Is It Safe For Your Baby To Sleep With A Pillow? Here’s What You Need To Know

Ally Villar
·4-min read

As a concerned new parent, it is natural for you to worry about your baby’s unpredictable sleeping patterns. The tossing and turning may even prompt you to make your little one’s room more cosy with extra pillows. But wait! Take a step back, rethink the pillows, and ask yourself “When can a baby sleep with a pillow?”

Is this the correct age for your little one to be propping his head up on a pillow, no matter how soft? The answer is probably a big NO!

Why Pillows And Babies Are Not The Best Combination

Before you start buying your newborn their own separate pillow, know that babies and pillows are not the safest of combinations.

In fact, letting babies sleep with pillows may even create an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is found to be the leading cause of infant mortality, causing the death of infants aged 1 month to 1-years-old. In 2019, Singapore recorded, 75 infant deaths with an infant mortality rate of 1.7 per 1,000 resident live births.

Aside from the risk of suffocation and SIDS, The HealthSite says that infant pillows are prone to spraining your baby’s delicate neck.

Plus, using a pillow for too long could give your baby flat head syndrome because of constant pressure which may lead to certain structural deformities. While this won’t cause severe harm to your little one’s brain development but could threaten the shape of their head.

Sounds plenty tough coming from something that usually gives us comfort every night.

But it’s important that parents know the possible risks of letting babies use a pillow to ensure their safety whenever they sleep. So when can a baby sleep with a pillow? We have the answer.

When Can A Baby Sleep With A Pillow?

Image source: iStock

It is not advisable to let your baby sleep on a pillow, until they are 1.5-years-old (18 months). This recommendation is on the basis of everything experts know about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Instead, to keep your baby safe from any accidents while they’re asleep, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests key points for parents:

  • Newborns should be laid down on a firm sleeping surface

  • They should sleep on their backs without any other bedding or soft objects such as pillows

If your baby still looks uncomfortable, check for signs of colic. Alternatively, it might just be time for a quick diaper change. The idea is to let your baby adapt to the clean sleeping space, so he/she can roll around safely in the crib.

It is advisable that you only introduce additional bedding materials after they’ve crossed 1.5 years. Around this time most kids would have already moved on from their crib and to a toddler bed. Although, we still recommend that you consult your pediatrician on whether your child is ready for a pillow.

In the meantime, if you’re still two minds about this, here are some important sleep safety tips for your newborn.

5 Sleep Safety Tips For Your Newborn

Image source: iStock

To further protect your newborn baby and avoid any accidents, here are a few sleep-safe tips:

1. Your baby should always sleep in a cot. Let your baby sleep in a nice comfy cot with a firm mattress to avoid SIDS.

2. Keep them in a proper and safe position. Make sure your baby is sleeping safely on their back as it is the most recommended position for newborns.

3. There are no heavy blankets or covers around them. While your baby is asleep, clear away any other beddings and toys that could accidentally suffocate or strangle them.

4. Crib location. It’s not enough to clear the mattress. You should also make sure that where your baby’s crib is placed is secure from any dangling ties, strings or wires that they may easily pull and strangle or electrocute them.

5. Have a baby monitor to check in during the night. If you’re no longer co-sleeping with your little one, a baby monitor on their own room would ensure that they’re sound asleep throughout the night.

With reports from Nicholas Yong.

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