Baby Pillows: Everything You Need To Know To Keep Your Little One Safe

baby sleeping in crib on baby pillows

Making your baby’s nursery a cozy and restful place for them to sleep and grow is important! As you decide how to decorate and furnish their room, you’ll probably want to deck it out with every cute baby pillow you see.

Sleeping on a pillow at night and decorating with throw pillows seems like a no-brainer as adults. But when it comes to baby pillows, there are a few safety considerations you’ll need to keep in mind.

That’s what Newton Baby is here for! In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about baby pillows to keep your little one safe and comfortable. Then we’ll talk about some of the pillows on the market and when and how you should use them.

Without further ado, let’s jump in so you can start preparing for your baby!

Baby Pillows And Safe Sleep Recommendations

pregnant woman feeling baby pillow in crib

Creating a safe sleep environment is the most important consideration when it comes to baby pillows and keeping your little one safe.

Since you, as an adult, sleep with a pillow (and probably like to deck your bed out with throw pillows, too), you might feel the need to provide your infant with a pillow to lay their head on.

But in reality, babies don’t need pillows to sleep. More than that, sleeping with a pillow in their crib can be dangerous for your baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your baby sleep with nothing in their crib. That means no pillows, no crib bumpers, no top sheet, no blankets, no toys…. We could go on, but you get the idea.

All that’s required for your baby to catch some zzz’s is a firm crib mattress and a fitted sheet (and a waterproof mattress pad if you like). Before we move on, let’s talk about these three crib items.

A Firm Crib Mattress

sleeping baby on mattress pad in crib

For the safest sleep, a baby needs a firm mattress. But that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your little one’s comfort!

For example, the Newton Baby Crib Mattress is much more comfortable than traditional mattresses, which are rock-hard and wrapped in plastic.

We also don’t use foam, glue, latex, or springs. In fact, our crib mattress is independently tested and certified for low chemical emissions to Greenguard's Gold Standard.

Newton Baby Crib Mattress

What’s even safer than a firm crib mattress? A crib mattress that’s firm and breathable, like ours is. Made with a patented Wovenaire core (90% air and 10% food-grade polymer), it’s 100% breathable, which means no sweaty backs and safer sleep.

The other advantage is that the mattress is entirely washable — from cover to core! Bye-bye mold, bacteria, and allergens!

A Fitted Sheet

Other than a firm mattress, a fitted sheet is all that your little one needs to stay comfortable in bed. Top sheets and blankets both pose a risk to your baby’s health.

The best way to keep your baby warm and cozy while they sleep is to skip the blanket and instead swaddle them (until they start rolling over) or put them in a sleep sack.

For a cute touch, go with patterned, breathable sheets, like Newton Baby’s Organic Cotton Sheets. Our preshrunk muslin cotton is soft, machine washable, and designed to fit any size crib mattress!

A Waterproof Mattress Pad

upclose of a mattress pad

Putting a mattress pad on your baby’s mattress isn’t a necessity, but it sure does make clean up easier! Plus, a waterproof mattress pad will protect the mattress from leaks, moisture, and mold.

The great thing about the Newton Waterproof Crib Mattress Pad is that it not only protects the mattress, but it also works to make any crib mattress safer!

Our pad contains two layers of breathable material, adding 3/8" of air circulation to the surface of the mattress.

It’s a win all around!

The Dangers Of Baby Pillows

Now that you know what a baby should sleep with, let’s answer this question: Why shouldn’t a baby sleep with a pillow? The answer is simple, yet important.

Putting a pillow in the crib increases the chance that your little one will overheat or accidentally press their face into it, making it harder for them to breathe and increasing the risk of suffocation.

That being said, there are still several types of baby pillows on the market. What are they, and when can you use them? Let’s take a look.

Different Types Of Baby Pillows

mom sleeping with pregnancy pillow

With tons of baby products on the market, we won’t be able to touch on all of the different types of baby pillows you might see while shopping or creating your baby registry. But we’ll cover a few common ones so you know how to safely use them (or not use them).

Anti Flat Head Pillow

One type of baby pillow that many parents seek out is a pillow designed to help prevent flat head syndrome. This can happen when a baby lies with their head in the same position day after day.

Understandably, parents are concerned about their baby developing a flat head!

While you should discuss any concerns with your baby’s pediatrician, flat head syndrome isn’t usually a major problem and often resolves itself with a bit of care.

And the bottom line remains: it simply isn’t safe for your baby to sleep with a pillow, no matter what that pillow claims to do.

To safely combat flat head syndrome, increase tummy time, hold your baby when you can, and give them plenty of things to look at so they’re using new muscles and not always in the same position.

Baby Positioner Pillow

A baby positioner pillow keeps your little one on their side while they’re sleeping by supporting them on the right and the left.

So, what’s the deal with these baby pillows? There’s no reason to ever use them.

First of all, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends putting your baby to sleep on their back, not their side, for every sleep — nighttime as well as naps.

Secondly, even if there was a reason for your baby to sleep on their side, pillows in the crib are still a no-go!

Nursing Pillow

A nursing pillow is for both you and your baby!

These circle or u-shaped pillows can help a breastfeeding mother get into a comfortable position to nurse. They’re also great for anyone giving the baby a bottle.

Nursing pillows fit around your waist, providing support for your arms while you feed your little one.

mom soothing baby in baby pillow

These pillows can be a great help and spare your tired arms and aching back! They can even double as a way to prop your baby up or help them sit when they get to be a few months old.

Just remember that these pillows aren’t meant to go in the crib, nor should your baby sleep near a nursing pillow.

Baby Lounger

A baby lounger is just what it sounds like — a pillow for your baby to lie or sit in while they’re hanging out with you.

This pillow has an indent in the middle and is a great place for your baby to lie down, practice sitting, or have tummy time.

As with the nursing pillow, a baby lounger pillow is beneficial for your little one while they’re awake and spending time with you. But a baby lounger should never go in the crib and your little one should never sleep on it.

Pregnancy Pillow

This pillow has less to do with your little one and more to do with your comfort while they’re inside your belly.

This large body pillow helps pregnant mommies get comfortable in bed, especially during the third trimester when you’ve got a big belly!

Using a pregnancy pillow might make it a bit easier to get some much-needed shut-eye while you’re eagerly anticipating the arrival of your little bundle of joy.

Mom sleeping with baby pillow

Decorating Your Nursery With Baby Pillows

Just because your baby shouldn’t sleep with a pillow in their crib doesn’t mean you have to forego pillows in their nursery altogether!

It’s OK to put frilly, pretty pillows in your baby’s crib as long as you take them out when you put your baby to sleep.

And, of course, you can add a throw pillow to your rocking chair or use floor pillows to create a reading nook that your little one will enjoy for years to come!

Whether you’re decorating in gender-neutral colors or going all out with a theme for your little boy or little girl, there are lots of great options for incorporating comfy pillows into your nursery.

Skip The Baby Pillow For Safe Sleep

mom with toddler

At the end of the day, your baby’s safety is your top priority.

To look out for them while they snooze, put them to sleep on a firm, breathable mattress, like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress, and skip the baby pillows. Not only are they unnecessary, but they’re also unsafe!

Make your baby’s crib safe by keeping it bare and you’ll rest easy knowing that they’re sleeping soundly and safely in their crib. Sweet dreams!