How To Prop an Infant With Reflux PDF Print E-mail
Written by RMacLean   
Saturday, 06 January 2001 23:46

One of the first lines of defense in dealing with an infant with reflux or GERD is propping the head of the bed or crib at least six inches.  Some doctors even recommend elevating the head of the crib slightly (ten degrees) for all babies, believing it may help prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). There are several products on the market that assist with this, some of which you will on this page.

If funds are tight, as they often are when living with a child who has health issues, you may not need to  purchase anything to effectively prop the crib or bed.  Below are some tricks to help effectively prop your baby's crib without having to purchase expensive products. 

There is a list of products designed specifically for propping babies with reflux at the bottom of the page.


s p o n s o r e d   a d
(what's this?)

The Positioning Pillow
for Preemies to
Babies up to 28lbs

  1. Place large, stable under the feet of the crib (at the head of the crib) or life the head of the mattress and place pillows underneath until it's an acceptable height.
  2. Very tightly roll up three medium to large towels placing one on either side of where baby sleeps and one underneath (to support the baby's bottom) forming a snug "U" shape that will provide a "nest" around the baby.  Placing a waterproof crib pad underneath might be advisable if the baby frequently spits up or vomits, this will help protect the crib.
  3. Laying another large towel flat over the rolled towels and tucking it in snugly around the rolled towels may give extra stability and help prevent the rolled towels from slipping.  Tuck the flat towel under the outer edges of the crib tightly if it will reach.
  4. A fitted crib sheet can now be placed over the mattress and towels.  If it sticks up too much within the formed "U" shape where the child will lay, gently pat it down in the center.  If your child frequently spits up or vomits, placing another waterproof crib pad over the sheet can protect everything from getting soaked.  It's much easier to wash the crib pad several times than to strip the sheet/towel combination several times and redo it when it gets covered in vomit.


It is advisable to keep the crib nearby (bedside your bed if possible), especially if the mattress is elevated extremely high.  This is not recommended for older infants or ones that are excessively mobile.

We also suggest propping the child during diaper changes, particularly if changing the diaper after meals.


Reviewed By Dave Olson, MD
Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics
Graduate University of Michigan School of Medicine


* does not guarantee the safety of this method and suggests discussing it with your pediatrician or doctor before proceeding. can not be held responsible or liable in any way for providing this suggestion.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 March 2008 00:52 )

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Site Last Modified: April 2009
*Disclaimer:The information available on this website should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of your child's reflux. Please consult with your child's doctor or pharmacist before trying any medication (prescription or OTC) or following any treatment plan mentioned. This information is provided only to help you be as informed as possible about your child's condition.