When can I start using a pillow for my baby?

Baby pillows have been gaining a lot of traction. Just type ‘Baby Pillow’ into Google and a list of baby pillows being sold on various e-commerce sites will pop up. Many of these pillows are being sold as prevention tools for ‘flat head’ syndrome, and some packaging also say that the pillow reduces the risk of overheating and suffocation. These pillows are being marketed for small babies…

But, The Lullaby Trusta British charitable organisation aiming to prevent unexpected deaths in infancy recommends that parents only start using a pillow for their baby after 12 months. According to them, pillows increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 50%.  “Pillows can lead to potential suffocation and limit the amount of heat babies can release, which can lead to overheating – a risk factor associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS),” they said in a report.

ALSO SEE: 5 things you should know about cot death

What should my baby sleep with?

Your baby only needs a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in a good condition with firmly tucked-in sheets or blankets. “Any extras such as toys, quilts, pillows or cot bumpers can increase the risk of an accident,” says The Lullaby Trust.

But what if my baby has a flat head?

Rest assured mom, it’s quite normal for your baby to have a flat head when he sleeps on his back, and in most cases this issue will resolve on its own in a few weeks or a couple of months.

Is there anything I can do to prevent flat head syndrome?

Physiotherapist Rachel Harrington has this advice for moms to reduce flat head syndrome:

  • Limit your baby’s time on his back when he’s awake.
  • Lay your baby down in a different way, especially if he seems to prefer to hold his head on one side.
  • Change the way your baby lies in his cot ever week. This will encourage him to look around and not just keep his head in one position.
  • Alternate between the pram and carrier when you’re out and about with baby.
  • Give him lots of tummy time.

ALSO SEE: Tummy time – why it’s important for your baby and how to start

  • Limit baby’s time in the car seat or bouncer. This can encourage other growth and development problems.
  • Don’t panic. Repositioning baby often helps and the problem goes away on its own. But, if you are really concerned, speak to your doctor.

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