Colic is defined as crying for no apparent reason that lasts for greater than 3 hours per day and occurs on 3 or more days per week in an otherwise healthy infant less than 3 months of age1,2. Fortunately, colic symptoms typically resolve spontaneously by 8-9 weeks of age. Back sleeping is the safest position for all babies, but while the baby is awake, you can try different positions to help your colicky little one settle. Here are some holding positions to try.

Holding Positions for a Colicky Baby

Try these positions to encourage a peaceful rest for all:

Snuggle Them in a Side or Stomach Hold

While helping soothe your little one, try what’s been coined the “colic hold.” Cradle your baby on their side as your arm presses gently against their belly3. Colic may be related to gastrointestinal distress, and this hold can result in a release of gas and possible relief from gas-related pain. If your baby falls asleep, move them to a crib and make sure they are put to sleep on their back3.

Try a Colic Swaddle

Swaddling has been proven to reduce crying time and increase sleeping time for colicky babies, as well as soothe discomfort for babies in general3,4,5,6,7. Swaddling may also mimic the cozy comfort of being in the womb.3 For tips on safe, effective swaddling, read our article on how to swaddle a newborn. Here are a few key points to also keep in mind6,7:

  • Swaddle with a light blanket
  • Never wrap tightly at the hips, as it may lead to hip dysplasia
  • Stop swaddling once your baby starts rolling over (sometimes as early as two months)
  • Always place your baby flat on their back to sleep

More Ways to Soothe a Colicky Baby

Wondering how else to soothe a colicky baby? There are several techniques worth trying. Here are methods that are recommended for soothing colicky babies, as well as for babies in general1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9:

Strategies to Soothe Colicky Babies

Strategies that May Help Soothe Babies in General

  • Car ride
  • Walk in a stroller or front carrier
  • Physical contact
  • Changing scenery
  • Warm bath
  • Gentle swinging
  • Pacifier
  • White noise

Keep in mind that colic won’t last very long, usually no more than a few months1,2. If you have a colicky baby, know that you are doing the best you can. Take breaks from the crying baby by placing them in their crib and asking for help from friends and family. These techniques may help you and your little one find some comfort and rest. Speak to your baby’s doctor about their colic and crying as they are in the best position to guide you.

For more ways to support your family’s health and happiness, please see more of our tips and resources.