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Baby Sleep Position - Infant Sleep Positioner

Getting a baby to sleep in a crib can be a daunting task. Many babies sleep just fine in arms or the carseat or swing but the second you try to put them down in a crib they wake up. Sometimes it's a matter of finding the right position that feels comfortable for them while still ensuring they remain safe all night long.

Baby Sleep Position - Side Sleeping

Side positioning can be tricky because you need to ensure that your baby won't roll over onto his tummy during the night. Before the SIDS campaign parents would extend the baby's lower arm in front and roll up a towel to place behind baby or prop him against the side of the crib and place another rolled up towel or blanket in front of him to keep him from rolling back over. The danger is that the towel or blanket will come unrolled during the night and cover the face.

A safer way is to use something like a crib sling. You can place your baby in the sling on his back, either with the mattress propped up or flat, and then roll him onto his side and place a rolled up swaddle blanket behind him to keep him from rolling onto his back. The sling will ensure that he does not roll onto his tummy and there is no blanket in front of him to worry about.

One more side-positioner is the Zaky Hand. The Zaky simulates the weight of a human hand that can help provide the boundaries and propping you need to keep baby safely on his side. Another great thing about the Zaky is it can be gently warmed in the microwave and scented by the parent, making it a smooth and more seamless transition when transferring baby from you to the crib. The Zaky is particularly good for babies who will only sleep on your chest.

How to Position Baby on His Side      

Baby Sleep Positioner - Infant Sleep Positioner

Baby Sleep Pillow

A bolster-style infant sleep positioner or baby pillow used to be basically two pieces of foam attached together by a piece of fabric. The baby was laid on the fabric in between the foam bolsters so that he could not roll over. A bolster-style baby sleep positioner may be helpful in keeping your baby on his side but be sure your baby is able to pull up his legs if he has gas. Many bolster-style baby and infant sleep positioners pin the baby in such a way that they do not have enough mobility to move around and resolve gas on their own.


Baby Sleep Position - Tummy and Left Side for Infants with Reflux

Research has shown that babies reflux less when on their left sides and tummies because the stomach acid is furthest from the esophagus. Talk to your doctor about swaddling and putting your baby on his left side or getting an angelcare monitor so you can allow baby to sleep on his tummy. This type of monitor tracks your baby's movements and alarms if they stop, indicating that your baby has stopped breathing. Some physicians will make an exception to the Back to Sleep advice for infants with severe reflux

Crib Sling      

Baby Sleep Position - Crib Wedges, Propping the Crib and Baby Hammocks

You may also consider a crib wedge. These are inexpensive (about $15), very slight angles and can be purchased at most chain baby stores. These *may* work for less active babies but most babies simply slide or kick down and end up sleeping at the flat foot of the crib anyway. You can also try propping the head of the crib up on bricks. The motion of a baby hammock can be great at soothing your fussy or colicky baby but beware the position it puts a baby with reflux in. In a hammock the baby is curled into a "U" position with the head and feet higher than the bottom. This creates a nice womb-like environment but it is not an upright, straight spine position and puts some pressure on the tummy. For most babies this is not an issue but if you have a baby that is sensitive to positioning then this is not for you! If your baby is not sensitive to positioning then this can be a fabulous sleep solution.

Acid Reflux Baby Sleep Positioners - Acid Reflux Pillows for Infants and Baby Sleeping Wedges

It is easy to find an adult sleeping wedge or acid reflux pillow online that you can place under the crib or sheet to bring the mattress into an upright position but most babies will simply roll down to the foot of the crib.There are several baby sleep wedges with harnesses on the market.

We believe the Tucker Sling (crib mattress sling) and Tucker Sling with Wedge to be the best made and safest options. The Tucker Sling allows you to control the incline of your crib mattress and the Tucker Sling with Wedge can be used in any room, including a family bed arrangement.The velcro is very strong and they have a secondary buckle to make sure it cannot come undone. Some babies with reflux need to sleep on their stomachs and should only do so on a secure baby and infant sleep wedge like this. The harness allows for babies to sleep on their stomachs, sides or backs on both the Tucker Sling with Wedge and the Tucker Sling. These are also great for babies with apnea or congestion.

Tucker Wedge      

Baby Sleep Position for the Family Bed

Until your baby’s reflux is managed, he will likely not sleep or nap well. It’s important for you to expect this. Parents can benefit from co-sleeping so that the baby can comfort nurse as frequently and for as long as necessary during the night while allowing you to rest. Many babies with reflux need to nurse in an upright position so nurse in bed with caution. If you do co-sleep, you should always follow safe sleeping advice. A baby sleeping wedge can come in bed with you and alleviate any concern about rolling onto the baby. This will also keep a baby with reflux on a good angle which may mean longer sleep cycles.

Baby Sleep Position for Co-Sleepers

Some parents prefer to use a co-sleeper, or sidecar bed that attaches to the side of their bed. These can be elevated in the same manner that a crib or pack-n-play can, by placing phone books or foam crib wedges under the mattress. Wedge-style baby and infant sleep positioners can go on top of the mattress in a co-sleeper as well as a regular crib.

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More information:

How to Establish a Baby Bedtime Routine
Sleep Aids to Improve Baby Sleep
Learn More About Baby Sleep Apnea
Reflux Wedges for Infants
Insurance Reimbursement for Reflux Wedges