Best Infant Pillows for Your Baby

By Amanda Lasater

For the first year of a baby’s life, they sleep a lot. Their days are filled with numerous naps that can last between 15 minutes and 4 hours and nights that are categorized by more naps sprinkled between consistent feedings. And, as we all know, the CDC has been adamant about having your newborn sleep on their backs most of the time for safety reasons. 

With all the time that your newborn baby will spend sleeping on their back, it only makes sense that you should have a high-quality newborn pillow on hand. But, how do you choose the best infant pillow for your little one? And how important is an infant pillow? 

To answer these questions and more, continue reading and find out which baby pillows are the best for your infant and why.

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The Best Infant Pillows

keababies

KeaBabies

Best Overall Infant Pillow

KeaBabies Toddler Pillow went through rigorous testing and consulted numerous children’s chiropractors to develop the most ergonomic pillow for supporting sleeping toddlers ages 2 to 5. The pillow that KeaBabies created provides the best level of spinal support for toddlers while still maintaining a high level of comfort. 

The KeaBabies Toddler Pillow’s softness and height is exactly right for any type of sleeper and will aid in your toddler’s spinal development to ensure optimal growth throughout childhood. In addition, because this pillow promotes quality sleep, your toddler is more likely to experience healthy brain development and feel less irritable during the day. It is made from ultra-soft, 100% cotton and both the pillow case and the pillow are machine washable. 

  • Pros
    • Perfect for traveling
    • Easy to clean
    • Unisex design
  • Cons
    • Cannot be machine dried
mokeydou pillow

MOKEYDOU

Best Head Shaping Infant Pillow

During infancy, your baby will spend a great deal of time lying on their back. And, while this is the safest position for them to sleep in, if the proper precautions are not taken it can cause the development of flat head syndrome.

MOKEYDOU’s Memory Foam Infant Pillow is the best pillow we’ve found that was made specifically to prevent flat head syndrome. The pillow is made of slow rebound memory foam and features a concave center design to ensure that your child is not laying flat on their head. This pillow is best suited for infants ages 0 to 24 months. 

  • Pros
    • Zipper free to prevent risk of injury
    • Arc curve supports the neck and protects the cervical spine on infants
    • Moisture wicking
  • Cons
    • Memory foam pillow insert is not washable
bliss'n baby pillow

Bliss n’ Baby

Best Organic Infant Pillow

The Bliss n’ Baby Head Shaping Pillow is another great pillow dedicated to preventing and correcting flat head syndrome as well as torticollis. The ergonomic design and the size and position of the indentation of this pillow gently cradle your infant’s head and distributes pressure evenly to prevent flat spots from forming. 

The Bliss n’ Baby Head Shaping Pillow is made of 100% organic cotton and is hypoallergenic, free of toxins, and free of fluorescent agents so you don’t have to worry about exposing your infant to harmful chemicals and irritants. The back of this pillow features a highly breathable Oeko-Tex Certified 3D Air Spacer Mesh surface to draw out heat, prevent moisture, and keep your baby’s head perspiration free.   

  • Pros
    • Hypoallergenic
    • Free of harmful chemicals
    • Machine washable 
    • Dryer safe
  • Cons
    • Only suitable up until 14 months
    • Comes in one design only
boppy pillow

Boppy

Most Versatile Infant Pillow

The Boppy Noggin Nest is brought to us by Boppy, the creator of the original and beloved Boppy Nursing Pillow. The Boppy Noggin Nest is the perfect way to keep your newborn safe and supported while in their stroller, bouncer, or swing.

The head supporting pillow works with either a 3- or 5-point harness system and the patented cut-out design helps to relieve pressure while keeping your baby’s head safely cradled. The Boppy Noggin Nest offers a generous amount of padding in a cute, gender-neutral print to provide your little one with stability and comfort while in the recline position.   

  • Pros
    • 100% machine washable
    • Highly versatile – works with rock n’ plays, car seats, strollers, bouncers, or swings. 
  • Cons
    • Only for use from 0 to 4 months
    • Thin back support

What is an Infant Pillow? 

Most pillows designed for infants and young babies are to prevent plagiocephaly, otherwise known as flat head syndrome. Babies spend so much time asleep on their backs, that the back or side of their heads can change shape and start to look flat. 

Pillows for babies come in a variety of shapes, styles, and specific purposes to help remedy the impacts of so many hours sleeping on their backs.

Types of Infant Pillows

There are many types of infant pillows and yet, they share similarities. First of all, infant pillows are all firm for safety reasons. Some are horseshoe shaped, some inclined, and some have a creative variety of other shapes. 

Here are the following types of infant pillows to consider:

  • Boppy Pillow: The Boppy Pillow has the horseshoe shape and is large. It is versatile and can be used for multiple functions between mother and child. It can be used for nursing, tummy time, and for support when a baby is learning to sit up. They come in various cover styles and colors and are affordable.
  • Zaky Infant Pillow:The Zaky Infant Pillow is a novel idea. Even though it may seem strange, the Zaky is literally a pair of large micro fleece/polyester hands that serve as surrogate hands that comfort a baby when the mother is not there. These pillows are said to be effective, safe and even used in hospital nurseries.
  • Positioning Pillow: This pillow is a sleep positioner, which means the pillow comes in various shapes that guides the sleep position of an infant. They have firm edges keeping a baby in one place.
  • Wedge Pillow: The wedge pillow can go under or over the crib mattress. The wedge shape helps elevate your baby while sleeping, which can assist in the case of acid reflux or congestion to promote better breathing.
  • Head-Shaping Pillow: The head-shaping pillow cradles and supports a baby’s head to reduce the likelihood of a deformity, such as ‘flat head,’ caused by pressure on one side of the head.

Do Newborns Need a Pillow?

While safety pillows are sold as safe-to-use from birth to around 12 months, the National Health Service recommends that infant pillows not be used until a baby is a year old. A safe crib for a baby under the age of one means no clutter, including pillows and other cushions. Most suffocation deaths caused by pillows and cushions happen to newborns under three months old. 

Related: How you can protect your baby from SIDS

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that children can start using pillows at 1 ½ years of age, which is at about the time a child graduates from a crib to a toddler bed. The safety of sleep positioners and wedge pillows are said to be safe by manufacturers but still remain highly controversial according to the National Institutes of Health.

How to Choose the Best Infant Pillow

You want to make sure that you purchase an infant pillow that offers the following features:

Supportive

It is important that your next infant pillow offers the appropriate level of support. Specifically, it should not allow your child to rest on a flat surface, in order to prevent flat head syndrome. Make sure the pillow is firm and has no soft spots that could lead to your baby’s head sinking and causing suffocation.

Safe for the skin

Your infant’s skin is super sensitive, so you do not want to expose them to any toxic or harmful chemicals. Choose hypoallergenic memory foam or organic cotton. What you choose must be breathable in order to promote safety and freedom from skin irritation. You get what you pay for, and your baby’s comfort and safety are worth the price.

Soft

Your baby will not be able to get a good night’s sleep if they are not resting on something that is soft. However, sleep positioners in particular must be firm. Wedges, for example, must hold their shape in order to do their job effectively. 

On the other hand, a boppy pillow is meant to be slightly softer and serve a variety of purposes as the infant matures. For a soft material, look for products made of organic cotton or hypoallergenic memory foam. The quality of the material is worth the price.

Easy to wash

Accidents happen–especially with babies. You don’t want your baby’s pillow to become a breeding ground for bacteria, so it is important that you can easily wash the pillow cover and pillow insert. That means you must shop for infant pillows that are machine washable, dryer friendly, and hold up to wear and tear.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Are baby head pillows safe? 

The short answer is that the safety of these pillows is highly controversial, and that pillows designed to prevent flat head syndrome are not yet proven to by research to be safe or effective. Instead, these devices can contribute to the likelihood of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), particularly in infants four months old or younger.

Do newborns need pillows? 

Babies are not like adults, in that babies do not need pillows. Pillows do not help them sleep more comfortably.

When can babies use head shaping pillows?

According to a manufacturer, this type of pillow is ideal to use for newborn babies and safe to use in the crib, car seat, and stroller. It is intended to correctly position their heads and cradle their necks in any of these locations to prevent flat head syndrome.

Can a baby’s head be elevated while sleeping?

A baby’s head can be through a wedge sleep positioner, but it is not recommended. According to the National Institutes of Health, no benefit of elevation has been demonstrated through research. Instead, elevating a baby’s head can actually lead to SIDS.

Summary

Here’s a quick recap of the best infant pillows we’ve reviewed:

Infant Pillow Material Best for  Rating
KeaBabies Natural Cotton Overall 4.7/5
MOKEYDOU Cotton Head Shaping 4.2/5
Bliss n’ Baby Organic Cotton Organic 4.6/5
Boppy Cotton Blend Versatile 4.6/5

When it comes to your baby, you want to give them the best of the best, especially when it is something as important as head and neck support.


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