Should babies sleep on pillows?
Since the implementation of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) campaign, there appears to have been an increase in the number of flat head syndrome cases. As a result, there are now many questions on the web surrounding what the best flat head syndrome pillow is.
Unfortunately, the solution is not so simple. This is because although there are currently pillows available that have been designed to reduce the tendency for a baby’s head to develop a flattened area, we do not encourage placing anything, such as a flat head syndrome pillow bumpers, or toys in a baby’s crib whilst they sleep.
We appreciate that the conflicting advice and products that are available can overwhelm parents, but our safety advice is always to sleep babies on their backs, on a flat firm surface: pillows contravene this safety advice and we don’t recommend pillows for babies under the age of one.
The main reason for this is that, should your baby get their face pressed against any of the objects, they will not be able to lift themselves up. Furthermore, once a baby reaches five months they begin to roll independently, making pillows even less useful.
There is however, still the concern that placing your baby to sleep on a flat surface can have a negative impact on their soft skull. So, what is the solution?
At Technology in Motion, we always recommend giving your baby time on their tummy when they are awake and you are with them rather than resorting to the use of other methods. The introduction of repositioning techniques will allow your baby to spend time on their tummy, under your supervision, giving them time throughout the day without any pressure placed against their head. If you do have a donut shaped pillow, we recommend that you only use it to support the back of your baby’s head when your baby is awake and you are with them.
The preferred age for repositioning is as soon as you start to notice a flattening and even from birth. Repositioning becomes less effective between the ages of four and five months when your baby should be starting to roll independently, however, if a flattening has already started to develop you should begin repositioning immediately. Feeding your baby from different sides and changing their sleeping position in their cot can also help, particularly if they always tend to turn to one side.
Giving your baby supervised time on their tummy is also an ideal way to teach them to use their arms to prop themselves up and good exercise for strengthening their backs, hips and neck muscles. You can read more about the various techniques you can use on our Repositioning Guide and why they are more effective than using a flat head syndrome pillow.