Why use Mustard Seeds Pillow for Newborn?


Benefits of using Mustard Seeds Pillows/Rai ka Takiya for Newborn Babies

Learn why Mustard seeds pillow has a significant role in daily baby care regime. Mustard seed baby pillows (Sarson/Rai ka Takiya, in Hindi) should be used as they help in preventing as well as treating flat head in babies. What is a flat head? It’s not a disease but it can misshape your baby’s head. When you see some flatness on your baby’s head. When your baby’s head doesn’t seem perfectly round, then your baby is suffering from the flat head syndrome.

When can a Baby get Flat Head?

Right from birth or by the age of 4 months, he could even get it when he gets 6 months old. Hence, don’t you think it would be a good idea to keep track of your baby’s head shape until he turns 1 year-old?

Why and How to Treat Flat Head in Babies?

If the flat head syndrome is left untreated, your baby might have:
Poor long-sighted vision, weak upper body strength, and deformed face’s jaw
In addition to this:
He may also get ear infections.
He may not be able to wear head safety gears like helmets made for symmetric heads.

How to Know if Your Baby has a Flat Head?

Flat Head Syndrome is of various types. Your baby girl/boy head could look flat surfaced from various angles:
• The skull bones of babies are soft and moldable like play-dough. Since the bones are soft, they can be given any shape to some extent.
• When a baby sleeps on his back without moving his head much, his head’s bone gets pressed against the bedding for a long time.
• As a result, either of the back sides of his can look obliquely/ slantingly flat f. This is known as Plagiocephaly flat head syndrome.

• Does this mean you should not make him sleep on his back? NOTHING like that. Just try to make him sleep in different positions and at different places.
• If instead of making him sleep on his back, you would make him sleep on his sides, then either one or both the sides of his head may get flat. Evidently, he may develop Brachycephaly and his head might look shorter and wider than normal.

• In Scaphocephaly, along with round-edged rectangle shaped head, the back of your baby’s head can start appearing flat from the center.
• Whereas in Trigonocephaly the front part of your baby’s head may seem pointy like a triangle instead of looking round.

How to Keep a Check on Baby’s Head Shape?

First, see the back and the sides of his head by-
Making your baby sit on your laps or a seat then look at the top portion of your baby’s head top from above. See if his head is round in shape or not, in an overall manner.
Then for seeing the front part of his head-
Lay your baby on bed then look at his frontal head from his chin’s side. That should be round in shape too.

What causes Flat Head in Babies?

Besides constant sleeping position, the flat head syndrome can get developed in babies when their head movements are constrained.
Now it can get constrained either external or internal factor.

External Factors

When without changing his head position much your baby sits, sleeps or rests on things like baby gyms, baby carriers, baby chairs, baby swings, and baby seats, etc. He may develop Positional Flat Head Syndrome then.
During delivery, when the baby is taken out by his head with the forceps. Then also his head’s bones can get pressed quite hard.
Premature babies the one who get born before the completion of 37 weeks since they have to be nursed properly after birth; they are made to lay flat on their back. This way they may develop plagiocephaly flat head syndrome too.

Internal Factors

Your baby can get born with any of the flat head types mentioned earlier. If so then he would suffer from Congenital Flat Head Syndrome. This may happen when inside the womb, the growing baby’s head movement gets restricted due to womb’s wall.
Other than this many babies are born with Torticollis too.

What’s Torticollis?

In Torticollis due to stiffness in the neck, a baby cannot make many head movements. Such babies easily get prone to flat head syndrome.
Soon after birth when your baby’s head appear tilted towards a side, plus his neck would seem twisted and bent towards that particular side. This is how a Torticollis afflicted baby looks like.
If left untreated and unattended the flat spots on your baby’s head can turn into head dents too.

When to See a Doctor

Do visit a licensed baby Physical Therapist (PT) or Occupational Therapist (OT) when you find your baby’s head shape to be unevenly rounded or abnormally shaped.
Watch and learn from her some flat head baby massaging ways as for baby’s good it’s best for mothers to massage her baby

Effective Way to Avoid/Treat Flat Head: Mustard Seed Pillows

Mustard Seeds Pillows are the head pillows having a filling of mustard seeds inside. Usually, we have seen pillows stuffed with cotton, polyester, feather and small Styrofoam balls, so why use mustard seeds pillows?

What are The Benefits of Using Mustard Seeds Pillow?

Here we are specifically talking about mustard seeds pillows because:
• Cotton, Polyester, and feather filled pillows can be stiff for babies as the fillings are not that mobile. The support created by the mustard seeds pillow is perfect for the newborn baby’s head. When your baby rests head on the rai-pillow/rai-takiya the weight will spread the rai such that the head gets perfect round shape and support without pressure from the pillow. Also the rai moves smoothly inside the pocket hence enough free movement for the head.
• Whereas micro Styrofoam beads filled pillows, they cannot keep your baby’s head warm.
• Since babies are used to the warmness of their mother’s womb, mustard seeds can help in providing that warmth to your baby’s head.

How to DIY Mustard Seeds Pillow for babies?

Here is one simple and easy way to make homemade Mustard Seed Baby Pillow.
1. First wash and dry the Pillow’s filling, following these steps:

• How to wash?
Wash 1/1.5 Kg of mustard seeds in plain water. Strain out the water and then dry the seeds.

• How to dry?
Better sun-dry the seeds on a large plate as that way the seeds would get dried faster.

The time you will dry it, cover the plate’s mouth with a thin translucent/see-through fabric like chiffon, georgette and polyester, etc. This is for keeping seeds dust–free

• How long to dry?
Let the seeds dry properly for 2-3 hours as any presence of moisture can rot the pillow filling.

2. Meanwhile, the seeds are drying, prepare the pillow’s cover like this:

• What should be the pillow’s fabric, size, and shape?

For making the pillow cover use fabrics like cotton or muslin.

As per your baby’s head size, make such a pillow on which your baby could comfortably lay his head when he turns it sideways.

Cut your chosen fabric into 2 equal square shaped cloth pieces. Yes, we won’t make a Horseshoe-shaped or U-shaped baby pillow.
Because in comparison to U-cut pillows, square shapes pillows would be easy for you to make. Also, rumors has it, such U-shaped pillows can restrict your baby’s head movements.

• Which type of stitching pattern should be followed?

Before stitching the cloth pieces wash and dry them for making the fabric soft and clean. This is essential especially when you would use cotton.

Since a square has 4 sides, out of 4 just cross-stitch or backstitch 3 sides of the pillow. Leave one side unstitched for stuffing in the mustard seeds.

Why only cross-stitch or back-stitch the pillow?
There are various types of stitching patterns, out of which cross stitching and backstitching stitches are known to be one of the strongest stitching types.

3. When the mustard seeds get dried, follow these steps:

• How to fill mustard seeds inside the pillow?
With a funnel pour in the mustard seeds inside the partially stitched pillowcase and then cross-stitch/backstitch its fourth side.

• How much mustard seeds to pour?
Don’t pour in too much of mustard seeds as that would make harden the pillow. Fill the pillow with mustard seeds moderately, to allow free mobility of mustard seeds inside the pillow. That’s it, your baby’s mustard seed pillow is now ready to use.

How to Use Mustard Seeds Baby Pillows?

Reality check, babies less than or equal to 12 months don’t really need head pillows. With head pillows there’s an increased risk of SIDS-Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, (also known as ‘Cot Death’). It is feared that the baby’s nose can get underneath the pillow; thereby baby’s breathing can get blocked due to this.
So why are we making Mustard Seeds Pillows then?
Mustard seed head Pillows are a safer option as compared to baby helmets and baby headbands, used for the in-home treatment of flat head in babies.
The rai gets speeded perfectly which will not raise the head from backbone level and keep it in safe posture. It will provide the support only at required area.
You should use mustard seeds pillow during daytime or whenever you stay awake and your baby sleeps snuggly on one corner. At daytime babies usually, take a nap after getting breastfed.
Use the mustard seed pillow that moment, so that you could keep a check on your baby’s head position while he sleeps. Hence for night’s long hour sleep, when along with your baby you would be asleep too, better let your baby sleep without a head pillow.
When not using the mustard pillows for keeping your baby head’s warm, if it’s summer you can use a cotton baby cap. And if it’s winter, you can use a woollen baby cap.
Can’t I hide the pillow underneath the bed sheet?
The tucked bed sheet may come out due to baby’s unpredictable wriggling. This way your baby’s nostrils can either get covered by the bed sheet or with the unearthed pillow then.
Use a newly made mustard seeds pillows after every three weeks. Don’t wash and re-use them. Mustard seeds are non-perishable, only when handled with care. If you would wash the mustard pillow, on coming in contact with water the mustard seeds might get rot. Mustard seeds pillow for newborns can even be bought online. To save your time, we have already found some 5 readymade Mustard seeds pillows for your baby, like this one:


How to Avoid/Treat Flat Head of Baby?: Other Tips

Doesn’t matter if your baby has Positional Flat Head Syndrome or Congenital Flat Head Syndrome, they both are treatable, see how:

Sleeping Time

Avoid hanging baby mobiles, right on top of your baby’s head.
During nighttime, at a safe distance keep a night lamp on your baby’s side. Keep on changing the lamp’s position every night.

Feeding Time

Laying your baby comfortable on a breastfeeding pillow, breastfeeding your baby from both the sides.
Switch the sides on every day and nighttime breastfeeding sessions.

Floor Play Time

When your baby would play on a baby gym your baby would be able to make more head movements.

Tummy Time

Using a baby mat, tummy time of babies should be done on
the floor. When doing so play with him, crawl around him, sing or talk to him by laying on his side. Like this do everything that would make him turn his head sideways.
Hold your baby on shoulders: You could simply hold your baby let him first rest his head on right side of your shoulder, then left and vice versa.
If you any other queries regarding mustard seeds made baby pillows, let us know below, our comment box is right at your service.


About Author


An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.

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  1. Pingback: Do Babies Need Pillows? | GoMama 24/7

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