did you apply?
Pihu also did develop a flat spot within the second month and I only kept repositioning her head as and when I found the opportunity. CONFESSION: I had been placing a donut pillow under her head (completely unaware of the consequences) whose use I instantly discontinued after I researched about Pihu’s situation. Thankfully, it hardly took us a week or maybe two to return to normal baby head shape.
I hope you found the article useful and would appreciate if you dropped a word of encouragement. Have a lovely day.
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