We all know what a mine field parenting can be, especially when you are a brand new parent to a newborn baby; the hours of research on what is best for your baby can be endless, and overwhelming! Just when you think you have it under control, your baby moves onto a new stage and you’re straight back to square one. Well, I’m not sure when that stops, but it certainly isn’t at the toddler stage! I get asked a lot about transitioning toddlers from their cots into their ‘big beds’ (you can read our blog post about this here), which is, as a general rule, also when you can look to introduce a pillow for your toddler. We do often get asked if we sell baby pillows, the answer is a big no. Babies need to sleep on a flat, firm surface, and any soft bedding can be a choking hazard. So, when do we know when is the right time to introduce them? I’ll try my best in this post to help you figure out when it is best for your toddler!
As mentioned above, as a general rule, you can introduce a pillow when your toddler moves into their ‘big bed’, however, even at this stage it may not be necessary. Their little bodies do not need the neck support like we do, and can even put strain on their neck if you give them the wrong pillow (we’ll get into that more soon). So if your toddler is quite happily sleeping through the night comfortably, it isn’t necessary to introduce one just yet. The ‘experts’ suggest a pillow can be introduced at any age between 1.5-3 years, which is quite a big age range! There are a few clues you can look out for that might suggest your toddler is ready for a pillow:
- If they are restless at night and wake up often
- If they prop their head up on a blanket or soft toy
- If they put their head on a cushion or pillow when on the couch or in bed with you
- If they start sleeping on their side or start sleeping with an arm under their head
So, once you have determined it’s time to introduce a pillow, how do you choose the right one!?
This is really important, your toddler will need a pillow that is suitable for their little body. They have different proportions to us, so an adult pillow can place unnecessary strain on their neck and shoulders and may lead to bad posture. You will need to find a pillow specifically designed to support your toddlers developing body. Luckily for you, we have done just this! Our airnest Junior Pillow is due to launch in March, but we're taking pre-orders now (stock is very limited, so get in quick!)
Other things to consider when selecting the right pillow are:
Toddlers can have trouble regulating their temperature, Liam is a very hot and sweaty sleeper, so it is important your child has a pillow that doesn’t retain heat. If you do your research on this topic you will see some recommend latex pillows, as latex is soft enough to be comfortable but firm enough to provide support. The problem with latex however, is that it is known to be a very hot material and can retain heat. The airnest Junoir Pillow, like all products in the airnest range, is made from breathable materials, promoting air flow to help keep them cool while they sleep.
Just like adult pillows, the filling inside kids pillows can vary greatly. When choosing a pillow for your child you should look out for a filling that can be easily cleaned, your precious little bundle is going to be placing their heads on this multiple times a day, you don’t want them sleeping on pillow that is filled with dust, mould, bacteria or allergens. Ensuring you have a pillow that is easily washable is an essential! The airnest Junior Pillow inner is made from a recycled polyester filling. I know some of you might be questioning “why polyester?” I realise it sounds cheap and nasty, but it is an extremely durable material and is very easy to clean. Again, like all airnest products, the airnest Junior Pillow is 100% washable. Both the inner and the cover can go in the washing machine and dryer, to ensure your child won’t be sleeping on any nasties!
You should also consider the cover used on your child's pillow, as this will be sitting very close to his/her face, right under the pillow slip. Most pillow covers are made from cotton, so you should be mindful that many cottons are not breathable and also can contain harmful toxins, bleaches and dyes from the manufacturing process. The airnest Junior Pillow cover is made from the same airnest-lite material as our airnest mattress cover, it is 100% breathable, 100% washable and it is Okeo-Tex class one, classified safe for babies (read more about this here).
A few other benefits of the airnest Junior Pillow include:
- It is an eco-friendly option; the filling is recycled, saving waste from going to landfill, and because it is so easily washable, you can use it for many more years than a standard pillow, or for more than just one child
- NZ designed and assembled
- The dimensions are the same as a standard pillow, so it fits all pillow cases and the inner can be changed over time as your child grows and needs a higher profile
I bet you didn’t realise how much thought could go into choosing a pillow for your child! If you have any questions, comment below or feel free to get in touch!