As your kid continues to grow, there will come a time when your little one will need a pillow to remain comfortable throughout the night. Toddler pillows, also known as infant pillows were designed for the sole purpose of providing your baby with a comfortable nights sleep.
Why you shouldn’t give your toddler a regular pillow
If you have not heard of toddler pillows before then you may be wondering why a toddler can’t simply sleep on a regular pillow.
A regular pillow is designed to provide support to the adults head and neck. A toddler does not have the same proportions as an adult and resting on a regular pillow will place unnecessary strain on the neck and shoulders. Continuous strain may lead discomfort and sleepless nights or worse, poor posture.
Toddler pillows are designed around your baby’s proportions, allowing for a comfortable sleep while providing your little ones developing body with appropriate support.
When to introduce your toddler to a pillow
There is much debate as to when a toddler should start using a pillow. Many “experts” agree that the right time to give your toddler a pillow is when you transition your little one from the crib to a bed, around the age of 18 – 24 months.
The answer you will get from parents, however, will differ vastly. Many parents report that they introduced pillows well before this age without problems. As every baby develops and behaves differently, there doesn’t appear to be a universal “right” time to introduce your baby to a pillow.
Ultimately as the parent, it is your decision as to when your little one is ready to use a pillow. If you watch your toddler closely then you may notice him giving you clues that he is ready to make the jump to sleeping with a pillow. Clues include:
- Failure to sleep without the head being propped up
- Restless at night due to being uncomfortable
- Resting the head on a blanket or stuffed animal
- Laying head on a pillow on the couch or in your bed
Another indicator is to look at your baby’s shoulders. Once they are wider than his head then your little one will usually be more comfortable sleeping on a pillow than a flat mattress.
The purpose of giving your toddler a pillow to sleep on is to make him more comfortable. If your toddler is sleeping just fine without a pillow then simply look out for the above clues and continue your little ones sleeping routine as normal.
Choosing the best pillow for your toddler
If you are trying to find the best pillow for your toddler then you will need to take the following points into consideration.
Know your toddlers allergies
Let’s say that your child is allergic to wool. It goes without saying that you would not buy your toddler a wool pillow, which would only aggravate his allergy. By being aware of what your little one is and isn’t allergic to will help you narrow down the perfect toddler pillow.
Firm vs soft
You will need to strike up a delicate balance between comfort and support. If you press down on a pillow and it does not regain its shape then the pillow is too soft and is unsafe for your toddler to use as it poses a suffocation risk.
On the flip side if you press down on the pillow and it doesn’t move at all then the pillow may be to hard to provide comfort. While the majority of toddler pillows have been designed to provide optimal support, it is still something to take into consideration.
Pillow cover material
The outer part of the toddler pillow is generally made from cotton. Be mindful that when choosing a pillow that cotton can be regular or organic. Organic cotton lacks the harmful toxins, bleaches and dyes that ordinarily go along with the cotton manufacturing process. Needless to say, you don’t want your baby breathing in these industrial materials while sleeping. Organic toddler pillows will always be clearly marked. If you cannot figure out if a toddler pillow is organic or not then it is better to use caution and assume that the pillow isn’t.
Common toddler pillow cover materials include:
- Cotton polyester blend
- Synthetic fiber
If you have ever purchased new bedding then you may have come across the term “thread count”. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the silkier and more durable the pillow will feel. Toddler pillows with a high thread count are less scratchy and more comfortable than those with a lower thread count.
Pillow fill material
Beneath the pillow case hides the material that keeps your child’s head supported and comfortable. There are many different materials that can be used to fill toddler pillows. From foam to buckwheat there is a huge variety to choose from. The most common fill materials include:
- Synthetic fill
- Foam or memory foam
The above materials are the most common because they allow for the pillow itself to be easily cleaned. Be mindful when selecting a pillow that the fill doesn’t make too much noise as it moves around inside the pillow. Materials like buckwheat and certain synthetic fills can make a loud, crinkling noise when the weight of your toddlers head is shifted. The crinkling noise may result in your toddler being awoken from his slumber, not a desired outcome for any parent.
Is your toddler sensitive to microbes, dust, dust miters, mould and more? Hypoallergenic pillows are made from materials that will help reduce allergic reactions. Many organic toddler pillows are naturally hypoallergenic. If your pillow is not organic then it will be clearly marked as to whether it is hypoallergenic or not.