After a vaginal delivery, especially after a stressful one, you might have noticed many new babies end up born with misshaped heads. Some babies are born with elongated or unevenly shaped heads. To help with this issue we have a traditional science-backed remedy- mustard seeds pillow for babies.
Head Deformation During Vaginal Birth
While inside the womb, babies have a naturally flexible and moldable body. There is a scientific cause for this phenomenon. Babies are created in such a way that they should be able to pass through the birth canal during the process of delivery.
The birth canal is a narrow path when compared to the body of the baby. If the baby has to pass through this canal, all the babies’ bones should be moldable. The head is the largest part of the baby’s body.
Therefore, when the baby descends through the birth canal headfirst, the baby’s skull has to get squeezed and overlaps to fit the space. As a result, at times babies might be born with a slightly elongated or pointed head. And it is not a cause of worry, generally.
What Is A Mustard (Rai) Seeds Pillow For Babies?
A mustard seeds pillow, as the name indicates a pillow filled with mustard seeds. Made of soft and breathable fabric, this pillow allows air circulation while it is kept under the newborn’s head. It also provides an excellent cushioning effect.
Besides during the birthing process, initial growing months can also influence the shape of the head. This is because a baby’s skull takes around 18 months to attain its rigidity completely.
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It is always recommended to use the right headrest during this time to avoid a flat spot developing on a baby’s head as a result of lying down in the same position on a firm surface for too long. And, besides several other advantages, mustard seeds pillow or rai seeds pillow for babies are found to help to avoid these flat spots.
What Are The Benefits Of Mustard Seeds Pillow For Babies?
In India Mustard seeds pillow for babies are used since time immemorial. Mustard seeds pillow has multiple benefits when it comes to babies. Here are some top benefits of using a mustard seeds pillow for babies.
1. Rai seeds pillow helps the baby’ head to get an optimal shape
This is the foremost advantage of using the mustard pillow for newborns. Despite how badly the baby’s head is misshaped, continuous use of mustard seeds pillow from day one helps to round up the shape of the baby’s head.
The baby’s head remains tender during the initial weeks after birth and it will take some months for it to become permanently hard. It can be molded easily. Using a mustard pillow will eventually help to smooth out slight bumps and dents on the baby’s head it also helps to prevent flat-head syndrome.
2. Offers good support
A mustard seeds pillow helps to position the baby’s head properly. This will offer good support and healthy cushioning to the baby’s head. You can even adjust the curve of the pillow to shape your baby’s head so that baby can sleep comfortably.
3. Adapts to baby’s movement
Tiny seeds of mustards could adjust themselves according to the baby’s movement. That means, unlike normal pillows, Mustard pillows won’t lose their shape easily. If the baby moves right or left in his/her sleep, the pillow adapts to it automatically.
This property of mustard pillow offers continuous support to the baby’s head making sure the head shape stays uniform. It also makes sure the head of the baby does not get tilted too much. Besides, it also will not put much pressure on the baby’s head even if the baby continually sleeps on one side (which they usually tend to do).
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More often babies show a tendency to tilt or fix their heads in a certain position. The pressure of tilting can take a toll on their neck and head. Mustard seed pillow, prevent this issue by relieving the pressure as it can adapt to those positions.
4. Mustard seeds pillow reduces the risk of a flat head syndrome
The flat head syndrome is very common among babies. The main cause of the flat head syndrome is newborns always sleeping or lying in the same position. Many mothers worry about this possibility. Using mustard seed pillow will help to prevent or reduce the risk of the flat head syndrome.
Mustard seeds pillow won’t let the pressure concentrate on a particular point on the head. On the other hand, it will let the pressure even out around the head. Mustard pillow for babies also helps to increase the air and blood circulation of your baby’s head. This will incredibly reduce the chances of contracting flat head syndrome in babies.
5. Helps to naturally warm the baby
This is one of the most striking advantages of using a mustard seeds pillow for babies. Mustard seeds have warming properties. Therefore, a mustard seeds pillow helps to fight cold during winter as it helps to keep the baby’s head warm naturally. Also, the warming property of the mustard seeds pillow will help in providing needed relief to the babies suffering from cold and cough.
When To Start to Use A Mustard Seeds Pillow For A Baby?
As discussed above, even if a baby is not born with a misshaped head, the chance of misshaping is still there during the initial months. Hence, it is best to start using a mustard seeds pillow after any time you take your little one home.
On the other hand, if the baby is born with a misshaped head after vaginal birth, start using a mustard pillow right after you take the baby home.
Related Reading: When Can A Baby Sleep With A Pillow?
Potential Risks Of Using Mustard Seeds Pillow For Babies
By rule, babies less than one year are not supposed to use head pillows. Not even U -shaped pillows claim to reduce flat head syndrome. Using pillows is found to be one of the major causes of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
This is because if the pillow gets in the way of the nose and can block the airways, it could be fatal for the baby as they don’t have control over their neck so can’t turn the head on their own.
Wondering then why mustard seeds pillow is recommended to newborns? Well, a mustard seeds pillow is a safer option with respect to other baby pillows designed to treat flat head syndrome. This is because the mustard seeds pillow will not raise the baby’s head from the backbone level. So the baby can’t accidentally turn its head to press against the pillow
Even then you can’t overlook one potential risk associated with using the mustard pillow for babies. Even the smallest tear on this pillow can end up in mustard seeds spilling all over the baby’s head. This can result in a fatal accident.
How Do You Make A Pillow Out Of Mustard Seeds For Babies?
You can make a mustard seeds pillow without much effort. All you need is mustard seeds, cloth, and a stitching machine. You can even stitch with your hand if you are an expert in stitching.
- First, get some mustard seeds from a grocery shop. Depending on the size of the pillow, ½ to 1 kg is enough. Wash the required amount of seeds thoroughly until all the impurities are washed off
- The next step is drying the washed seeds in the sun. You can take two or three days. It is important to make sure the seeds are well dried and has no moisture at all. Keep in mind that even if little moisture is retained, it increases the chances of contamination
- Now it is time to wash the cloth. You will need around one meter of cloth to make the pillow. Make sure it is a soft fabric preferably soft cotton or muslin. Wash the cloth thoroughly and dry it in the sun
- Now fold the cloth and cut a square shape out of it
- Stitch a square pillow. Not because it is far easier to stitch than U shape, but other shaped pillows restrict the baby’s head movement
- After keeping the identical squares one over the other, stitch all three sides, and half of the fourth side. We highly recommend double stitch
- Now, through the opened area, fill in washed and dried mustard seed. If you want you can stitch more closely and use a funnel to fill in the seeds. The amount of mustard seeds should be adjusted so that the pillow won’t be too hard
- Now cross-stitch/backstitch it’s remaining part. After this, you have to double or triple stitch the pillow from all sides to make sure there is not even a minute gap through which the seeds may come out
- Now the pillow is ready. Now you also stitch some pillow covers that suit the pillow
Points to remember
- Don’t pour in too many mustard seeds as it makes the pillow too hard for the baby. There should be enough space that allows free mobility of mustard seeds inside the pillow. (After all, that is the whole point we are using this pillow for baby!)
- It is important to inspect every day the pillow to rule out the possibility of tearing. If mustard seeds accidentally come out it can pose a choking hazard for the baby
Many mothers and caretakers tend to massage the baby’s head to regain its round shape. However, is not at all safe. One may not always aware of the force exerted on the baby’s soft skull while doing this massage. Too much pressure during these massages can increase the risk of injuries.
Why take risky paths if there is a healthy safe path. Use a mustard seeds pillow. For your baby. Eventually, you will see the result. If you are too busy to make it at home, you can buy one, it is easily available in many online stores. However, even if you choose to buy a mustard pillow, make sure you get some additional covers as well. Changing cover more often is a must
Also, always examine the pillow to make sure there are no signs of wear and tear. If you find one, discard the pillow immediately. As you know, accidental spilling of the mustard seeds increases the risk of choking hazards.
No, you are not supposed to wash the mustard pillow. As you already know, mustard seeds are thoroughly sundried dried before filling them in the pillow. This is because, even if there is a little wetness, the mustard seeds might get rot. You can’t rule out the possibilities of fungus as well.
Babies are prone to allergies. Thus, it is important to make sure the mustard pillow for babies will not come in contact with water. Therefore, washing and reusing mustard pillows are out of the question.
Also, it is highly recommended to make a new mustard pillow every three to four weeks. Furthermore, it is always better to change the cover every other day.
Ragi is millet and mustards are seeds. Some mothers ragi seeds instead of mustard seeds as both are more or less the same size and shape. Additionally, ragi are relatively cheaper than mustard.
However, considering the easy availability of mustard seeds and their health benefits, we strongly recommend using mustard seeds to make the baby pillow.
It is said not to use pillows for newborns. It is true in the case of normal baby pillows. However, when it comes to mustard seeds pillow, and if you are using it for shaping benefits, you have to use it right after birth.
Also, you should let the baby use it until 7-8 months. Then only the baby’s head will attain its beautiful round shape before the skull hardens permanently.
Mustard seeds have a heat-generating property. That is why using mustard pillow for babies helps to keep their head warm especially during the winter and rainy season. Most babies enjoy this warmth. If you think in summer this heat generation makes the baby uncomfortable, you can reduce the time baby uses it.
However, if you are using this pillow for shaping the baby’s head, and if the baby seems fine with it, you can go ahead with using mustard pillow for babies in summer.