Best Baby Sleep Positioner Reviews in 2018
Baby sleep positioner help keep your baby in a safe sleeping posture throughout the night. They come in a variety of shapes and have increased in popularity since the "Back To Sleep" campaign championed by the National Institutes of Health in the 1990s which instructed parents to position infants on their backs during sleep. But which shape is ideal, and are sleep positioners safe for infants?
What is a Sleep Positioner?
Baby sleep positioner come in many styles but are usually a kind of bolster, pillow, or wedge intended to keep your baby in a certain position throughout the night. They are designed to keep an infant comfortable and safe and can even help alleviate digestive issues such as reflux. Most parents also choose to use a sleep positioner to help keep their infant on their back and thus prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The Benefits of Using Positioner
While the National Institutes of Health says that most infant should be perfectly healthy and comfortable when put to sleep on a flat mattress with no support or bedding, positioner manufacturers claim that they can prevent flat head syndrome, lessen the severity of digestive reflux, and can even reduce the risk of SIDS by keeping your baby positioned on their back.
Plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, is a condition in which an infant develops a flat spot on their skull. Because babies heads are soft and elastic, they can be warped and deformed if frequent pressure is applied to one or more parts of the head. The bones of the skull become less resilient the older a baby becomes, and so some parents use a shaped pillow positioner beneath their child's head to prevent a flat spot from forming where it rests against the mattress at night.
Are Sleep Positioners Safe? Do they prevent SIDS?
Many positioners are intended to keep your baby in the right position while they sleep. Infants should remain on their backs when asleep to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which takes the lives of thousands of babies each year.
Current wisdom dictates that babies, especially newborns, should be put to bed with no blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or any other objects that could pose a smothering threat. Some parenting experts contend that sleep positioners, although designed to keep infants in a safe sleeping position, may themselves become a smothering hazard if a baby gets their nose and mouth trapped against the side of the positioner. Extreme caution should be used when placing any positioner in the crib with your baby to ensure they cannot become trapped. Once your baby is able to roll over on their own at around 6 months, you should discontinue the use of a position.
How To Choose a Baby Sleep Positioner
There are many different products marketed as baby sleep positioners, and even a rolled up towel or blanket can be used to help keep your baby supported during sleep. It might, therefore, feel like a challenge to choose the right kind of positioner for your baby.
The first thing you'll need to focus on is your baby's need. Are you looking for a positioner to keep them on their back while they sleep? Do you need to keep your baby elevated to help prevent reflux? Or are you concerned that they may be forming a flat spot on their skull, and need a support to prevent deformation?
Co-Sleeping Infant Beds
Co-sleeping has become a more accepted practice in recent years, but if done in an unprotected way, can be dangerous for small infants. Over-tired mothers can easily roll over and smother their babies, and so many companies have engineered products that allow families to co-sleep while keeping babies safely out of harm.
These beds not only provide a soft buffer between parents and their infant while still keeping the baby within reach, but they are also designed to keep your baby in a safe sleeping position. Co-sleeping beds are often a great choice for use in bassinettes as well.
Wedges are used to elevate a baby's head and torso. The gentle incline helps babies feel more comfortable during sleep and is especially helpful for babies with digestive issues including GERD or acid reflux. The incline prevents the worst of the irritation caused by stomach acid after feeding. If you have noticed your baby is uncomfortable on their back after eating, consider speaking to your baby's pediatrician, and ask them if an elevated sleep position may help.
Wedges are among the most common baby sleep positioners and often come in standard sizes which will fit most cribs. They normally have a very gentle incline of between 10 and 15 degrees.
Some babies simply prefer alternative sleep positions and do not like sleeping on their back. If your baby seems more comfortable on their side, and your doctor has said it is ok to let them sleep this way, a bolstered sleep positioner can help keep them on their side throughout the night without worry of them rolling onto their stomach.
These positioners usually consist of two wedges or solid bolster pillows connected by a width of cloth. The baby is put between the two bolsters on their side and is comfortably kept from rolling on to their back or stomach.
Shaped Infant Pillows
Sleep positioners meant to correct plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) are normally a simple shaped pillow or neck cradle that sits beneath your infant's head.
Most of these pillows are horseshoe or ring-shaped with a divot or depression in the center meant for the baby's head. These sleep positioners do not normally restrain the child's body in any way, and simply keep their head in a cradled position. The divot in the middle of the pillow takes pressure off of the back of the baby's head and helps keep the skull's rounded shape.
Safety, Breathability, and Washability
No matter which kind of positioner you need, there are a few factors that you'll need to keep in mind. Always check up-to-date recall information and product warnings to ensure that the sleep positioner you purchase will not put your baby in danger. Ensure that it properly fits in the crib and that there is no possibility that your child could become trapped between the side of the crib and the positioner, or between the mattress and the positioner.
If at all possible, try and find a positioner that is free from harsh chemicals including BPA and, if at all possible, is made from natural fabrics. This will help ensure that the positioner won't allow heat or moisture to build up against your baby's skin, which can cause skin irritation and rashes. Furthermore, you'll want to buy a product which has a soft, washable fabric cover which can be laundered regularly.
Five Best Baby Sleep Positioner
Premium Baby Crib Wedge and Sleep Positioner by Gentle Shores
The Gentle Shores Baby Crib Wedge Sleep Positioner is a great alternative to having your baby sleep in a Rock n' Play, yet still keeps their head and torso at a slight incline to help prevent reflux issues. Unlike other sleep positioners, it is designed to slip beneath the crib sheet or the crib's existing mattress to put the entire bed at an incline. Because the positioner cannot trap your baby's body against the side of the crib or mattress, this makes this sleep positioner a safe way to help your baby sleep soundly without fear of suffocation or entrapment.
Fairy Baby Adjustable Head & Neck Support and Anti-Rollover Pillow
The Fairy Baby Adjustable Head & Neck Support Pillow is actually two parts: a bolster and a removable velcro stuffed animal. The positioner serves several functions and can be used in different ways to help your infant sleep more soundly. If you have a baby that prefers side sleeping, this support can help position them safely. The stuffed animal support can be moved closer or further away from the bolster to create the perfect supportive gap. This positioner can also be used to keep infants on their back. The bolster can be used separately as a back rest when your child is older and ready to sit upright with some assistance. While the fabric used is soft to the touch and is non-toxic, it is not very breathable material and may cause sweating.
DockATot Deluxe All in One Baby Lounger, Sleep Positioner, and Portable Crib
The DockATot Deluxe is not only a great option for keeping your infant properly positioned on their back but is perfect for co-sleeping with your baby. During the day, this lounger can be used for tummy time. Alternatively, you can use this device as a portable crib, providing your baby with a safe place to sleep while traveling. This positioner is best for babies who sleep on their backs and do not need an inclined sleeping position. Some parents note that the white fabric is not ideal for an item meant to be used every day and that in addition to the DockATot Deluxe's high price, covers for the lounger are also pricey.
Snuggle Me Organic Co-Sleeping Baby Bed, Infant Lounger, Portable Crib, and Bassinet Mattress Pad
Touted as the original co-sleeping infant lounger, the Snuggle Me is a well-designed positioner. Specifically created with co-sleeping in mind, the sling-like middle of the Snuggle Me conforms to your infant's body, comfortably nestling them within the bolstered sides. Not only does this provide a safe and effective positioning support, but it also keeps them feeling safe and cocooned beside you. Made in the USA, this positioner uses organic fabrics and materials to ensure your baby's health and wellbeing. It is also machine washable.
OCCObaby Universal Crib Wedge and Sleep Positioner
Like other wedge positioners, the OCCObaby Crib Wedge fits beneath your crib's fitted sheet or mattress and is a great solution for families struggling with sleep issues caused by GERD or acid reflux. The 12-degree incline is lower than other wedges so if your baby has used a wedge in the past but was uncomfortable with the high angle the OCCObaby provides a comfortable middle ground. Some parents note that squirmy babies may slip down this wedge, while others feel that the shallow angle does not provide enough support. Others note that the plastic in the cover makes a crinkling noise which may be disruptive.
Your baby's safety should alway be a top priority if you use a sleep positioner, and it should be used with caution. Be sure to ask your pediatrician for their advice on sleeping position and sleep aids, and always be aware of the latest safety recommendations and recall notices. Nevertheless, a baby sleep positioner can help ease common issues such as acid reflux and may help your baby sleep more soundly and securely even while in a side-sleeping position.
Of the five positioners above, the best all-around option is the Snuggle Me Organic Co-Sleeping Baby Bed. The clever sling-like design perfectly positions your baby for optimal sleep. Furthermore, the materials used for the padding and the cover are top-notch and provide maximum comfort. Parents will appreciate the flexibility of the design, which allows this positioner to be used not only at night but during the day for infant tummy time. It can also be used around the house to give your baby a safe place to nap while you work nearby. Finally, this bed is a great option for families who plan to travel with their infant. The Snuggle Me is lightweight and can be used in a hotel or at a relative's house where a crib cannot easily go.
The baby sleep positioner you pick for your child will heavily depend on their needs and their preferred sleeping position. Not every baby will need a sleep positioner, but for babies who do, a sleep positioner can make the difference between fitful night and a restful quiet slumber.