My mother-in-law insists on putting a pillow under my 7 month old's head when he sleeps?

She was telling me about how this helped him fall asleep in her arms, when she had a pillow under his head. (She watches him during the day while we are at work.) I guess I didn't realize that he actually SLEPT with the pillow under his head while he was napping. I talked to my husband about it, because the issue with pillows and SIDS concerns me. He told me, "Well when I was a baby, you weren't even supposed to have babies sleep on their backs. He will be fine." However, I have read that even though a baby can move around fully, he can still suffocate. The recommended age for introducing a pillow is 18-24 months. I've told this to both my husband and my mother-in-law. No one will listen. I can't quit my job to stay home with him to ensure he is getting the care I want him to get, so what is some advice?


Everyone who says, "very simple...just tell her not to so it" has never dealt with a MIL apparently.

Update 2:

Not everyone HAS the choice to stay at home. If we want a place to live and food without having to sponge off the government we need a double income. IT is VERY rare in this economy to be able to have a single income. I just want advice on the question I ASKED. NOT TO CRITIQUE MY CHOICES.

13 Answers

  • Faith
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favourite answer

    This is a tough situation. Your husband should understand your worries and be the one to step up to him mom and talk to her about this.

    I guess you just need to talk to her and let her know your concerns. If you like print out some safety info to show her too. Hopefully she will listen to you. If not depending on how you feel you may need to find someone else to keep her.

    I had a kind of problem with my mother in law. I had my first child when I was 19. That was in 1996. At the time I thought if a child was coughing you pat the child on the back. My mother in law would hold up one of my daughters arms and shake it. One of my biggest worries was my daughter would choke and my mother in law would sit there shaking her arm while my daughter choked to death.

    I use to write out instructions for her while she babysat when my husband & I went to the movies or something. I would include "If she coughs pat her back gently." I wonder now if she laughed at me but I was really worried about this & even use to stay up late worried.

    So maybe writing out instructions would help you too.

    I do agree with you too about the pillow. That isn't safe. You also need to remember your mother in law is coming from another time and generation. Babies slept covered up with a lot of warm blankets and pillows. Baby beds filled with large stuffed animals that could fall on them wre in the cribs too.

    But she needs to be aware of the new research.

    One idea may be is if your son has a doctors appointment coming up invite your mother in law along for the visit. Then casually mention the pillow. You can play dumb too and say "He likes to sleep with a pillow but I read it isn't safe until ages 18mts. Should I take the pillow away?" Then let him tell you & your mother in law how dangerous it is. Maybe that will get her to listen.

    As a mom of 3 I can tell you that you will come across things like this over the years. So as hard as it is learn to confront her. But I still wish your husband would do it since it is his mom and she may listen to him better.

    Edit after your additional details -

    I grew up in a verbally abusive & emotionally abusive home. My mom is still verbally & emotionally abusive. As a mom I have had to learn to step up and confront her. It is very hard and I still fear her verbal assaults but for the sake of my family I have to step up. She is my mom and I will NOT let her hurt my kids or husband in anyway. A few times I've had to call her up and confront her. Other times it is face to face. Before those talks I am often in an almost panic attack. It is still hard for me to do. But again I will not let her put my kids in harms way & I won't let her hurt my family with her assaults.

    So while it isn't simple it is something you will have to do. Or find a new babysitter. Or make it work so you can stay home. I know some people who have lost a huge chunk of their in come and even moved to a smaller home to make it work. but they do make it work. Some even taken in others children to help make money.

    Source(s): homeschooling mom of 3 - this YA for you. Spend over 20mins trying to help someone in a tough situation and someone gets thumbs down happy.
  • 9 years ago

    Insist that your MIL stop putting a pillow into the crib because it is a suffocation hazard. Remind her that while most babies have had no problems, it happens often enough that this is the current recommendation. Her chances of knowing a child who suffered an injury is small, but ERs see all of them.

    Personally, I do think the 18-24 month recommendation is excessive, so up to you to wait that long.

    Finally, I want to add, and you can point this out to your MIL, that when they switched to the Back To Sleep, they did not reduce the numbers of babies dying from SIDS. What those numbers actually represent is a reduction of the number of children suffocating on unnecessary crap in the crib. That is roughly 3,000 kids annually who did not suffocate on some blanket or pillow.

    The reality is that what she did for her own kid is irrelevant. This is not her kid. She is not the mother. YOU ARE. I don't happen to agree that putting a child on their back to sleep reduces suffocation or SIDS, but you had better believe that I do that for a child that is not mine! Not my call to do otherwise.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Listen - you are the mom and your word is law. You can tell, not ask, but tell your MIL "absolutely no pillows" and if she ignores you, I swear to you I would throw away every pillow in the house. Just to make a point. You need to be respected as the mother. Grandmas can get away with a lot but I disagree with taking power away from you in this way by ignoring your wishes.

    It's not that I think there is a high risk of SIDS... but yes the risk is increased somewhat at this age. I understand you may need to pick your battles. But if this is one, take a stand. Seriously, hide/lock up/throw away the pillows. You might have to sleep without one for a few days but she will get the message.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Sorry to hear that she won't listen to you when you tell her not to do something with your son. She should respect your decisions and abide by what you want. Is there someone else you can have watch him a few days a week to lower the time he's there. If not, then you might just have to deal with it. Since he is 7 months, SIDS is not AS common, not saying that it can't happen. If she is doing this maybe get a travel pillow that isn't as fluffy and tell her to use that. Or talk to the doctor to see what alternatives are available for her to use?

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 9 years ago

    Ah I would be pissed if my mother-in-law did something with my 9 m old baby without talking to me first. I know that she has experience and that she had been through this before, but seriously how annoying is it when somebody is acting as if he/she knows what's best for your baby?!

    You are a mother and you know what is best for your son! Even if your baby is ok with the pillow under his head, I think that you MIL should listen to you and do as you say, so you can have a peace of mind while you are at work.

    However, my son slept flat on his back up until last month, and at around 8m he got nasal congestion, so I started putting pillow under his head (and shoulders) to keep him elevated and make it easier on him to breath. He seems to really like it. He is moving around, but his head remains on the pillow. Not once he turned around and slept on his tummy. He likes sleeping on his back or on the side.

    You know, if he is just napping with the pillow, it should be ok, as long as your MIL is nearby and has an eye on him.

    During the night have him lay flat without anything in the crib. Night is longer, but naps last for just so long...

    Overall, I think it should be ok for naps, if she is nearby and can see him :)

    take care!

    Source(s): mom to an 9 m old boy
  • 9 years ago

    You could try printing out the sids guidelines and asking them both to read it. However if they both continue to ignore your concerns you only have 1 choice and that is to find a new baby-sitter. Hopefully once they read the guidelines then they will follow your wishes.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Show her reports that show introducing a pillow too early can cause SIDS. Ask her how she'd feel if she was the reason your child suddenly died. Someone who won't listen to you in this type of situation just needs to be fed with a major guilt trip until they realize what they're doing is wrong. Kind of angers me that the woman won't listen to you about something that could lead to your child suddenly dying. Good luck working it out with her. I hate mother-in-laws.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    my son will be 3 months on Saturday and he would NEVER go to sleep unless it was soft under his head, i was afraid of it also but i just took blankets and substituted for a pillow it wasn't soft like a pillow?... but i was just the texture of it that he liked. i would flip when my boyfriend laid him on his belly (because of the sids) but honestly, he has been fine!

  • 9 years ago

    Maybe talk to your mother-in-law and tell her that's something that really worries you and if she can't respect how you want to raise your baby and still wants to say she knows better try finding a new baby sitter

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Anyone can stay home if they Want to, they make it work. Since you've chosen work, she will be his caretaker just like she cared for your husband. You either trust her or you don't. If you don't, then how awful for you to not step aside from work until you at least find someone you can trust. No one wants to keep thief grandchild every day and be walking on egg shells. She is his grand MOTHER she will mother him fine. Stop complaining!

    Source(s): Full time mom who has a wonderful mother ib law who also wouldn't do the things I like them. But it won't matter, baby stays with me!
Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.