Sleep positioning ideas for reflux baby - Mothering Forums
Co-sleeping and the Family Bed > Sleep positioning ideas for reflux baby
porcelina's Avatar porcelina 03:22 PM 11-05-2010
My baby cannot nurse laying down as most of the milk will come back up. If I don't hold him somewhat upright for a while after feeding, he'll also have bothersome reflux. While I have often been falling asleep as I wait, with him propped on my chest, I'm sure this is not the safest solution. I know there are wedges out there that you can place in the crib, but is there anything cozier? The position of the cradle infant swing seems nice (and maybe we should try that, but it's downstairs) -- is there anything you can do to simulate that position? I have placed him to sleep on a snoogle pillow wrapped in a circle and it worked well, but fear that is also not safe for night sleeping. What did you use for your baby?

Knitting Mama 03:34 PM 11-05-2010
Cecilia sleeps in my arms. When she was younger and having lots of reflux issues, I would bring her up so our heads were level and I would tuck my pillow under her upper body. It kept her at enough of an incline that she was able to keep her milkies down. Now she still sleeps on my pillow, but I think it's more because she likes it.
MaerynPearl's Avatar MaerynPearl 03:35 PM 11-05-2010
perhaps a nap nanny?

I never heard of them til yesterday so i know nothing about them though, except they are the position you are talking about.
PatioGardener's Avatar PatioGardener 04:12 PM 11-05-2010
Sorry you are going through this.

I fed my guy upright at night until he was about 5 months old. And then we sat up (well, he slept upright and I sat) for another 20-30 min. I was not safe sitting in a comfy chair in the middle of the night, so I spent much of that 30 min on MDC! At least that way I stayed awake.

It sucks.
sageowl's Avatar sageowl 12:47 PM 11-17-2010

When my baby was going through this, we used a Boppy pillow which worked beautifully. 

mamaladd's Avatar mamaladd 01:24 PM 11-17-2010

After I bounce my boy to sleep, we often go lay down together.  With him in the cradle position in my arms, i slide into bed on my side...him still on his side facing me.  His head is still on my arm, so he's a bit upright.  It's hard to explain, but basically if you just lay down on your side with him from the cradled arm position, it's the natural result.  We can both comfortably snuggle this way for hours.  Maybe it'll work for you two as well.

PatioGardener's Avatar PatioGardener 07:08 PM 11-17-2010

Originally Posted by MaerynPearl View Post

perhaps a nap nanny?

I never heard of them til yesterday so i know nothing about them though, except they are the position you are talking about.

FYI, there has been a huge recall of these for safety concerns :

momto4plus4's Avatar momto4plus4 07:42 AM 11-18-2010

I've had 4 reflux babies. We've done different things for each of them depending on their personality/need.


DD1 slept in a carseat for the first 2 or 3 months. We put it on the stroller, would rock her to sleep then just leave her in it (buckled).


DS1 slept in a bouncy seat (until he outgrew it) or the swing or in bed with me.


DD2 slept in the swing.


DS2 slept on me the first 2 months. The first month I was on a reclining couch and he slept on my chest. As he got a little older I would sometimes just cradle him in my arm with pillows propped under me to make sure I couldn't drop him. He basically sleeps in the swing now. I've gone through 2 motors already and have one on standby! Otherwise he's in bed with me.


Do what helps you both. Don't do what you feel uncomfortable with, unsafe, even if it worked for others. Also, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor. My last 3 have all been on meds. DD1 should have been but went undiagnosed. While I don't usually like meds for babies, my pediatrician brought up a good point that if the reflux is too bad, too long, it can damage the esophagus. And, it helped my kids.


Hang in there! Babies are hard work as it is but having one with reflux adds a whole new level.

carer58's Avatar carer58 05:19 AM 11-19-2010

Hello from the UK,

My now 17 year old son was born with severe learning difficulties and he also suffered and still suffers from severe reflux. When he was small we found the best position for him to sleep in was upright in a carseat, and he seemed quite happy with that. I also found that diet had a lot to do with how bad the reflux was, foods such as tomatoes and a lot of diary products would make it worse.

Eventually I purchased an adjustable bed, cost a lot of money but was money well spent. Its also controlled now by medication (zantac and omeprizole) which he takes both four times a day. Its hard work when they are small babies, but it does get a little better as they get older. I found the more upright he was as a baby the better the reflux was when he slept, but I do understand how hard it is, as you are constantly awake making sure they are ok. There are some very informative articles and help groups on the internet that look at the problem in detail.

Take Care All


BathrobeGoddess's Avatar BathrobeGoddess 09:29 AM 11-19-2010

Moved to FBNP...

Shanny2032's Avatar Shanny2032 10:06 AM 11-19-2010

The swing frame by Graco that the car seat drops into saved our lives for nap time but at night she slept on me.

Ravensong13's Avatar Ravensong13 10:09 AM 11-19-2010

I would sleep with dd on my chest while I was propped up in bed. We also had her sleep in her swing. Her Doctor told us to wedge a pillow under her crib mattress to give it a bit of an incline, but by the time she was sleeping in her crib she was done with the reflux.

APToddlerMama's Avatar APToddlerMama 10:25 AM 11-19-2010

My son also had reflux REALLY badly.  Two things...first, our ped told us that carseats and swing aren't safe for sleeping unless you're monitoring because if the head tilts towards, infant air ways can  close since they're still so floppy.  I've also seen other peds suggest doing it, but that scared me enough so we never did.  We did put several books under DS's crib and our bed to tilt both substantially (he slept both in the crib and with us). 


One thing I really wish I had done was to look at what foods I was eating that were contributing to his reflux.  It turns out he has all sorts of allergies and sensitivites and I wonder if we had figured it out earlier if the reflux would have been better.  Milk especially is a huge problem for him.  Good luck.

superlove's Avatar superlove 12:20 PM 11-19-2010

cutting out dairy helped for me, but best to do a food allergy test (IgG- most naturopathic doctors can do this for you-- )on yourself to see for sure what foods you may be sensitive to, which would affect baby.



We had our boy sleep in the swing for a while, the upright and movement helped.  We got a tucker wedge , but as you said, it was not cozy and baby didn't really like it, we only used it a few times and the only way he would sleep on it was on his tummy, which wasn't ideal.  I also got a nursing wedge but it was very awkward.  I have also seen the nap nanny for reflux and that looks cozier.


The swing was good for us cause the movement helped when he would wake from reflux.


good luck!

elluin's Avatar elluin 10:52 PM 11-19-2010

I slept on an adult reflux wedge pillow with my daughter until her reflux improved with chiropractic care and diet changes for me (no wheat).  With both of us lying on the wedge I was able to hold her so she didn't roll down.  Even then she needed to be fully upright after nursing, which is challenging when you just want to sleep!  My husband would sit up with her if I was drifting and we both used our phones to help keep us entertained (ie. awake).  At seven months she can finally sleep and nurse lying flat, but still needs a few minutes upright to burp after eating.

momto4plus4's Avatar momto4plus4 10:52 AM 11-20-2010

FYI on sleeping in a carseat or swing. We had the carseat attached to the stroller so it was reclined back and I only allow them to sleep in the swing in the fully reclined position. BUT, they didn't sleep in those the first few weeks, they were on me until they were a couple of months old. Only do what you feel safe with.  Oh, and swaddling REALLY helped my reflux babies. Also, my biggest reluxer loved the vibration settings. When he outgrew the vibrating bouncy seat, I would scoot the bouncy seat against the playpen so it would still vibrate!  Gripe water (we only use Baby's Bliss brand) worked wonders for 2 of mine. I also like the Colic Calm though I didn't find out about it until ds2 was a few months old so we didn't end up being able to use it much. I used those more for the colic then the reflux. Others may have mentioned already, and I know you're looking for sleep positions but, cutting things out of your diet if you're bf'ing can help. Typically dairy, soy, egg, nuts, wheat are big ones but all of mine have reacted to different things.  Hope you're doing well.

sillysmile's Avatar sillysmile 04:17 PM 11-20-2010

We had a reflux wedge made for DD when she was about 2 months old. Our local children's hospital made it for us, and it was fully covered by insurance. Prior to that she was sleeping in the carseat - she was miserable sleeping flat. The reflux wedge was essentially big foam wedge pillow with a foam rail on each side, positioned snugly on each side of her. The rails were fully breathable so it was very safe. She absolutely loved that wedge, and on the downside it was somewhat hard to wean her from it when she started becoming mobile. I would think that you could make one fairly easily if you can find the right type of foam. You can put the wedge into bed with you to sort of cosleep, but it does take up quite a bit of space. We also got a reflux wedge with a positioning sling online, and we could never get her into it because she felt like we were strapping her down. With our wedge from the hospital, we just swaddled her and then laid her between the rails. We widened the rails as she grew. Let me know if you are interested in this option and want any more details etc.