A bed just doesn’t look complete without a pillow, does it? But Baby has probably been doing without a pillow for most, if not all, of his life! Many families decide to introduce pillows to the mix when it’s time to make the switch from crib to toddler bed, while others may make the change because their child uses a pillow when they’re traveling, or when he’s in his parents’ bed, or during a cough when recommended by a doctor, or even just when he asks for one.
When and why to introduce a pillow
Once he’s old enough for Back To Sleep guidelines to no longer apply to him (at around a year old), then there are as many different times when your toddler can start using a pillow as there are nights you tuck him into bed. But just because he can do something, that doesn’t mean he should – just look at all the climbing he can do these days.
If your little one has been having trouble falling asleep, introducing a pillow can be one way to try to address that problem – he may be having trouble getting comfy and may appreciate a little extra support. If he doesn’t want one, however, and he is sleeping well without one and isn’t having any neck pain, there’s no reason to introduce a pillow. And if he is interested or has started using stuffed animals or other soft toys to prop his head up, then, by all means, let him try pillows out.
What kind of pillow can a toddler use?
Since toddlers’ proportions are different from adults’ and older children’s proportions, there’s no real need for a full-sized, adult pillow, and a sudden switch to that kind of neck elevation at night might not end up being very comfy at all. Pillows that are specially designed with toddlers in mind can be a great choice for a first pillow, but they’re not the only option.
Travel pillows are also a great size for toddlers and young children, and very thin, flat adult pillows can work, too, especially for children who are already sleeping in twin-sized beds.