As she helped the baby drift off to sleep each night, Mom noticed her toddler son growing more restless and fidgety. No matter which way he tossed and turned, comfort seemed to evade him on the small bed.
This evening, she observed carefully as bedtime routine began to unwind. In the soft glow of the nightlight, she started to see signs that perhaps it was time for a new sleeping companion.
Silently, she made a mental note of the five telltale behaviors her little one had been displaying over the past few days. If these clues all emerged, it might confirm that her toddler was finally ready for his very first pillow. So is there an exact time when you can introduce a pillow to Toddler? Don't worry, carefully read this article written by Kaiya Angel, and you will find the answer to the question about using pillow in Toddler.
When do I introduce a pillow for your toddler?
Most experts recommend waiting until around 18 months to 2 years of age to introduce a pillow. Toddlers younger than this may not have the head and neck control needed to support their head on a pillow safely.
Watch for signs your toddler is rolling, turning, and repositioning well in their crib/bed. Once they seem comfortable changing positions independently, they may be ready to try a pillow.
Consider introducing a pillow once your toddler transitions out of a crib/bassinet and into a big kid bed. This major change already introduces new experiences, so starting with a pillow at the same time keeps things gradual.
Signs your toddler needs a pillow
Watch their sleeping position - if they toss and turn a lot, going from lying flat to on their side, or try using arms or toys to prop their head up, they might be looking for more head support. A pillow could help with that.
Neck/head discomfort - they may complain about their neck or head hurting. A pillow could keep their neck aligned nicely to relieve tension.
Sleep quality drops - if you notice they're not sleeping as well, waking up more or restless, they may need a pillow for proper head support.
Growing body - as they get longer, a pillow can help keep their head and spine in a natural position for healthy sleep.
Using blankets/stuffies as pillows - if they often rest their head on blankets, stuffed toys or other soft things, that shows they want something cushier under their bonce.
Using pillows on couches/your bed - if they pillow their head higher up when not in their crib, vs just lying flat, they seem to like a bit of height behind their head.
Why you should not give your toddler a regular pillow?
Here are some reasons why you shouldn't give a regular pillow to toddlers, and the benefits of using a toddler-specific pillow instead:
Regular pillows may be too big and fluffy, posing a suffocation risk if the toddler's face gets pressed into it. Their airway can get blocked more easily.
Standard pillows don't provide appropriate neck and head support for developing toddler muscles. A child-sized pillow is contoured for growing bodies.
Adult pillows may encourage unsafe sleeping positions in young kids still learning. A mini pillow encourages side sleeping.
Toddlers are prone to slipping and falling out of bed. A bulky pillow makes this risk greater as it takes up more room.
Regular materials like down feathers or memory foam aren't made to withstand toddler-level chewing/drooling/spit-up. Specialty toddler pillows are bite-proof and washable.
Toddler pillows come in various thicknesses, heights and contours to grow with developing motor skills. Parents can select the best size and level of support.
A well-made toddler pillow is designed specifically for their neck and head size, provides appropriate support without risk of re-breathing expelled air, and durable enough to take whatever toddlers can dish out. This makes them a much safer option for developing kids just starting to use pillows.
How to Choose a Pillow for Your Toddler?
Size matters -Little ones have such tiny heads, so a pillow needs to be just the right size - not too big that they feel lost, but just big enough to lend support. Opt for a mini pillow, just the right size to cradle tiny tot heads. Too large and they may get overwhelmed or have trouble finding their comfortable spot. Small and slender allows freedom of movement without being swallowed up. The perfect pillow should feel like an old friend welcoming them to dreamland.
Firm is best - Squishy pillows make it hard for developing neck muscles to find support. Look for a pillow with some substance while still soft enough to snuggle. Firm insides encourage healthy positioning without sagging under their sweet face.
Material - As for material, nothing beats the snuggliness of cotton for a growing bub. Too soft and they'll sink right in, but too stiff isn't comfortable either. Look for a friendly fabric, soft but sturdy like a big hug, to cradle their precious pea heads.
Breathable cotton wicks away unwanted moisture so they stay dry and comfy all night. The washable cotton cover means easy cleanup of inevitable spills and surprises. Fresh sheets and a clean pillow mean an amazing aroma experience too!
Zip it up - Pillows with zipped covers mean blownout stuffing or dirty inserts don't spell the end of cozy times. Just zip out, clean, then zip back in - as easy as that! No fussy sewing or store trips needed for repairs either.
Picky pets beware - Teething tots like to gnaw, so look for tight weaves and hypoallergenic fabrics that can endure those baby chompers. No yucky chemicals either, just calming cuddles.
Custom comfort - Densities that adapt keeps snoozing supported as they grow. Firm at first when sidelying skills develop, softer later for supreme slumber enjoyment.
Safety ratings - Guidelines help parents choose pillows crafted with tender heads in mind through rigorous testing. Sleep securely knowing it passed with flying colors.
Don't stress - Follow bub's bliss to find their favorite. Their sweet dreams will show you selected the perfect pillow pal!
Accidents happen with inquisitive little explorers too. Choose a pillow with a removable cushion so a midnight mishap doesn't mean the end of cosy times. Zip it out, pop it in the washer, then it's right as rain to snuggle up once more.
Every sweet pea is unique and what soothes one may startle another. Let their sleepy cues guide whether they prefer a tender touch or firmer support. As long as they nod off happy, you've found the perfect partner for perfect slumbers.
A pillow should be a faithful friend throughout their growing-up, keeping them company in dreams both day and night. With the right one by their side, they'll feel safe as houses and restful as can be.