Using Mustard pillow is good for newborns ?
A very common concern that I come across from the mothers is “My baby’s head shape is flattened on one side, or from the back, or looks a bit elongated. What can I do?”
Newborns have skull bones that are naturally soft and flexible. The babies have two soft spots on his head called fontanelles; one at the back of the skull which closes by 6 weeks and one at the top of his head which usually closes by one and a half years. This helps them to easily squeeze through the birth canal during childbirth. Many babies born by vaginal delivery come out with slightly pointed or elongated heads. During the initial growing months, when the baby’s head still has soft spots, the skull can become flattened at the back or either sides of the baby’s head depending on the position that the baby chooses to be during the day for many hours against a firm surface. Baby’s hair too is worn off on the flattened side; and due to it the face, eyes or ears may appear slightly asymmetrical. By the time the baby is 6 months or so, when they can turn their heads easily and are able to sit for longer duration the pressure is relieved off of any particular side and slowly the head starts to take up the natural roundish shape.
Though this is a natural occurring process and mostly gets corrected on its own, using of old traditional method of mustard pillow can be of some help in reducing the flattening of the head.
Benefits of using a mustard pillow
- A mustard seeds pillow gives the baby much needed comfort because it is very soft.
- It has been observed that sleeping on mustard seed pillows smooths out the shape of the baby’s head.
- Since the mustard pillow can take up the shape of the head, slight bumps or dents can be fixed when your baby is using this pillow.
- Mustard seed pillows for newborns are adaptable and as your baby turns the head in sleep, the pillow adapts itself to the sleeping position of the baby’s head. In this way, even if your baby sleeps only on one side, the pillow will not put pressure on the head and that is why, even if your baby does not have any birth defects associated with the shape of head, let your baby sleep on a mustard seed pillow.
How to make a mustard pillow
- Wash and dry about 1/2 -1 kg smaller variety of mustard seeds in the sun.
- Ensure that the seeds are very well-dried as, even a little moisture could cause fungal growth inside the pillow.
- Take 1 meter of soft cotton or muslin fabric. Wash the fabric in hot water if it is brand new.
- Stitch a pillow case out of the fabric about 10 * 15 inches size, using hand or machine. Stitch on three sides and keep one side open for filling.
- Fill 3/4th of the case with dried mustard seeds leaving 1/4th part empty.
- Stitch the pillow on the fourth side to seal it.
- Make sure you double or triple-stich the pillow to ensure no seeds escape with regular use.
- Too much filling will make the pillow hard, while too little will not be comfortable at all for the baby and will defeat the purpose.
- Also, make or buy few cotton or muslin pillow covers, so that you can wash them
from time to time to keep them clean.
Buying a mustard pillow
For any reason, if you do not intend to make it at home, then you may find readymade mustard pillows in many retail baby stores or online. They may range from anywhere between ₹ 250 to₹350.
Word of Caution
Be watchful of the wear and tear of the pillow and discard it immediately if you find slightest of hole or tear on a stitch to avoid spilling of the mustard seeds and avoid choking hazards.