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Best Sleeping Positions for Colicky Baby

Best Sleeping Positions for Colicky Baby

The best ways to hold and soothe your colicky baby so you can both get some rest.

What is the best sleeping position for a colicky baby?

Back sleeping

Back sleeping is always recommended. If your baby has colic and cries intensely when they should be sleeping, it may be tempting to let your little one sleep whichever way makes them most comfortable. However, safety is a priority, and it’s recommended that babies always be placed on their backs to sleep until they are one year old.

But if back sleeping is keeping your baby (and you) up, talk to your pediatrician about trying some of these colic hold, carry, and resting positions that have been shown to potentially calm colicky babies.

Side colic hold

While your little one is awake, lay them on their side against your stomach and make skin-to-skin contact. Place their head on your forearm and cradle their belly with your hand.

Stomach colic hold

While they’re awake, position your baby facedown on your lap or across your arm and gently massage their back. If you’re sitting, you can also softly massage their belly with your legs.

Neck nestle colic carry

Rest your baby’s head between your chest and chin, sway back and forth, and softly serenade them with a slow song.

Slight incline

Help rock-a-bye some of the crying away by placing your baby in a swing with a slightly inclined seat. The rhythmic motions may help soothe your baby. You can also lay your little one on an inclined bouncer; the gentle bounces your baby makes when they wiggle and move may provide some comfort.

Safety note:

Be sure to monitor your baby at all times in any of the above positions. Once your little one has drifted off to dreamland, bring the baby to their crib and place them on their back as soon as possible. Remember, the best sleeping position for a baby after feeding, for naps, and at night, is always on their back on a flat, firm surface in a space without loose pillows, blankets, and toys.

How to help a colicky baby: Additional tips

Calming a colicky baby can take a bit of trial and error. Here are some other strategies that may help soothe your sweet pea.


Swaddling, or wrapping your baby in a cozy lightweight blanket like a burrito, may recreate the feel of the womb.

Keep your baby upright after feeding and burp them often

The upright position can give your baby’s tummy time to settle, and burping may help ease gas pressure.

Give gentle belly rubs

Gently rubbing your little one’s stomach in a clockwise direction may stimulate digestion and ease gas discomfort.

Use a white noise machine

A humming white noise machine, clothes dryer, vacuum, or fan may help calm your colicky baby by mimicking the sounds of the womb.

Lessen stimulation

Dim the lights and turn off the television and other electronics to create a more serene environment.

Change the scenery

Give your baby some fresh air by taking a walk or going for a drive. The car’s motion may also be comforting.

Offer them a pacifier

A pacifier may appease your baby’s sucking instinct and help them learn to self-soothe.

Consider an infant formula switch

Ask your doctor about switching to an infant formula designed to help manage colic, such as Nutramigen.

Indicators of a colicky baby

Not all crying indicates colic. But if your baby is not hungry, tired, or sick and cries inconsolably for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for over three weeks, they could have colic. Here are some other behaviors to watch for:

  • Loud, intense, and high-pitched cries
  • Crying may be accompanied by an arched back, clenched fists, a tense belly, and flailing arms and legs
  • Cries may worsen at night

Colic peaks around 6-8 weeks after birth and may be connected with gas, overstimulation, or cow’s milk protein allergy. In many cases, there is no identifiable trigger. While it can be upsetting for parents, colic generally isn’t a dangerous condition, as long as there is no underlying health condition such as an allergy.

If your baby is crying excessively, losing weight, or is experiencing additional issues such as reflux, diarrhea, or stool that appears white, red, or black, call your pediatrician.

Ask your doctor about Nutramigen® with Probiotic LGG

If you think your little one’s colic may be connected to an allergy to cow’s milk protein, talk to your doctor about switching to Nutramigen® with Probiotic LGG, a hypoallergenic infant formula that is clinically shown to manage colic due to cow's milk protein allergy in as quickly as 48 hours. It helps more babies overcome cow’s milk allergy and return to consuming regular milk in as soon as six months of feeding.§ It’s also lactose-free, which helps reduce the incidence of future allergies related to cow’s milk.

And no matter what type of Enfamil formula you choose, you can start receiving up to $400 in savings, exclusive rewards, and support by joining Enfamil Family Beginnings. Enjoy a variety of benefits, including discount checks and digital rebates, on Enfamil products. You may also be eligible for free samples.


Studied before the addition of DHA, ARA or LGG.
§Vs Nutramigen without Probiotic LGG®.
Asthma, eczema, rhinoconjunctivitis, and urticaria at 3 years compared to Nutramigen without LGG. Feeding began at 4 months of age or older in the study.

All information on Enfamil, including but not limited to information about health, medical conditions, and nutrition, is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for a healthcare professional's medical identification, advice, or management for specific medical conditions. You should seek medical care and consult your doctor or pediatrician for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment, care, or help because of information you have read on Enfamil.