When our pediatrician told us how serious the infection could be if it were in the cartilage of the ear we knew we had to find a way to get Kaitlyn's ears up off of the surface she was laying on! I thought that if Kaitlyn were to lay on a pillow with a hole in the center then she could still be sidelying while having her ear completely suspended (zero pressure)! (Sidelying for a child with SMA type 1 is essential as they cannot swallow. It allows them to pool secretions in their cheek and even spit out secretions so that they do not aspirate.)
I like to use flannel fabrics when making my pillows. I find flannel absorbs moisture quickly and washes really well. The flannel is also soft and I find it irritates Kaitlyn's skin less. I started with a circle of fabric slightly larger than Kaitlyn's head. For us at that time a dinner plate worked great as a template for marking my fabric. Any circle shape the right size will work to make a pattern for cutting out your fabric. When cutting out my circle I always fold my fabric in half with the right side in. This way I cut out both sides of the pillow at the same time. I then take these two circles with the right side still in, and I sew around the outside with a sewing machine.
I then fold the circle shape in half and cut out a small semi-circle in the middle. The hole in the center of the pillow does not need to be any larger than your child's ear! The smaller the hole the easier it will be to position your child on the pillow when it is finished. I always find that if I cut out the hole to fit Kaitlyn's ear then the finished product will be slightly larger than her ear.
I then turn the fabric right side out and begin sewing up the ear hole. For Kaitlyn's pillows I like to turn the fabric in and sew a nice smooth edge (seamless). This way there is no edging to rub against her ears. Once I have the hole about two-thirds closed I then stuff the pillow with a hypoallergenic polyfoam stuffing. I like to use a proper pillow stuffing as it holds it's shape quite nicely through continuous washings! Once the pillow is stuffed full I sew up the rest of the ear hole. I stuff my pillows full but not too firm!