When Can Babies Use Pillows?

Lying flat on a mattress for hours and sleeping without a pillow will leave you with a stiff neck and pain in your shoulders and back, while lying down on a soft and fluffy pillow can provide you with so much comfort that you may wish the same for your baby too. But the question is: Is it safe for your little one to sleep with a pillow?

There is no denying that pillows can provide you with utmost comfort and quality sleep, but using pillows for your baby may not be such a wise thing.

So, if you are wondering whether it is safe for your bundle of joy to sleep with a pillow and how old your baby should be before you can put her to bed with a pillow, we recommend that you read our article. Here we will discuss everything you should know in regard to when and how to use a pillow for your baby. Last updated Sep 28, 2020 @ 6:23 pm

Should Newborn Babies Use Pillows?

Your baby’s comfort is very important to you and as parents you want to do everything to make your little one feel cozy and comfortable. If you are first-time parents and you are wondering whether your newborn baby can sleep with a pillow, well, experts recommend that you avoid it.

Why It Isn’t Safe for Your Baby to Sleep With a Pillow?

There are various reasons why it isn’t safe for a newborn to sleep with a pillow.

First of all, putting pillows and any other soft bedding items in your baby’s crib can lead to suffocation or choking hazards and increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

This is because infants lack proper neck and head control in the first few months after birth and if their mouth or nose gets covered with a pillow or some other soft bedding item, they may not be able to move their head away, which may lead to suffocation.

Besides this, newborn babies are also sensitive to various allergens such as dust mites, feathers, etc. and sleeping on a pillow may cause different reactions. Also if your baby snuggles against a pillow, it may cause her to overheat, which is yet another thing that can potentially lead to SIDS.

If your baby tends to move a lot during sleep, you may wait with using a pillow even past her first birthday. This is also because an active and curious toddler could try to use a pillow as a help to climb over the fence of the crib and possibly fall.

Therefore, most paediatricians will tell you that the safest sleep setup for your baby is a flat and firm surface without a pillow. Everything you should use in her crib or bassinet is a simple fitted sheet. You should also avoid using over sized blankets or crib bumpers.

In addition to pillows and blankets, you should avoid offering your baby stuffed animals until your little one is at least 18 months old.

When Can Babies Use Pillows?

When it comes to the question when can babies start using pillows, we recommend that you wait until your baby is a toddler.

Babies should sleep on a firm and flat surface without pillows, blankets and other soft bedding items until they are 18 months old or more. During your baby’s first year, you should use only a simple fitted sheet in her crib or bassinet.

So, it’s better to wait until your baby transitions to a toddler bed, which usually happens between 18 months and 3 years and when the time or a pillow comes, it should be a small and simple pillow. (We will talk more about the kind of pillows that are the best for toddlers below.)

However, sometimes a pediatrician may recommend using a pillow earlier because of certain health conditions such as ear infection, acid reflux and chronic cold. In such cases, there are special pillows that can help your baby sleep easier and get better faster.

What Kind of Pillows Can Toddlers Use?

When the time for your child’s first pillow comes, you can’t just grab a pillow from your own bed and give it to your child. Instead, you should pick a pillow that would be the best for your child, one that will be of appropriate size and that is flat and firm rather than a soft and squishy adult-size pillow.

We also recommend that you use pure cotton covers for your child’s first pillow. They are far more comfortable than any other types of covers, and if you pick those of lighter colors, you will easily see when they get soiled so you can change them as soon as you notice that.

You should avoid using pillows with microbead fillings as these beads may fall out if the pillow rips or strips and your baby could swallow them which can lead to choking hazards and other complications. Also, avoid using feather pillows for your baby as they may lead to allergic reactions.

You should also keep in mind that pillows are not a necessary item for toddlers, until your little one has transitioned to a toddler bed and shown interest in it.


Pillows are a necessary item for adults; they help us sleep better and more comfortably, but they may not do the same for newborn babies. In fact, using pillows for young babies is not safe.

Pillows are not recommended for newborns for various health and safety reasons that we’ve mentioned above. Even older babies may not need a pillow unless there is a certain medical condition that requires using one.

And when your baby is old enough to start using a pillow, you should make sure you pick the best one that will provide your child with a comfortable and quality night’s sleep.

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