Parenting

Mustard seed (Rai) pillow for newborns

Swati C Sharma
0 to 1 years

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Mustard seed Rai pillow for newborns

Every mother receives millions of advices (sometimes unsolicited) from all known and sundry. Infact, most new mothers have to battle reasoning with tradition, logic with superstition and so on. However, ancient Indian science does have some gems in it's kitty when it comes to baby-care and baby-health. One of the numerous practices as a part of baby care is the use of mustard seed pillows or rai-ke-takiye for newborn babies. Many of us have used them and some of us may even swear by them, but how many of really know the benefits and the reasons of using them? Well, I have tried to list them out and here goes what I have found. Let us start with the basics.

What Exactly Is A Mustard Seed Pillow Or Rai Ka Takiya?

A pillow designed for babies that contains mustard seeds as filling is our very own traditional mustard seed pillow. It is specially made for newborn babies, with a soft and breathable cloth and is placed beneath the newborn's head for support. Since newborns lie straight for their few weeks, they come in very handy to provide support and shape up the head.

Why Is A Mustard Seed Pillow Used For Babies?

A baby's bones are quite soft and can be molded easily. This is so because for birth, a baby has to pass through the birth canal. As a baby squeezes her way through the narrow birth canal, it is not abnormal to see babies born with an elongated or an odd shaped head. A baby's head still remains soft even after the birth, till about the age of 18 months, when both the baby's fontanels have closed.

Can I Buy A Rai-Pillow Online?

Yes, there are some online retailers that do sell mustard seed pillows for newborns. However, you can also visit the local baby shops to get the mustard seed pillow in the desired shape and thickness. If you make it yourself, you get the added benefit of using the cloth of your choice.

A mustard seed pillow is hence used to provide support to the baby's head and give it the very desired round shape. Because newborn babies do not move, the chances of developing a flat head are quite high. Babies sleep in the same position, and as a rule are always made to sleep on the back to avoid SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). To avoid developing flat spots on the baby's head, mothers use pillows.

When Should A Mustard Seed Pillow Be Used For Babies?

Most babies start to roll and turn by the time they are 4 months old. Some even start to sit with support. This implies that by 4 months or so the pressure on the baby's head considerably decreases. However, till the time the baby your baby cannot sit or hold her head up, using a pillow to direct the shaping of the skull is a wise idea.

Can I Use Massage To Round Up My Baby's Head?

As described above, a baby's skull and bones are very, very soft. Though it is a popular belief that putting pressure on a baby's head will help to make it round, yet how much pressure needs to be applied requires attention. Too much pressure can harm the baby, or the fontanels, so utmost care should be taken when massaging the baby's head.

Mustard seed pillow

What Are The Benefits Of Using Rai-Filled Pillows For Babies?

We know that a baby's skull is very soft, but it does not stay the same forever! Till the time your baby's bones do not fuse together, or till the age of about 2 years, it is wise to use a mustard seed pillow to help shape up the baby's head. Let us see what benefits mustard seed pillows have to offer, and that might give us some insight on why they are used for babies since times immemorial.

  1. Provide support: We all love some support or cushioning beneath our heads, don't we? The same way mustard seed pillows provide the much needed support and cushioning to the baby. Being tender, they are ideal for the baby
  2. Helps round-up head shape: As the baby transverses from the birth canal, his skull may look misshaped or cone shaped after birth. Mustard seed pillows have an added advantage of helping round-up the shape by fixing uneven surfaces and bumps
  3. Relieves pressure from the baby's head: Have you seen mustard seeds? These tiny winy seeds when stuffed in a pillow actually adjust themselves according to how the baby moves. So if the baby moves left, the seeds adjust themselves providing support. This helps relieve pressure off the baby's head
  4. Diminishes chances of a flat head: Most of us worry ourselves sick thinking what if my baby develops a flat head. Relax. Mustard seed pillows come in very handy in reducing the chances of flat head for babies by providing just the right support to even out the head shape
  5. Keeps the baby warm: People who live in colder regions believe that mustard seeds have warming properties too. So a mustard seed pillow helps to keep a baby warm and ward-off colds and flus

When Can I Start Using A Mustard Seed Pillow For My Baby?

As discussed above, the baby's head has the maximum chances of misshaping in the first 4 to 5 months or till the time she does not start to sit up on her own or learns to hold her head up Hence, it is best to start using rai ka takiya from the time you get your precious home from the hospital. Basically, the sooner you start, the better, because as your baby will grow her bones will fuse and the shape will get permanent.

How Can I Make A Mustard Seed Pillow At Home?

It is easy, enjoyable and does not even take much time! Here is how to make one for your little bundle of joy:

  • Buy around ½ a kg or 500 grams of mustard seeds. These are available at almost all grocery shops and even online
  • Wash the seeds thoroughly and put them out in the sun to dry for a day or two. There should be no moisture in the seeds so that there are no chances of contamination
  • Now comes the fabric. Choose a soft fabric in the color of your choice, preferably muslin or soft cotton. You will need about 1 meter of fabric. Wash it thoroughly if new
  • Now stitch the cloth in a pillow shape from three sides. You can use a machine to stitch. The average size of the pillow should be around 10X15 inches in size
  • Now fill in the mustard seeds from the open fourth side. Keep checking how much stuffing has been made by pressing the pillow. It should be soft, so do not keep stuffing the seeds and make it hard
  • Stitch the pillow from the fourth side too, closing the same
  • Now double or triple stitch the pillow from all sides. This is very important as mustard seeds do present a choking hazard if they escape the cloth encasing
  • Now also make a few covers for the pillow, so that they can be changed from time to time. Washing the mustard seeds pillow is not an option
  • Voila! Your very own mustard seed pillow is ready for your baby!

Wasn't it easy to make this one? As mothers we all want nothing but the best for our kids. And getting a round head is mostly on our lists. This homemade mustard seed pillow should rest your worries about your baby developing a flat head.

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Shruti Jain

| Sep 14, 2017

xgdý ñ

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Sudeshna Paul

| Aug 30, 2017

I used it after my first baby girl born. her head ws round nly,not understanding why her back of head got flat after using it

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Kavita Kumar

| Aug 24, 2017

thanks for sharing this blog....

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Papu Baby

| Aug 24, 2017

My baby completed One Year !!!!! if I start using now can it be beneficial ? now it looks bit flat.... so I want round shape head for my baby

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Newin Johny Puvathingal

| Aug 23, 2017

useful info...... I should have got it little earlier

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Anchal Thukral

| Aug 23, 2017

what can be used after six months to keep under baby's head..

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Er Arati Lokhande Baviskar

| Aug 23, 2017

plnppPv tvff qqq

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