Worrying about the shape of your baby’s head is a concern that may seem funny to some, but if your child has ever been forced to wear a medical helmet to correct flat head syndrome, you’ll know just how serious it is. Could it be that a simple homemade baby pillow stuffed with rice or beans is the simple solution to preventing flat head syndrome?
Head shape problems
Your baby is probably not born with a perfectly shaped head but will develop one over time. When babies are born they usually have cone-shaped heads because the soft bones of the skull overlap in order to better squeeze through the narrow vaginal canal.
And while their heads will return to normal, parents face another risk— of flat head syndrome, which occurs if the baby is lying against a hard surface all the time. While flat head syndrome, otherwise known as plagiocephaly, is not considered dangerous, your baby has the risk of growing up with a misshapened skull. Once the soft bones of the skull harden, it will not be possible to reverse the disfigurement.
This is why it’s important for parents to check their babies’ heads for any flat spots and to change the baby’s sleeping position every so often.
The benefits of a rice baby pillow
Faced with this quandary, many parents fall back on an age-old remedy—a baby pillow filled with rice or beans. Using a baby pillow filled with rice is an ancient practice believed to give the baby a beautifully shaped head. Other ingredients used can include beans or buckwheat.
Some benefits of such baby pillows are:
- The baby pillow will give your baby’s head a beautiful round shape.
- It helps prevent the flat head syndrome.
- The rice baby pillow can reduce your baby’s startle effect.
- Elevating the baby’s head can help with colic and reflux.
- You can warm up the pillow in the microwave oven or chill it in the fridge to soothe your baby.
- You can add aromatherapy to soothe your baby.
The arguments against a rice baby pillow
Ingredients-wise, there’s nothing bad that can be said about making a pillow out of rice, beans or buckwheat. They are safe ingredients that are a lot more natural than the foam, polyurethane and other made made materials we find in our bedding.
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However, baby experts agree that a baby should not be sleeping on a pillow until the age of two. The reason is that babies that small, with limited mobility, are susceptible to suffocating on pillows or other soft items in the bed. This is why the recommendation for baby cribs is to use a firm mattress and avoid using pillows or blankets with it.
What then can a parent do? We suggest that if you want to use a baby pillow to shape your baby’s head, that you use it only when your child is awake and under your supervision. Some places you could use your baby pillow is when you’re playing or interacting with the baby, when the baby is in his bouncer or swing, or in the stroller. When your baby goes to sleep though, is when you should put away the baby pillow.
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