Congestion is a common problem for babies. It can make them uncomfortable, irritable and restless during the day, leading to poor sleep at night. Congestion also makes it harder for your baby to breathe through their nose–they may be able to breathe through their mouth instead of their nose because of congestion. This can cause them to snore or have pauses in breathing while they sleep (called apnea).
Congestion occurs when mucus builds up in the airways due to allergies or colds. When this happens at night while you’re sleeping, it’s called “obstructive sleep apnea.” If you’ve ever had trouble breathing while lying down flat on your back with no pillows under your head or neck area (or even just felt like something was restricting airflow), then you know what obstructed airflow feels like!
Understanding Congestion in Babies
Congestion is the build-up of mucus in your baby’s nose and throat. It can cause coughing, wheezing, congestion, and difficulty breathing.
Congestion is most common during winter because it’s cold outside, and there’s less humidity in the air (which helps keep nasal passages moist). But even if you live in a warm climate year-round or have central heating at home, your baby may still get congested from time to time–especially if they have been exposed to viruses such as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) or a rhinovirus.
Symptoms of congestion include:
- Nasal drainage (runny nose)
- Irritability due to difficulty breathing
Elevating the Crib Mattress: How it Works.
How It Works
When you elevate your baby’s crib mattress, the bed’s elevated head helps prevent nasal congestion by allowing air to flow freely into the nose and mouth. This can help them breathe easier during sleep, reducing their risk of developing colds or other respiratory illnesses. Elevating the crib mattress also allows for better drainage of mucus from the nose and throat, which prevents it from being swallowed back into the lungs, where it can cause further issues like asthma or pneumonia.
Optimal Angle for Elevation
The optimal angle for elevation depends on how old your child is: newborns should be raised at least 3 inches (7 cm) off of their original position; infants between 1 month and six months old should be raised 4 inches (10 cm); children between 6 months and 24 months should be raised 5 inches (13 cm). If you need clarification on what will work best in your situation, consult your pediatrician before making any changes!
What You Need to Elevate Your Baby’s Crib Mattress
To elevate your baby’s crib mattress, you will need a few things:
Foam blocks or books will create a sturdy foundation for the mattress to rest on.
Non-skid pad or rug: This will prevent the foam blocks or books from slipping or sliding, which can pose a safety hazard.
Measuring tape: This will help you determine the desired height for the elevated mattress.
Basic tools: Depending on your crib type, you may need basic tools such as a screwdriver or pliers to remove and replace the mattress.
Step-by-Step Guide to Elevating Your Baby’s Crib Mattress
Step 1: Get your crib and materials ready. You must have all the necessary materials, such as foam blocks or books, to elevate the mattress. Also, ensure that your crib is sturdy and can support the extra weight.
Step 2: Place foam blocks or books underneath the crib mattress. Be careful when lifting the mattress to avoid injuring yourself. You can use as many blocks or books as you need to get the desired height.
Step 3: Secure the elevated mattress by placing a non-skid pad or rug underneath the blocks or books. It will prevent the blocks or books from slipping or sliding, which can pose a safety hazard.
Step 4: Once you’ve elevated the mattress, ensure that the sheets and blankets fit snugly and that there are no gaps between the mattress and the crib rails. Also, your baby should be positioned correctly on the mattress to avoid the risk of suffocation.
That’s it! With these simple steps, you can elevate your baby’s crib mattress and provide them with a safe and comfortable sleeping environment.
Tips for Maintaining the Elevated Crib Mattress
Monitor the angle of elevation:
You should be able to see a change in your baby’s breathing pattern within 24 hours of elevating the mattress. If you don’t notice any improvement, try adjusting the height of the crib mattress again.
Cleaning and maintaining the crib mattress:
To keep your baby safe and healthy while using an elevated crib mattress, make sure that you regularly clean their sleeping surface with mild soap and water or disinfectant wipes–and spot-clean as needed throughout use (for example, if there’s a diaper leak). Please don’t use bleach or harsh cleaners on either side of their bedding; these can irritate sensitive skin!
When to discontinue the use of an elevated crib:
Once congestion has cleared up (usually after about seven days), it’s okay to lower your little one back onto normal ground-level sleep surfaces again!
Other Ways to Relieve Congestion in Babies
If you’re looking for alternative methods of relieving congestion in your baby, there are a few options. Place them in a steamy bathroom and let them breathe in the steam for 10-15 minutes.
It can help loosen up mucus and make it easier to cough out.
If these methods don’t work or your child still has trouble breathing at night, seek medical attention immediately.
Your pediatrician can prescribe medication to help relieve their symptoms while they sleep so they can get the rest they need during their most vulnerable hours of the day (when most babies experience colds).
Besides using these remedies regularly during the cold season (and beyond), there are some preventive measures parents can take before their baby gets sick:
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to elevate a crib mattress for babies?
Yes, it is safe. Elevating the crib mattress helps clear mucus from your baby’s nose and throat by making breathing easier. You can also try placing an ice pack on their chest or underneath their feet (not directly on them).
If you’re worried about overheating your little one, put them in only a diaper and t-shirt while they sleep elevated so they don’t get too hot under blankets or pajamas. It’s important not to leave your child unattended while sleeping elevated–it could be dangerous if they slip off the bed!
Why would I need to elevate my baby’s crib mattress?
Elevating the mattress can help ease symptoms of reflux or other medical conditions that cause discomfort during sleep. It can also help with congestion and make breathing easier.
How high should I elevate the crib mattress?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends elevating the crib mattress to no more than 30 degrees. This is roughly the height of a few inches or a few foam blocks.
Is using foam blocks or books to elevate the crib mattress safe?
Yes, foam blocks or books can elevate the crib mattress. However, ensure they are stable and won’t shift or move, which can pose a safety hazard.
Can I use pillows or folded blankets to elevate the crib mattress?
No, pillows or folded blankets should never be used to elevate the crib mattress, as they can be a suffocation hazard for your baby.
Should I consult my pediatrician before elevating my baby’s crib mattress?
Yes, it’s always a good idea to consult with your pediatrician before making any changes to your baby’s sleeping arrangements. They can provide you with specific recommendations based on your baby’s needs.
After elevating the crib mattress, how do I ensure a safe sleeping environment?
Make sure the sheets and blankets fit snugly and that there are no gaps between the mattress and the crib rails. Also, ensure that your baby is positioned correctly on the mattress to avoid the risk of suffocation.