While it is not recommended to have anything in a baby’s crib, this is the safest way I could find to keep my boys sleeping at an angle without slipping down off the angled part of the mattress. If you have any questions about your baby’s safety, you should always consult with your doctor first.
As I mentioned in my first post about dealing with reflux, the NICU kept the beds at an angle and made little “nests” from blankets to keep the babies from sliding. When our boys were first diagnosed with reflux, they were still sleeping in the Rock n’ Plays, so I didn’t need to worry about an angle. But, when we were ready to transition to a crib, I needed to figure out a way to maintain sleeping at an angle, which our pediatrician recommended and which really made a difference in our boys’ reflux symptoms. You can buy wedge pillows to create an angle, but we are hemorrhaging money these days on formula and diapers; accordingly, I really didn’t want to spend any money on wedges that we would hopefully only use for a few more months. I also didn’t want loose blankets in the crib, as this is not recommended for babies at this age. After several failed attempts that resulted in babies ending up in all sorts of positions in the crib that were not what we were shooting for, I finally found a successful method without spending any cash!
After angling the mattress, I needed to create a nest to keep the boys from sliding down the mattress. My first attempts resulted in nests that were too flexible and didn’t hold the boys in place or nests that just slid down the mattress with the boys. After modifying and adjusting several times, this is what worked:
1. Remove the sheet from the bed, and place a receiving blanket across the mattress cover. This keeps the nest from sliding so easily across the mattress.
2. Tightly roll 3-7 receiving blankets of approximately equal size. When you have a tight roll of blankets, fold the roll into a U shape to make the nest. Lay the nest on the receiving blanket. If it doesn’t take up entire width of the crib, roll another nest to place outside the first one. I used a quilt for this one because I just needed something that would take up a chunk of space.
3. Next, loosely roll or fold a quilt or thicker blanket and lay it across the mattress at the point where the angle starts. Tuck each side of the quilt under the mattress to serve as an “anchor” for the whole nest. The nest then rests on this quilt, which keeps it from sliding down the mattress with the baby.
4. Put the sheet back on covering the whole nesting system. This prevents any blankets that might move or come loose from ending up on the baby’s face.
5. Lay baby on the nest and let them wiggle around. Make sure the top of the nest does not come higher than the baby’s chest.
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Their reflux is now sufficiently controlled by medication that we don’t sleep at an angle/with nests anymore, but I’ve also discovered that when one of the kids has a cold, angling the mattress with a pillow underneath and putting the nest back in helps them breathe and sleep better. When we’re over the cold, I simply take out the nest from under the sheet and remove the pillow and stash it all away for the next time we need it.