Sleeping Tips for Reflux Babies

Struggling with a baby who won’t sleep? If your little one suffers from reflux, you may be desperate for answers. You’re in luck – this blog will provide you with tips to help your baby get the rest they need.

Quick facts: Sleeping Tips For Reflux Babies

  • ✅ Keeping a baby in a semi-upright position while sleeping can reduce reflux symptoms. (Mayo Clinic)
  • ✅ Babies with reflux should be placed on their back to sleep, but can be moved to their side after a feeding. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • ✅ Keeping the baby’s head slightly elevated can reduce reflux symptoms. (Healthline)
  • ✅ Avoiding tight clothing and swaddling can help reduce reflux symptoms. (Johns Hopkins Medicine)
  • ✅ Feeding smaller amounts more frequently can help keep reflux symptoms at bay. (Cleveland Clinic)

Checkout this video:

Understand Reflux

Reflux is a common pediatric condition where babies experience frequent episodes of vomiting or stomach contents spilling back up into their throat. Having a good understanding of reflux is essential for providing the best sleeping environment for your baby.

Let’s look at some important information about reflux and how it can affect your baby’s sleep:

Definition of Reflux

Reflux refers to the backward flow of stomach contents, including acid, into the esophagus. This is a common issue for babies and can happen up to several times an hour. Babies with reflux have difficulty keeping food down and may seem to be constantly hungry due to their body’s inability to properly digest food. Reflux can cause sleep disruption for babies, as it may make them uncomfortable enough that they wake up and cry.

However, there are some strategies that parents can use to help reduce reflux in babies and improve their nighttime sleep. These include:

  • Avoiding overfeeding.
  • Ensuring baby is properly burped.
  • Avoiding tight clothing or wraps while sleeping.
  • Elevating baby’s head while sleeping.
  • Keeping baby upright after eating or drinking.
  • Introducing solids around 4-6 months old (if you haven’t already).

Symptoms of Reflux

Reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER), is when a baby’s stomach contents flows back up the esophagus. This can cause heartburn, discomfort, wet burps or regurgitation, and can be painful for babies. Reflux may occur because their digestive system is still immature and not yet ready to digest food and keep it down in their stomachs.

Some signs that a baby has reflux include coughing or gagging during feedings and arching of the back after feedings.

  • Other signs might include difficulty sleeping due to pain or discomfort related to eating and frequent hiccups (which can be caused by swallowing too much air while your baby is spitting up).
  • Reflux might also manifest as unsettled behaviour during sleep—when babies feel pain from the unpleasant burning sensation in their chest associated with acid reflux, they might wake more often than usual.

If you suspect your baby’s symptoms are due to reflux, seek medical advice from your paediatrician.


Positioning is a key factor in helping reflux babies sleep better. When laying a 6MonthOld baby down for sleep, it is important to keep their head and body elevated to help reduce the symptoms. Additionally, placing them on their back or side can help keep their airways open and promote better airflow.

Let’s look at some other positioning tips that can help reflux babies sleep better:

The importance of positioning

Positioning is one of the most important and proven methods of treating infant reflux. In their natural position, babies with reflux will sleep in a semi-upright position which helps to keep food and stomach acid down. It’s important to ensure that your baby’s head is slightly elevated during sleep, as this helps reduce pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). For more tips, check out sleeping tips for a newborn.

Another positional therapy that can be used to help alleviate reflux symptoms is the use of swaddling. Studies have shown that swaddling helps to reduce acidic gastric contents from entering into a baby’s esophagus by providing a firm, secure wrap around the abdomen. It also helps relieve gas, which can cause discomfort for babies with reflux. Try using an appropriate-sized blanket and gently wrapping your baby up snugly, allowing for some room at the neck so they can move their head freely while sleeping.

Recommended positions for sleeping

For babies with reflux, it’s crucial to find the ideal sleeping positions that will help keep the stomach more stable. Generally, it’s recommended to place the baby on their back and use a firm mattress for support. Keeping the bassinet flat for all sleeping positions will help prevent any reflux episodes from occurring and make sure your baby is comfortable all night long. Additionally, using a nursing pillow or other support system can help prop up the baby’s head or chest in whichever position you choose, if needed.

The most recommended positions for sleeping are:

  1. Place your baby on their back in the “corner” of the crib (in between two mattresses)
  2. Use a nursing pillow to raise their torso slightly
  3. It is also recommended that babies sleep at an incline, if possible
  4. If your baby prefers sleeping side-lying, make sure they have extra support/propping up against pillows/bolsters
  5. Sometimes babies rest more comfortably in an upright position—you can use car seats or bouncy chairs to achieve this.

Overall, it’s important to experiment with different positions until you find one that works best for your baby’s individual needs. If you do try out multiple positions but don’t see any improvement with your reflux symptoms, speak with your doctor for further advice and tips.

Lifestyle and Diet

Lifestyle and diet are important for infants who suffer from acid reflux. Making small adjustments to their eating habits, sleeping positions or sleep environment can be beneficial and help to reduce the symptoms of reflux.

Let’s look at some useful tips to make sure your reflux baby gets a good night’s sleep:

Eating and sleeping schedules

It is important to maintain a consistent eating and sleeping schedule for reflux babies. The timing of eating and sleeping should be adjusted for optimal digestion and reduce the risk of developing reflux symptoms. Eating before sleeping is not advised as it can cause reflux symptoms to increase. Instead, try to maintain a 3-4 hour gap between eating and sleeping.

Additionally, keep track of your baby’s sleep cycle as well as when possible events for reflux (such as burping or changing positions) occur. An optimal sleep schedule should include adequate rest during the day in addition to overnight sleeping, aiming for at least 12 hours total per day while avoiding excessively long naps during the day which may disrupt night time routines. Allowing enough time between feedings can help reduce discomfort that may lead to poor sleep quality due to acid regurgitation or abdominal pain.

Foods to avoid

When it comes to lifestyle and diet changes for reflux babies, the most important thing to consider is food avoidance. It is key to note that reflux babies should avoid foods that are acidic, fatty, processed, or spicy. This includes things like tomatoes and tomato-based products, citrus fruits and juices, chocolate, mints, garlic and onions.

Foods to offer instead would be:

  • Oatmeal or cereal with breastmilk or formula added
  • Fruits such as applesauce
  • Pureed vegetables
  • Small amounts of proteins such as mashed tofu

It is also important to avoid overfeeding your baby as this could worsen reflux symptoms. To help manage reflux in infants, aim for smaller feedings throughout the day rather than large feedings every few hours. Additionally, try keeping baby upright for at least 30 minutes after a feeding before lying down for sleep.

Sleep Environment

Creating a comfortable and safe sleep environment for your reflux baby is important in promoting restful sleep. Some key considerations to make include the type of mattress, sleeping position, the temperature of the room, and more.

Let’s take a look at the best sleeping tips for reflux babies:

Temperature and noise levels

The temperature of the sleep environment matters when it comes to a reflux baby. To ensure that your little one stays comfortable, the room should be kept cooler than usual, around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. If your baby is older and tossing and turning, they may become overheated which can lead to increased digestive discomfort. Make sure that you don’t overheat the room with too many blankets or layers of clothing.

It is also important to think about noise levels in the sleep environment for a reflux baby. While it may be tempting to fill their nap or bedtime space with music or background noise, this can actually make it harder for them to settle into sleep. Try keeping things as quiet as possible during naps and bedtime. This will make it easier for your reflux baby to settle into a good sleep routine with minimal disturbances.

Bedtime routine

Creating a bedtime routine for your baby can have a dramatic effect on their sleep environment and their ability to sleep well. This routine may look different from family to family but some things are important to include:

  1. Wind down time – A period of time leading up to bedtime where you gradually reduce the amount of stimulation your baby is exposed to. This may include dimming lights, turning off electronics and playing calming music.
  2. Feeding – If breastfeeding, it’s best not to wait until your baby is very sleepy before feeding. Once they are full, they can be swaddled or cuddled and rocked until they drift off into a deep sleep.
  3. Bedtime – Make sure your baby is placed in a safe sleeping environment that meets all the safe sleep guidelines such as using a firm mattress and tight fitting sheet, avoiding loose blankets or stuffed animals, and maintaining comfortable room temperature for optimal safety and sleep quality for your child.

Creating this routine can help ensure that you have a consistent flow in the evenings leading up to bedtime which helps create consistency in the entire household – setting everyone up for better quality sleep!

Medical Treatment

Medical treatment for reflux babies can help them get a better night’s sleep. Your doctor can prescribe medications to reduce the amount of acid in your baby’s stomach and make them more comfortable while sleeping. There are also some lifestyle changes that you can make that may help reduce your baby’s symptoms.

Let’s look into the medical treatment options available:

Medications for reflux

Medications are sometimes used to treat reflux in babies. Medications commonly prescribed for reflux are alginates, thickeners, and proton pump inhibitors. Alginates can reduce the amount of acid produced in the stomach and allow the contents to stay down longer. Thickeners such as rice cereal can be added to a baby’s bottle and also help keep the contents down. Proton pump inhibitors block acid production, making it possible for irritated tissues to heal. For more detailed advice, you should check out best sleeping solutions for reflux babies.

Some medications used for reflux may cause side effects, including drowsiness or weakness. It is important that parents talk with a doctor before giving any medications to their baby.

Natural remedies for reflux

Natural remedies for reflux in babies can include simple lifestyle changes and modifications. For example, parents can change how they feed their baby by keeping him or her upright while nursing or bottle-feeding. Additionally, they may want to consider smaller, more frequent feedings.

In some cases, avoiding foods that cause more acid to be produced by the stomach may help reduce symptoms (i.e., chocolate, citrus fruits). Homeopathic medicines like chamomile and fennel can also be used to soothe aches and pains associated with reflux. Finally, gently massaging the baby’s tummy in a clockwise direction after feedings is thought to help relieve gas and bloating.

Talk with your doctor before starting any natural remedies for reflux in case there are any contraindications or potential risks involved.

FAQs about: Sleeping Tips For Reflux Babies

Q: What are some sleeping tips for reflux babies?

A: 1. Elevate the head of your baby’s crib or bassinet to 30 degrees when your baby sleeps. This can help keep stomach acid out of your baby’s esophagus and reduce reflux symptoms.

2. Try to keep your baby upright for at least 30 minutes after each feeding.

3. Avoid overfeeding your baby. Feeding your baby smaller, more frequent meals can help reduce reflux symptoms.

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