Pillows are dangerous for infants

I still shiver when I try to recall what happened early this morning.

I nearly lost my son.

Baby Ben had been crying again last night, a bit longer this time because of bloated, upset stomach that gives him griping pain. I was already beating myself up with guilt as to what I have eaten to have caused this agony (through my breastmilk). I wrote all I ate and after removing possible allergens like eggs and dairy from my diet, I really don’t know where to go from there. He’s been having reflux as well – spitting out milk even 15 minutes after feeding him while he’s on my lap, inclined and burped properly.

It was impossible to let him lie flat in bed.

I used  pillow so he could be inclined. The pillow is thin but normal size adults use, it’s not a baby pillow. Then I slept beside him. I was already very tired from soothing him for hours so I dozed off immediately. After a while, I felt some jerking movement on my side. When I woke up, I was horrified with what I saw.

Baby Ben was curled up, FACE DOWN and was gasping for air!

In a split second I turned him up. He was so overwhelmed in filling his little lungs with air that he didn’t cry. I did. Almost hysterically. Apparently, he was moving and ‘fell off’ from the pillow, rolled over to his stomach and landed face down in the bed.

(In a minute he was ok, thank God.)

But, what if it was too late? What if he rolled on the other side away from me? What if I didn’t wake up at the right time?

One other important question is: What if I didn’t co-sleep? So many parents are against co-sleeping but this is what saved my son today. I thank God I was there.


So many people discourage co-sleeping, that I’ll be rolling over my baby, suffocating him. It’s ridiculous and over the top because I am always conscious of the baby’s presence – even during sleep. And I strongly believe, unless one is chemically influenced, they will NOT roll over on their child in their sleep.

I wrote about why I co-sleep here. I say “I” not we because my husband sleeps in a separate bed (in the same room), it’s only the baby and me in the big bed.

Note: This post is no way advocating or promoting co-sleeping or bed sharing. Parents do what they think is right and what works for them.

Anyway, this is not about co-sleeping, this is about the danger of using a pillow with size inappropriate for baby. Even if my baby slept on a crib, if I used that big pillow, he could still have fallen off from it and rolled over. So if you are using a big pillow for your baby, please stop especially if he/she is sleeping away from you.


  1. Having done both, co-sleeping (with Matthew) and not-co-sleeping (with Mark), I think it’s less convenient for me for breastfeeding, but it’s BETTER for babies if they sleep on their own unaccessorized and uncluttered cribs with flat mattress. They sleep better. (Mark sure slept better than Matthew did, maybe it’s the schedule, but then maybe because Mark had his own space.) And there are just so many safety issues, and so risky for babies to sleep on adult beds with the adults with all the bed accessories, pillows, blankets,…

    If you intend to continue co-sleeping with Baby Ben with you on your adult bed, I suggest you get him a Close and Secure Sleeper to sleep on beside you. We used this for Matthew when he co-slept with us in between hubby and me. He used this until he couldn’t fit in it anymore. (I still have Matthew’s Close and Secure Sleeper in the storage. Sigh! If you are not too far, I’d give them to you.)

    Above all, I am just relieved nothing worse had happened to Baby Ben.



  2. Some babies can be allergic to milk or lactose intollerant! Its rare, but it does happen…so it may not be your diet at all.

    As for the reflux, it would be best to raise the head of the bed completely instead of propping him up. If you have large books, or bricks, place these under the feet of your headboard frame, or if you have no frame, under the box spring. You will raise the bed by an angle good enough to prevent acid burn/reflux from lying flat.



  3. Pillows are indeed not a good thing! Where I nanny, when the baby has a stuffed up nose we put the pillows UNDER one end of the mattress, so they can still get the incline, but not the hazardous pillow. Just an idea, if you ever need to incline him in a crib!



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