Baby wedge pillow
The wedge pillow for babies stirs up a lot of emotions. Some say it cures reflux, others say it doesn’t help at all, and still others say it harms the baby. In this article, you will find out whether a wedge pillow is healthy, since when a wedge pillow for an infant will be safe, what kind of baby wedge pillow ou should choose, ideas on what to use instead of a wedge pillow, how to lay a baby on a wedge, and whether a wedge pillow works against reflux.
Does the wedge pillow prevent bringing back or posseting?
To begin with, if the baby brings back then a baby pillow will not make it go away. On the other hand, a wedge pillow placed under the head will help when the digestive contents come back up but do not escape. Remember that the mere escaping of digestive contents is, after all, nothing bad. What’s more, it is even advisable! Only situations in which the digestive contents come back and lodges in the esophagus should worry us. Such backlogging may be a symptom of silent reflux (also known as laryngopharyngeal reflux – LPR). A baby with this problem doesn’t bring back, but the digestive contents come up high under the throat, which causes great discomfort.
Moreover, if this content enters the throat and lodges in the esophagus, it can even enter the ear. The digestive contents contain stomach acids, which can greatly irritate the throat, but it can also cause ear infections. Why? The digestive contents are a great breeding ground for bacteria. All the lodging content starts to ferment, and the bacteria have free food and multiply like crazy, causing inflammation. Interestingly – the main cause of ear infections in babies is lingering food content.
Wedge pillow for crib
Backflow of food content is as natural as possible – it’s a physiological symptom in children. But this content should go back into the stomach. If it backs up, it causes problems. In this case, you can consider a wedge pillow for the crib. It will not allow the food content to be expelled, but it can protect against its lodging in the esophagus, and therefore against infections. Remember, however – a baby wedge pillow will not make your baby reflux-free! With it, you reduce the frequency of backflow, and thus improve the comfort of the baby.
Baby wedge pillow vs. increased muscle tension
Does a wedge pillow cause increased muscle tension? Increased muscle tension is a condition in which a baby has a serious neurological problem and requires consultation with a neurologist. However, most children have a problem with abnormal distribution of muscle tension. What does this mean? An example would be a baby who has a weaker tummy, but in order to cope somehow with the development, tenses the shoulders. Instead of building tension on the front of the body, the baby tenses other parts. In such case we are dealing with abnormal distribution of muscle tension.
A toddler lying on a pillow can create, or intensify, abnormal muscle tension. A wedge pillow itself will not cause increased muscle tension, but it can contribute to an existing abnormal distribution of that tension, and especially in babies who have other worrisome symptoms. Examples include: babies after difficult births, those who were wrapped in an umbilical cord, or those with tummy and reflex problems.
How to spot disturbed muscle tension?
You can observe abnormal muscle tone by the fact that your baby’s neck is not visible, as his shoulders are set high. Another symptom is problems with dressing related to stiffening of the hands and/or clenched fists. But what parents most often notice with is bent body position or C-shaped position. Sometimes this even takes the form of lifting up on the head. Such babies often sleep twisted, and if they sleep on the side, the head is bent back sharply.
A baby with this issue causes a lot of problems with daily care. It is hard for him to lie straight on the changing table, so the parent has trouble changing and dressing him. It’s also hard to lift such a baby, because the head is constantly tilted. And when you do pick it up, it’s hard to carry it, because the head gets caught in your hands, and the “bean position” is untenable. Most preferably, the baby would be carried upright. But even this is monstrously difficult, because, after all, the baby won’t lie calmly on your shoulder and will strongly tilt the head, so you have to support it somehow. And how about lying on the tummy? Most often, the baby will shudder and forcefully tilt its head back to lie on its back.
If your baby is having such symptoms, you should go to a physiotherapist. It’s a good idea to have someone relax the baby and help him build proper muscle tone. Of course, not every child with reflux has to have all these symptoms. Sometimes, for example, the baby just doesn’t like to just lie on his tummy, and gas problems may be the cause. Such a tense, bloated tummy makes it difficult to maintain proper support, so the baby gets angry and wants to escape the position as quickly as possible.
Baby wedge pillow and baby’s sleep
What else can you observe? Feeding problems. The baby may lean back and strain, and feeding may be so difficult that at some point you give up and start feeding with a bottle, because it’s easier for you to find a safe position. Of course, if you act quickly and a physiotherapist or osteopath relaxes the baby, you don’t have to give up breastfeeding. But it is also possible that the cause is within the mouth, such as a problem with the frenulum, or a disorder of the oral and tongue muscles. Then it is also worth checking up with a neurologist.
If the child presents all these symptoms, it is worth abandoning the wedge-type pillow. Then you can consider a suitable lateral position. Which, of course, will also not be possible in every case, because, after all, this position can contribute to hip dysplasia and is not recommended until the age of 3 months.
You may feel a bit confused now, am I right? So what to choose? If your baby has many problems, do not decide on your own, go to a specialist, let the physiotherapist analyse all the worrying symptoms and decide what will be best for your baby. But: observe your baby. It may turn out that the indicated position will not be effective, or the baby is straining even more, or whooping. If so, try to find a position that is simply safe.
Back wedge pillow
A baby wedge pillow or raising the angle of the crib often causes the toddler to slide off. Because of this, the baby may strain and stick its head into the pillow so that it doesn’t slide. Often this is the cause of various disturbing symptoms in babies such as: straining, or reluctance to bean-position. Therefore, if your baby does not have reflux, do not put any pillows under the head. Don’t panic if your baby changes position during sleep. It’s normal for everyone to move during sleep, for your baby too. If you see that the baby is placed in a very bent position, you can correct it. But if it’s going to rouse baby from sleep, it might be better not to move the baby.
In conclusion, the wedge pillow should not be used in babies. It can be helpful in babies who have silent reflux, that is, reflux that retreats but does not flow outward. Then you can use a wedge pillow as a prevention of throat irritation and also infections. If you observe your baby’s head tilting, stretching, problems with carrying and changing, it is worth consulting a physiotherapist.
Author: mgr Magdalena Adaś
I am a pediatric physiotherapist. This job is my dream and passion. In addition to directly supporting patients, I try to make sure that the knowledge of proper child care reaches as many parents as possible. Hence my online activities. My materials are used by thousands of parents every month.