When Can Toddler Sleep With A Pillow – All You Need To Know


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Since the time you have conceived, you are always planning to create a perfectly decorated room for your little one to come. You aim to have a beautiful room with every material of comfort according to the age of your growing baby. Luckily, you are not going to have a pillow anytime soon in your decoration. Now, the question is when can toddler sleep with a pillow?

This article will cover all your queries about why you should not use a soft pillow and how long you have to wait for it.

Does a neonate need a pillow?

Like any new parent, you are panicking while parenting your newborn baby. And, to be honest it is quite natural. However, you shouldn’t go hard on yourself. Your baby up to the age of 28 days is called a neonate and he or she has no control over his or her neck.

It means that if anything hinders the breathing of the babies, they can’t tilt their heads to create space for breathing. Thus, any soft bedding like a pillow is only increasing the risk of suffocation.

Therefore, you should avoid any kind of soft bedding under the head of the newborn baby. And as per the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should lay your baby on his or her back and put a hard surface or bedding underneath the head.

When can toddlers sleep with a pillow?

Where you may like a soft and comfortable pillow for yourself to sleep, your baby doesn’t require any kind of pillow before the age of 2 years. And even after that, they can be comfortable sleeping without a pillow.

However, after crossing the age of 3 years they start the need for a pillow. So you can take a pretty long time deciding a comfortable pillow or let your baby choose one for him.

This happens because of the transition from a firm crib to a soft bed which usually takes about 2 to 3 years. And you shouldn’t worry about the comfort of the baby at all before this age. They are comfortable sleeping this way. Most of the children sleep on their backs which eliminates any need for the pillow. However, you can add a piece of hard bedding under his head if you want.

Besides, at this age, your baby not only has good control over his head and neck and he can also call for help if feels suffocated.  Now you know when your toddler can sleep with a pillow, right?

Also Read: My Newborn Won’t Sleep In The Crib – What Should I Do?

Potential hazards for toddlers sleeping on a soft pillow

No doubt the comfort of your baby is your priority but it shouldn’t exceed the risk of safety. Therefore, avoiding the use of a pillow before the minimum age of 2 years is very important. Here are the potential hazards which you can pose to your toddler while using a soft pillow for sleep.


The biggest and the most understandable hazard of using a soft pillow for a toddler below the age of 2 years is suffocation. It is even riskier in the early stage of life when he doesn’t even tilt his head to make room for breathing.

Similarly, you should also avoid other soft beddings and stuffed toys as these pose the risk of suffocation as well. You should use a firm mattress to avoid any such hazard.

Also Read: My Toddler Won’t Nap During Daytime – What Should I Do?


Not just newborns but anyone can be allergic to the stuffed pillows. However, at the early stage of life, your baby is not good at communicating. So until he develops some symptoms you are not going to know. Be aware that these symptoms can be serious.


Soft pillows come with various fillings and can be hazardous for the baby. These pillows can be a good habitat for fungi like aspergillum. These fungi are notorious for serious respiratory tract infections and newborns are at a greater risk. Hence, you should avoid the use of soft pillows.

Perfumes and deodorants

Your baby can be allergic to perfumes, deodorants, and detergents you are using. Any exposure to these things can make him show the symptoms of allergy which include; sneezing, cough, watering of eyes, and in severe cases shortness of breath and rapid breathing. Avoiding the use of pillows eliminates any chance of exposure and keeps your baby safe.

Also Read: My Newborn Makes Weird Sounds While Asleep – Is This Normal?

Pillows to avoid the flat shape of the head

Some people believe that soft pillows should be used for the development of smooth head shape. They claim that if you don’t put a pillow under the head of the toddler the head surface develops flat.

To some extent, the reasoning is true. As the baby head is continuously placed against a hard surface, the back of the head develops flatter. Here is how you can avoid the flat shape of the baby’s head:

Change the position of your baby every day

The easiest way is to change the position of your baby on an everyday basis. Now there are a lot of ways to do that but the easiest way is to place something interesting on the side as the babies have the habit of staring interesting things.

Since the babies always look at interesting things and avoid looking at an empty wall. The other way to change the position is to place the side of the crib against the wall. Place the baby so that the wall is on the right on day one and left of the other day.

Tummy time

You can also avoid the head of the baby from getting flat using the supervised tummy time. For that, you need to place your baby on his tummy under your strict supervision and let him play for 15 to 20 minutes. You can do this multiple times during the day.

In short, you have to be very vigilant in deciding when your toddler can sleep with a pillow. The use of the soft pillow before the age of 2 years is highly dangerous because of the risk of suffocation in toddlers. Instead, use a firm mattress and firm bedding to keep your baby safe and healthy.

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