Not using a pillow for newborns can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), according to some studies. Reportedly, keeping pillows, blankets, and any toys away babies’ cribs can really reduce SIDS cases by approximately 80%.
Before you add pillows to your baby’s crib, you may need to know when the right time is to introduce pillows to your baby. Basically, the risk of SIDS will decrease as your baby grows and develops. If you’re wondering why your baby shouldn’t sleep with a pillow and when the right time is to introduce a pillow to your baby, you can see our post below. Here you go!
When Can a Baby Sleep with a Pillow?
When babies reach toddlerhood, which is around the age of two or higher, they can sleep with a pillow. So, if your baby is under 12 months old, you shouldn’t add a pillow, blanket, or even any toys to your baby’s crib.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests not using a pillow for a baby under the age of 2 years since it can increase the risk of asphyxiation, suffocation, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
It also applies for the use of blankets, baby toys, bumper pads, and anything related to a baby’s stuff. It means that the only person who should be in the baby’s crib while he is sleeping is the baby himself.
Lori Fieldman-Winter, a pediatrician in Camden, New Jersey, revealed that there should be no pillows, sheets, blankets, or other things surrounding the baby when sleeping since these can interfere with the baby’s breathing or cause the baby to overheat, as quoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The point is, your baby can use a pillow after turning 2 years old. During toddlerhood, they have developed the ability to sit up or change their positions while sleeping. So, it is less likely that pillows and blankets used while sleeping may suffocate them the way they do with babies.
After entering toddlerhood, they transition out of their cribs and into a bed. So far, toddlerhood is enough time for them to sleep in their own bed. So, it’s likely safe for them to have animal toys with them.
How to Keep Your Baby Warm Without a Blanket?
Since you shouldn’t use a blanket for your baby, you may have to keep him warm all night. You may be concerned that your baby will get cold if he sleeps without a blanket, especially during the winter.
No worries! There are some tips and tricks you should use to keep your baby warm at night without a blanket. Here they are:
- Make sure to keep the temperature of your baby’s room at around 64 °F.
- Put one extra layer of clothing on your baby. Cotton is a perfect choice since it can absorb your baby’s sweat.
- A sleeping bag can be a good alternative to replacing the blanket.
- Make sure to regularly check your baby when he’s sleeping to ensure that he is not too cold or too hot.
Of course, there are some warning signs that your baby is too cold, such as:
- Your baby’s arms, legs, or cheeks feel cool.
- Your baby’s skin is pale or blotchy.
- Your baby’s chest or the back of his neck feel cool.
- Your baby seems overly sleepy or gets hard to rouse.
- Your baby often wakes up at night.
Well, the following are the signs to look for if your baby is too warm:
- Your baby gets extra sweats.
- Your baby’s skin is warm, especially his neck and ears.
- Your baby’s skin looks flushed or reddened.
- Your baby shows signs of heat rash.
If you find these signs on your baby, you may have to take a layer off or change your baby’s clothes so more air can flow over your baby’s skin.
Is a Swaddle Safe for Your Baby to Replace a Blanket?
Some studies have shown that using swaddles when babies sleep can increase the risk of SIDS and unintentional suffocation, especially if a baby sleeps on his side and/or is old enough to escape from his swaddle.
However, according to a study published in PubMed, the risk of SIDS when using a swaddle while a baby is sleeping can be minimized, as long as you follow a few guidelines to ensure you are doing it safely. Here are a few guidelines:
- Make sure to put your baby on his back to sleep on a firm and flat surface.
- Always monitor your baby to ensure he does not roll over while swaddled.
- Never swaddle your baby loosely since he may open the swaddle himself.
- Don’t use weighted swaddles that can place too much pressure on your baby’s chest and lungs.
- Make sure to choose products that swaddle with comfortable clothes and claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Avoid letting your baby get hot when using a swaddle.
- Stop swaddling as soon as your baby shows any signs of rolling over. Reportedly, some babies can start rolling over as early as two months of age.
Those are some tips and tricks you can use if you swaddle your baby.
Of course, knowing the right time for your baby to use a pillow is very important. However, it aims to reduce the risk of SIDS when your baby is sleeping. Now, you already know when you can use a pillow for your baby, how to keep your baby warm without a blanket, and some tips and tricks to safely swaddle your baby.