The Importance Of A Baby Pillow
Babies have completely different needs than adults, and that extends to the type of pillow they sleep on. A baby's brain goes through rapid development within the first year of life, but they need proper support while they sleep to ensure that growth happens. Baby pillows are designed to facilitate blood circulation in the brain, as well as protect an infant's fragile neck, which also develops significantly in a child's first year of life.
Newborn babies actually have no control over their neck muscles and do not know how to lift their head onto a pillow. For this reason, baby pillows aren't the types of pillows grownups are used to, which are usually just for one's head. Instead, baby pillows are full body pillows that can support a baby from head to toe. Baby pillows are also important for tummy time, which refers to a baby lying on their stomach rather than their back. Tummy time can prevent a baby's soft head from becoming flat from too much back-sleeping. Baby pillows are extra thick and plush because, during tummy time, a baby might place their entire body weight on their delicate knees when they begin to crawl.
New parents might wonder why a simple large, fluffy pillow won't suffice for a baby. This is because baby pillows are specially designed to be contoured or have raised edges, which keep a baby from rolling off. A baby's spine is also still transforming into the proper curved shape that adults have. The contour in baby beds naturally helps a baby develop a proper spinal curve. A normal, flat pillow can put a baby at risk of flat spots on their spine.
Special Baby Pillow Features
Babies grow faster in the first few months of life than any other time period, so they can quickly outgrow their pillow. To save money, parents should look for a pillow that expands with their baby. Some have elastic exteriors and extra material within the seams so the pillow can stretch without tearing. Parents can avoid chemicals and toxins known to be bad for babies by purchasing a pillow that hasn't been dyed.
As any seasoned parent knows, babies drool, puke and soil themselves a lot, so it's a good idea to purchase a pillow that is machine washable, and made from materials that don't absorb odors. When it comes to baby's comfort, pillows with ventilation holes can keep an infant dry and cool while they sleep. Getting a pillow in a fun shape that the baby enjoys, like an elephant or owl, can encourage the infant to stay on their pillow. Some pillows come with fun add-ons for a baby to play with like teethers and crinkle books.
Parents who live in cities with four seasons might like a reversible pillow that has cotton on one side, for fall and winter, and linen on the other to keep a baby cool during the summer. The same luxury memory foam found in adult mattresses can also be found in baby pillows, and can provide the ultimate comfort and security for a baby's fragile body.
How To Help Baby Sleep Through The Night
Newborn babies need to sleep for most of the day to ensure proper development, but they aren't always able to do so. Babies benefit from white noise just like adults do. Simply putting on a fan or a sound machine can prevent a baby from waking up to tiny sounds throughout the house, like a door closing. A baby will also learn to associate the white noise with feelings of fatigue, so it can lull them to sleep.
It's important that new moms know when they can stop night feedings. Only a pediatrician can advise a new mother on when exactly to cease, but there are some signs that a baby no longer needs night feeding. At this point, mothers should stop running to their baby's side when they cry at night. When a baby learns that crying during the night won't get them extra milk, they will spend less time awake, trying to get their mother's attention. Giving a baby a dreamfeed, which is just a small two to three ounce serving of milk right before bed, should be enough to help them sleep through most of the night.
Babies can have very particular sleep needs, just like grownups. If a baby doesn't feel comfortable in their pajamas, doesn't like the temperature in the room, or doesn't like the number of toys in their crib, they might whine until mom or dad fixes it. So if the other tips listed here don't work, new parents can experiment with changing things like what the baby wears to sleep or the temperature in the room.