The earliest pillows appeared in Mesopotamia around 7000 BC. Back then, pillows were a symbol of wealth. The more pillows you have, the more wealth and influence you have. Not everyone can own a pillow. The pillow was invented to solve the problem of the neck, back, and shoulder pain when we sleep, but in fact, not everyone has this problem. In the past, sleeping with a pillow can also prevent bugs from crawling into our hair, mouth, nose, and ears in our sleep. But in modern times, we don't use pillows to "show off our wealth" long ago, and pillows have lost their anti-insect function. Basically, only the problem of lying unevenly and uncomfortable during sleep is solved. However, for infants and toddlers, because the body structure is still different from that of adults (the children’s spine is not close to adults until after puberty), pillows will not only make them sleep more comfortable, it will also have a counterproductive effect. May bring fatal danger. So, it’s better to give your children a pillow later.

During this period of time, I often receive inquiries about pillows. Many parents want to know when babies can use pillows, and whether the pillows and anti-spill milk pillows are useful. Today I will give you a detailed explanation.

Do babies need pillows?

No.

Newborns are really fragile life forms, and pillows may be a deadly danger to them.

  • Pillows may cause accidental suffocation, although relatively rare;
  • Raising the baby's head will bring their chin closer to their chest, which will restrict their breathing.
  • Pillows increase the risk of sudden neonatal death syndrome. The definition of sudden neonatal death syndrome is the death of unknown cause, which often occurs during sleep.

Babies and toddlers do not need pillows to help them sleep better, and they are more comfortable without pillows. Once babies start to roll over, most of them like to sleep on their stomachs, and pillows once again become objects that affect their breathing.

Some families insist on giving the baby a small shaped pillow in order to give the baby a good head shape... Isn't your baby moving around on the bed?

How old can my baby use the pillow?

Different countries have different recommendations. There is no saying when pillows must be used. It is mainly based on the needs of children to consider whether to introduce pillows. But the uniform advice is not to give pillows to babies before one year old.

  • The recommendation of the US government is not to use pillows for babies (before 1 year old).
  • The Australian Government’s recommendation is that no infants should be given any form of the pillow before the age of two.

There is no relevant scientific evidence to suggest when pillows can be used. Most relevant experts in the United States and Australia believe that after one year of age, the probability of infants encountering danger during sleep will be significantly reduced. Therefore, after one-year-old, the requirement that many things cannot be placed on the bed can be reduced. So, for safety reasons, pillows are given to babies after one year of age at the earliest.

However, it is not that 1-year-old children need pillows. They may sleep more comfortably without the pillows.

So when can a toddler have a pillow? They can have pillows after 2 or 3 years old. As the toddler grows up, she/he may wish to have a pillow like an adult, so at this time, give them a pillow.

If the baby does not use pillows,

Will they be uncomfortable to sleep?

NO

Contrary to what many parents think, babies and toddlers, do not need pillows to provide extra comfort. They sleep more comfortably without pillows.

The spine of newborn babies is often C-shaped. Although when you lay them on the bed, the spine can be in a straight state, they are actually quite accustomed to the curled up position that they keep in the womb. When the baby starts to learn to crawl, he must raise his head, so that the head-up posture forms a reverse C in the neck, which promotes the formation of a strong curve. When a child starts to learn to walk, usually after one year of age, the lower part of the spine begins to curve. But children's neck curvature is very small. This is why pillows that make us adults feel comfortable but make children uncomfortable to sleep.

Can I use anti-spitting milk pillows?

NO

  1. Why can not use an anti-spitting milk pillow

About 60% of babies have vomited up. The North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and the European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) define infant gastroesophageal reflux (spitting up) as the process by which the contents of the stomach enter the esophagus. Spitting up is a physiological process. This is a normal phenomenon of baby growth.

During the highest incidence, as many as 60% of infants may vomit milk every day, and 25% of babies vomit more than 4 times a day. It is most likely to occur in infants of 4-6 months and may last to 12-15 months. The frequency of subsequent occurrences will become rare and stable until the end of childhood. Some babies vomit more milk a day than they have bowel movements. However, the incidence of vomiting is predictable and will decrease. Without any intervention, it may become worse than before in 4-6 months, and then it will decrease with growth. 

The cause of infant vomiting is that the lower esophageal sphincter temporarily relaxes. This is a normal phenomenon and will happen many times a day. Babies' gastroesophageal curvature has not yet formed, and their lower esophageal sphincter is not as strong as adults, so it is prone to transient relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter. Almost all babies have the same frequency of transient relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, but some babies vomit when food comes up, some do not (some babies do not vomit, reflux can also cause them to cry inexplicably, especially at night). In addition, when swallowing or vomiting, if you encounter additional pressure that is greater than the strength of the lower esophageal sphincter, food will easily gush out. Anything that may increase this kind of stress, such as coughing, crawling, sitting, may increase vomiting.

Spitting up milk is a normal physiological phenomenon for babies, and it is not life-threatening, but it is with sudden neonatal death syndrome. In order to prevent sudden neonatal death syndrome, it is still recommended to lie down and sleep. There is no research on infants, but adults sleeping with their heads raised can reduce gastroesophageal reflux. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States has reported deaths from suffocation caused by sleeping posture adjustment pillows, and such products are not recommended.

  1. The correct anti-vomiting "movement"

If the baby vomits up severely, which affects normal growth and development, and may even be life-threatening, it is recommended to see a doctor as soon as possible, carefully evaluate the risks and benefits, and consider whether to use medication or surgery.

But if it only affects sleep, or slightly affects development. recommend you:

  • Give your baby small and frequent meals;
  • If the baby is vomiting more severely, and the baby is willing to drink again after vomiting up, give some more milk. Don't restrict your baby's milk (don't give your baby enough) just because they vomit! Only when the baby is full, the normal development can be guaranteed;
  • It is not recommended to use pillows or the like to raise it up because of the risk of suffocation and sudden neonatal death syndrome;
  • Formula-fed babies can consider using the thickened formula;
  • For babies who have added complementary foods, consider eating easy-to-digest complementary foods for the night meal, and reduce milk (increasing food consistency).

Can a styling pillow be used to prevent children from flat head?

NO

Some people suggest using a pillow to prevent the baby's head from being flat, which is not applicable when unattended. For safety reasons, the Australian government does not recommend any pillows for all babies before the age of two, including various U-shaped and V-shaped baby pillows that claim to have various functions. Flathead can be prevented simply by helping the baby adjust the posture and reduce the pressure on the head when awake, such as playing more on the tummy and holding it on the tummy.

Because of the compression of the birth canal, most babies have asymmetrical head shapes at birth. At about 6-8 weeks, many babies will have some flat parts on their heads. By about 8 months, the incidence of plagiocephaly among healthy babies is still about 20%, and by 24 months, this rate has dropped to 3%.

These data tell us that the baby's head shape is largely acquired.

Factors that can easily cause asymmetric head shape, flat head and oblique head:

  • Plagiocephaly due to posture, or plagiocephaly without bony connection may be related to sleeping on the back. Especially in these cases, it is more likely to cause plagiocephaly:
  • The position of the baby's head does not move when sleeping;
  • Be awake and under the supervision of an adult, don't let the baby lie on his stomach very much;
  • Do not hold your baby's head up when they are not sleeping.

How to shape a beautiful head

  • Hold the baby upright, or hold your baby on her stomach;
  • Change left and right hands frequently, or hug around shoulders;
  • Change the left and right arms when feeding;
  • Always put on the bed in the posture of 【Supine (back down)】;
  • After falling asleep, the baby turns over and becomes side-lying or prone, ignore it;
  • Help your baby adjust the head orientation, try to avoid baby's head sleeping on one side for a long time;
  • When the baby is awake, play more on the tummy under the supervision of an adult, or let the baby lie on the left or right side to play.

The focus of prevention:

  • The recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics is: When the baby is awake, play more on his stomach under the supervision of an adult;
  • This is consistent with Australia's advice: let the baby always lie on his back; play on his stomach; sit and watch the world.

Note

Adjusting the position of the baby's head does not mean letting the baby lie on his side. [Always] Put the baby on the crib with his back down and let the baby lie down to sleep. When babies can turn over in their sleep, they don't need to be adjusted their posture after they turn over.

Sleep on their back, play on their stomach, sit and watch the world

Look at the picture to learn the posture: