Reflux / Sleeping

Updated on May 19, 2010
M.C. asks from Natick, MA
20 answers

Hi moms!
I have a seven-week-old son with reflux. This has made sleeping for both of us pretty difficult. He is on Zantac, and I've tried raising his mattress to about 30 degrees as our pediatrician suggested. Still, much of the time he's unable to sleep on his back because he gurgles and spits almost constantly - so much so that it even comes through his nose! =( Then he has trouble breathing, too. I've heard that there are "wedges" or "inclines" people can buy to help babies with reflux. Can anyone recommend a good one that they've used and has helped? I've heard mixed reviews on the effectiveness of these wedges. Also, I'm concerned about safety. My son needs to be swaddled to sleep, so I'm not sure how I could fasten him into such a wedge so that I can be assured he'll stay put and I can get some zzzzzs too.

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answers from Boston on

both my kids had reflux, and I co-slept with them both when they were really little (months 3-6). my daughter was on Zantac at first, but it didn't do anything for her, we had her on Imiprazole (sp?), got it compounded and flavored, helped them both a great deal. She outgrew it around 9 months, my son was able to get off the meds around 7 mos. My daughter also slept in her swing for many a night around month 4-5. got them both in the crib around 6 mos. do what works for righit now, you can always fix it later.
good luck!



answers from Boston on

My son also had reflux & trouble sleeping, the wedge did not help him either. For the first few months, my son slept best sitting up in the swing or car seat, then when he was older, elevating the mattress helped. Reflux is frustrating. Good luck & hope you both get some sleep soon

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answers from New London on

I have a 4 month old who currently has reflux. She is also on Zantac for it. Since she started the Zantac, she sleeps swaddled in her swing. Prior to that she coslept with us and barely slept at all. Have you tried the swing or car seat where he is mostly upright. I don't fasten her in her swing, I just put the bar down so she won't fall out. Also, if he is still spitting up that much, maybe a different type of reflux medicine would work better? Have you brought him to a GI? I am planning on speaking to my doc about bringing my DD to a GI. They can test to make sure it is reflux and know better which medicine will work. I had a friend whose son was also on Zantac and her GI dr switched him to something else and she said it made a whole world of difference for her son. You didn't say whether he's formula or breast fed, but if he's breastfed, food in your diet could be affecting him or if he's on formula, it could be the type of formula. Those are just some ideas. Hope it helps...I didn't read the other responses so others may have said a lot of the same things. Good luck!



answers from Boston on

Both my boys had reflux and were on Zantac. That helped, but I found having them sleep in their car seat really made a difference. Unfortunately, my second liked sleeping on my chest, but that made for very little sleep for me. But, if you're desperate for a little sleep, you may want to try it (don't know how sleep deprived you are!). I tried the wedges, they were ok, but both my boys seemed to slide down. If you put them close to the foot of the crib so baby's feet are against the end, he won't slide as much...

Good luck. This to shall pass :)



answers from Boston on

I have 2 kids both of whom has severe reflux when they were babies so I feel your pain!! The wedges are good but I think would work better for older babies. Here is what worked for us:

First baby slept in a bouncy seat. It worked well as it kept him upright but also "cocooned" in, which newborns really need (crib is big and wide open feel for them and will cause them to wake up). He slept in that until he was about 4 months old and we were able to transition him to his crib.

Second baby was also in the bouncy seat but we also used a swing for her (the one that moves side-to-side). Her reflux was more severe than my son's and the motion really seemed to help her. I see that FP now has a "papazan" version of their swing....I would have given my right arm for that when we were dealing with our daughter's reflux problems!!!

Here reflux continued much longer so after she grew out of the bouncy seat we put her in a stroller to sleep (no one suggested the wedge or I would have done that!), she was secure, upright, and we pushed it around to help her get back to sleep. (she did make it to the crib finally!)

finally, my 2-cents on meds...zantac worked for my son but did not help my daughter. She was put on prilosec, we had problems at first because the dose is based on weight and babies grow so quickly at this age (2 months at the time). She was not getting the right dose. We got a referral to a pediatric GI doc who assessed the situation right away and once she was on the appropriate dose she was a different baby.

So, sometimes you need to push your pediatrician to go to the next step (don't let them say "babies are always fussy at the end of the day") relfux babies are fussy ALL the time and it takes some back and forth to get the right regimen that will work.

Hopefully the zantac will do the trick, hang in there!


answers from Providence on

I haven't read any of the other answers, but my son had reflux as well when he was an infant.

I would suggest co-sleeping WITHOUT swaddling for now, especially for his safety. If he was to spit up in the middle of the night and couldn't cry...he'd be in trouble and you wouldn't even know it.

Also, the crook of your arm (inside elbow area) is a natural incline and a good place for your son to sleep while co-sleeping.

Also, try changing his formula. We had to play around with a few different ones before we settled on soy. It didn't help a lot, but I noticed the difference.

Keep in mind that infants digestive systems are not totally as functional as ours are so this is all new to them as well.

Be patient, try some new formulas, and watch your son closely.

Good luck.

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answers from Stationed Overseas on

My daughter didn't have reflux but she did sleep in her infant car seat for the first five months. It isn't any different then putting them in the swing. When she got upset about sleeping in her car seat I moved her to her crib and we haven't looked back. What I'm saying is don't worry about instilling a 'bad habit' by letting your son sleep in his car seat he's too young to understand any of that.


answers from Boston on

Have you considered a nutritional supplement safe for babies instead of the meds (which clearly aren't working) and all the physical maneuvering? There is one developed by the same food scientist who worked for Mead Johnson to develop ProSoBee & Enfamil formulas, which have been around forever. He developed something for kids (babies on up) that is helping thousands of kids. It's been around for 10 years or more, lots of experience. There's great customer support too. Let me know if you are interested.



answers from Columbus on

Our pediatrician said that it's not good to strap the baby into the carseat for long periods (it puts pressure on the spine and can affect how the spine grows, according to our ped.), we were given the okay to put our baby in his swing at night, if we had to.

I would also suggest that you ask your pediatrician for more options -- Zantac is considered the first line of defense, in terms of medications, and there are others out there that might work better (but probably have a longer list/more risk of side effects). Or, ask for a referral to a pediatric specialist, either maybe an ear-nose-throat (ENT) or gastroenterologist.

Good luck, and I hope he outgrows it quickly!



answers from New London on

I have a 6mo old daughter that has reflux and the same sleeping issues. I went & bought a infant car seat at a consignment shop. Took out all the straps, put it in her crib and there she sleeps. She started sleeping better right away, not like a baby without reflux but better than she had been sleeping before. Some nights she would sleep 6+ hours. I hope this helps. Good luck!!!!



answers from Detroit on

Maybe he can sleep in his swing or car seat until he gets better.

On another point. Are you breastfeeding? Have you looked at the foods that you eat as being a potential problem for your baby's reflux? I work with a pediatrician who says most reflux can be controlled or eliminated through the mom's diet. If that is important to you, keep a food diary as you eliminate different foods. Contact me if you would like help in knowing more how to do this. It would be honor to assist you.

Good luck and soon your baby will outgrow this issue. In health, D.


answers from Philadelphia on

My best friends son slept in his swing until he was 5 months... could not lay down flat because of reflux....
Also to keep in mind for the future... if he continues to have problems after being on solid foods... Cumin is a natural anti-reflux spice. a little sprinkle in potatoes or meat, and it will taste great and prevent overproduction of the acid in his tummy.


answers from Boston on

my son had it to..... these first few months will be hard since all he has is liquid. i always had my kids sleep on their sides. either use a rolled up blanket on either side to prop him up, or i used the boppy ( i put it so their feet were against the crib bumper so they couldn't slide down. problem with the wedges and inclines are what happens when he's to big for those.

at 12 weeks - i started substituting his last bottle with just a real tiny bit of rice cereal - no doctor is going to tell you to do this - but what ever works to get your kid to sleep was my thought. so that he was having something that would stick in his stomach better.

at 4 month when you really start to have baby food/rice etc..... most moms would give baby food for dinner (between 5-6ish) and then a bottle before bed at 9-10ish etc.... i swapped it - again giving him the bottle at 5ish and dinner at 9ish. and as you introduce more solids... do it at the feeding right before he naps/sleeps.... this way he's not having the liquid that will come up more while he's trying to sleep. also when he's ready - try to elminate the middle of the night feedings first.

by 1 year he was of the zantac and formula completely. he still is prone to have some reflux - his burps and hiccups are "juicy" but it's managable



answers from Boston on

I bought one at babies r us (I think it was first years). I liked it b/c I could adjust the pads on the sides to make it the right snugness. I Put my son on his side in it and I he always stayed in the same position in the wedge. It isn't a very high wedge though. But maybe the positioner on the of the inclined mattress you already have would be more effective.

What about having him sleep strapped in his car seat for a couple of weeks? Maybe by then the reflux will start to get better. Good luck!



answers from Boston on

If I were you, I would look for a better specialist. They are around.



answers from Des Moines on

My son was diagnosed with reflux right at the 1 month mark and was put on Zantac and Previcid twice a day. Medicine worked wonders and so did sleeping in his swing until he was almost 4 months old. We tried the wedge you put under his mattress, but nothing worked like sleeping in his swing or bouncy seat. I worried so much about him falling out and that was never the case. He loved it because he was "swaddled" and cradled at the same time.
I'm not sure if your son is breast or bottle fed, but we also put him on Similac RS and used Dr. Brown bottles which are a gift sent from Heaven above.
Good luck, "this too shall pass" He outgrew his reflux at 4 months.



answers from St. Louis on

This may sound wierd, but we strapped our girls into their infant car seat when they had reflux. It kept them in a perfect position so they could sleep. They outgrew the reflux eventually.
If you do this, make sure you don't forget to strap your little one in!

Hoping you get some sleep soon!



answers from Boston on

My daughter had reflux and the best thing that worked was letting her sleep in a bouncy seat in her crib. A wedge never seemed to work. A bouncy seat did the trick and you should be able to swaddle your son in it. Once the reflux was no longer an issue, she had no problems sleeping on her back and, at almost 3 now, she is a world class sleeper. Hope this helps.



answers from San Francisco on

My son is 10 weeks old with acid reflux as well. and we started using the Nap Nanny when he was less then a week old. My 2 year old also had reflux and would only sleep on my husband's chest for the first 3 1/2 months. When my second son was born I purchased the Nap Nanny since it had received great reviews and it has worked wonderfully for us. He still gurgles at times and grunts while sleeping but atleast he's able to sleep and can go as long as six hours at night. It's a little pricey ($140) but for us it was well worth the money. Good luck.

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