Choosing a good baby swing for colic and reflux is an unnecessarily complicated topic.
I rarely say that. It’s usually the opposite – people tend to give advice on baby products willy-nilly.
Everything I read in my research for this piece seems convoluted and messy. There’s zero need for that because we know EXACTLY what works and what doesn’t.
The recommendations and tips you’ll see below are based on the years I’ve spent testing and reviewing baby products.
I’ll recommend 3 swings and 3 bouncers for soothing a fussy baby, and I’ll try to keep it all clear and concise.
Best baby swings for a colic baby
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Best baby swing for a colicky baby overall – Graco Sense2Soothe baby swing
The best-swing-for-colic-baby award goes to a Graco Sense2Soothe. It’s a unique baby swing with cutting-edge technology. Still, it doesn’t break the bank.
Defining features of the Graco Sense2Soothe:
- Cry detection sensors automatically initiate soothing functions
- Three recline positions of the seat
- Three swing speeds to choose from
- Two vibration settings to soothe colicky babies
- Adjustable seat position (multiple directions)
- Relaxing sounds so that the baby falls asleep faster
- You can choose from manual and automated controls
What makes it the best baby swing for reflux and colic
Sensors detect when the baby cries
Graco Sense2Soothe is the only swing on the list that adapts to the baby. It ‘recognizes’ crying through the built-in microphones and adjusts the soothing functions – vibration, sound, and movement.
It’s a game-changer because the soothing can happen with minimal (or no) intervention from you.
Second to none soothing – vibration, motion, and sound
It’s in the name – Graco Sense2Soothe is as well-rounded in soothing functions as a baby swing gets. There are two vibration modes and eight motions (three speed increments).
On top of it all, the cry detection technology is smart enough to choose the modes for you. That gives you unparalleled autonomy to get some rest or work done.
Easy to clean seat and frame
The infant seat insert is easily removable and you can wash it in a machine with no need for special detergents. It’s also breathable so it dries out quickly.
Even when the accidents spill over, the sewing will be easy to wipe and clean because the whole construction is plastic and metal.
Versatility of controls
This one will be especially important if you have more than one kid.
You have direct control over the settings when you need them, and can automate everything when you need a break or your other kids need attention.
Read my review of the Graco Sense2Soothe baby swing for more on this product.
Best premium baby swing for colic and reflux- 4Moms Mamaroo
Defining features of the 4Moms Mamaroo baby swing:
- Wide range of swing speeds and sound modes (five of both)
- Bluetooth-enabled – you can control it from your phone
- AC adapted included – works without batteries
- Angle is fully adjustable – up to a full recline
- Interactive overhead mobile to keep the baby entertained
- Top-tier materials of the seat pad are machine-washable
Why I love it
Full range of recline angles
The 4Moms Mamaroo swing is the only unit here that can be adjusted to any angle – up to a full recline.
For babies with no colic or reflux problems that might not be a big deal, but for our purposes today, it certainly is.
Because a colicky baby will be fussier and pickier about the position that soothes them.
The vast majority of swings are adjustable to three recline angles and there is a chance that none of them will work. There is no chance of that happening with the Mamaroo.
Five speed levels and motion modes
One of the five unique bounce and swaying motions is likely to work for any colicky baby.
It’s not just about the versatility – 4Moms is well known in the industry for the smooth, gliding motion modes, including the car ride, tree swing, kangaroo, wave, and rock-a-bye.
Once you find the mode that calms your baby, you can experiment with the speed settings and find the combo that works for you. If your little one has both colic and reflux episodes, there’s a good chance that the preferred settings will be different in the two scenarios.
I can’t be more precise than that because it’s individual, but the bottom line is this – motion of a swing works when executed well.
High-end materials and craftsmanship
Everything about the 4Moms Mamaroo is premium, including the fabric of the seat pad.
It’s soft to the touch yet durable enough to last through the frequent washings that inevitably follow reflux episodes.
Related reading: Full review of the Mamaroo swing | Mamaroo vs. Graco swing
Best natural motion swing for colicky babies & reflux – Munchkin Bluetooth swing
Defining features of the Munchkin Bluetooth baby swing:
- Smooth side-to-side motion emulates parents’ swaying
- Plays music and sounds – four classical themes and eight white noise options
- Bluetooth-enabled – allows you to play music from your phone
- Two-piece light construction – easy to assemble, dismantle and move
- Comes with a remote control as an alternative to the touch screen
- Generously padded and machine-washable seat pad
What makes it a good baby swing for reflux and colic
Natural motion to soothe and keep the baby calm
It’s typical for swings to feature complex soothing motion, and that’s fine as long as the baby doesn’t become dependent on them.
If that’s your concern, the swing from Munchkin might be your best bet because it’s designed to emulate the swaying of parents’ arms.
Like most of the better swings, it still allows you to choose from a range of settings, but that only applies to the range of motion, not the direction.
Light, easy to move, and store
At just 8.6 pounds, the Munchkin swing is the lightest swing here, and it’s not even close.
Both Graco Sense2Soothe and 4Moms Mamaroo weigh about 25 pounds. With that in mind, it’s fair to say that the Munchkin is the one truly portable swing on the list.
That makes it the obvious choice if you’re a busy parent who needs to do chores around the house while keeping an eye on the baby.
The simple, two-piece construction packs down almost flat and can easily fit under most beds.
Although not as luxuriously padded as Mamaroo or Graco, the fabric parts of the Munchkin swing are soft and gentle to the touch. Just as importantly, the infant bed insert is removable and machine washable.
Honorable mentions in the best baby swings for colic and reflux category
Below listed are a few swings that I believe are good choices for colic and reflux, but didn’t make the final cut.
- Fisher-Price Sweet Snugapuppy
- Graco DuetSoothe baby Swing and Rocker
- Fisher-Price Fawn Meadows Dual Motion
- Bright Starts Playful Pinwheels Bouncer
Reference reads about swing safety: when to stop using baby swing | can baby sleep in a swing | can baby swings lead to brain damage | how long can a newborn be in a swing
You can also read about the difference between a swing and a bouncer here.
Best bouncers for colicky babies and reflux
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Compared to swings, bouncers are typically lighter and “baby-powered,” meaning there is no external source of power (like AC). It also means they typically don’t have built-in vibration functionality and don’t play music or sounds.
There are expectations to that rule and I’ll get to that in a second.
First things first – who are bouncers for?
If you’re a busy parent and need something that will be easy to move from room to room, a bouncer is a viable alternative to baby swings.
The good ones are “springy” enough to be helpful for colicky babies…maybe not as helpful as the best baby swings for reflux that we listed above, but still helpful. Some of them even feature vibration, which is a huge plus.
Let’s go over our top 3 picks – best overall, best premium, and best budget pick.
Best bouncer for colic overall – Babybjorn Balance Soft
Stand-out features of the Babybjorn bouncers:
- Sleek and lightweight frame – weighs only five pounds
- Recline angle adjustable to three positions
- Anti-slip surface on the contact points of the frame
- The seat cover removes effortlessly, it’s machine washable and dryer-friendly
- The fasteners have no lock-in buckles – they’re held in place by button-like clips
Why I love this Babybjorn
Sleek, light, easy to move
This Babybjorn is the sleekest bouncer I know. If you’re a minimalist, this is where your search ends.
The initial setup is a breeze (you just open the box and it pops into place).
The weight of the unit can range from 2.8-7 lbs for the Babybjorn Bliss (mesh being the lightest and cotton the ‘heaviest’). The Balance Soft weighs 5 pounds.
Solid, anti-skid frame
The difference in portability between the versions isn’t significant because they use the same light frame for the Balance Soft and Bliss.
Still, the construction is robust enough to inspire confidence. Unlike similar (read: lesser) bouncers, it won’t slide around hardwood floors or tiles – courtesy of the anti-slip rubber on the bottom of the frame.
The lightweight construction and portability are a massive advantage over swings if your colicky baby tends to fuss when they’re moved.
“Springy” enough to rival swing motions
The problem with most bouncers that claim to be baby-powered is they don’t work well enough with newborns. The frames tend to be too rigid to maintain kinetic energy and the pivotal points are pushed too far back.
This Babybjorn features a thin, flexible frame and the pivotal point is at the very front. That means it performs well when it comes to maintaining motion, which is crucial for soothing a fussy baby.
Gentle, durable fabrics
Babybjorn did a good job of finding that sweet spot between gentle and durable fabrics.
When it comes to removing and washing the seat, this bouncer has no real rival. You just unbuckle it from the frame throw it in the washing machine and tumble it dry.
You can go from a messy bouncer to completely clean and dry within 60-90 minutes.
Best premium bouncer for colic babies – Bloom Baby Coco Go 3-in-1
Stand-out features of the Bloom Baby Coco Go
- 3-in-1 functionality– a bouncer, lounger, or stationary seat
- Natural materials – solid birch and organic cotton
- The harness is five-point and features a smart buckle
- Certified to be free of any harmful chemicals
- The base comes with retractable feet and a rubber anti-slip surface
- Concealed vibration unit – two modes
Why I love it
Vibration reduces colic by up to 97%
This Coco is the closest a bouncer can get to the effectiveness of a baby swing in terms of helping colicky babies.
The reason is simple – it’s the only bouncer here that vibrates, and that’s a huge deal.
Research suggests that vibration can reduce colic severity is up to 97 % of babies (as reported in this study).
Because the vibration unit is concealed, this Bloom is a great combo between the simplicity of a bouncer and the vibration functionality of the swing.
Luxurious natural materials – wood and cotton
If I had to choose one, this bouncer is the most stylish baby product here. It’s the kind of conversation starter you typically see on the covers of interior design magazines.
The construction is a snazzy blend of a black metal frame and solid birch wood, while the seat is 100% percent organic cotton.
The padding is rich and comfy even for smaller babies. If you feel that your baby is too small, get the newborn insert.
This Coco is certified to be free of a range of harmful chemicals, including lead, PVC, formaldehyde, phthalates, flame retardants, and BPAs.
To be fair, that doesn’t mean that the other products we talked about are made using dangerous chemicals…US standards for baby products are pretty strict.
What it does mean, however, is that Coco went above and beyond to remove any trace of chemicals and get their products certified.
If you are a safety-conscious parent, this might be the decision point.
Best budget bouncer for colic – Baby Delight Alpine Deluxe
If you are a conservative buyer this section is for you – it’s where I presented my budget pick.
The Baby Delight Alpine Deluxe is stripped of frills without compromising the functional aspects that can help with reflux and colic.
Stand-out features of the Baby Delight Alpine Deluxe
- Includes a removable cover (washable) and a mesh insert
- Light portable frame – weighs only 4.5 pounds
- Three recline positions
- It folds flat and packs into a carry bag
- Comes with a toy bar (detachable)
- Features a three-point harness
Why I like it
This bouncer costs about 50-70 % less than any of the products above.
You can look at the low cost in one of two ways – as an experiment to see if bouncer helps or as the ultimate solution that will save you money.
In the first scenario, you can get it to figure out if the bouncing motion alone does the trick. If it works, you can choose to get something more substantial and keep the Alpine bouncer for trips.
Of course, if it alone helps, there’s nothing wrong with saving a Benjamin or two.
What to look for in a baby swing or bouncer for colic and reflux
You can’t prevent colic or make it go away altogether, but you can help a fussy baby by creating a soothing environment.
In the section below, we’ll go over some of the crucial factors to look for in a baby swing or a bouncer, just in case you don’t like any of my recommendations.
Swaying and shushing the baby in your hands is the old-school approach to soothing a colicky baby.
But only the affected parents know how frustrating it gets, especially if it doesn’t work right away.
That’s where a swing or a bouncer that imitates the swaying motion comes in.
Getting into the reasons why motion helps probably deserves a whole separate write-up. It’s a complex, poorly-understood topic.
For our reasons today, it’s only important to note that motion does help.
Vibration of a swing
The body of evidence proving that vibration helps with colic is more specific than any other swing feature, including motion.
According to this study published in Pediatric Research, vibration can reduce the severity of colic episodes in 97% of babies, which is nothing short of amazing.
What it means for you
If you’re a parent of a baby with severe colic, a swing or a bouncer that also vibrates is more likely to help.
Durable, yet gentle fabrics of the swing seat cover
Babies with reflux will easily go through a bunch muzzies a day. Cleaning that “vomit-risk” area around their neck means moving them more than you would a baby with no reflux or colic.
For the fabric of the seat pad that means two things:
- It must be gentle enough to rub against baby’s skin without irritating them
- It must be durable enough to take the frequent washing without wear and tear
Based on my experience, no more than one in five baby swings gets that balance right.
Easy to clean, machine-washable baby seat pad
For the same reasons as above, the seat pad of the swing MUST be easily removable and machine washable, and most of the better ones are.
For this guide, I favored swings with seats that are easier to remove and dry faster.
Generously padded infant seat
When the baby spews after a feed, you’ll need to prop them up and hold them upright.
Once their tummy is calm, positioning their head at a slight angle will keep them from getting upset again. Some baby swings just don’t do a good job with that – it’s either because the recline angles are not quite right or the padding isn’t “rich” enough for comfortable positioning.
It’s often those slight position adjustments that make the difference when soothing a colicky baby – all the Top 6 swings and bouncers on our list tick that box.
Nature sounds, music, and white noise
White noise, music, and nature sounds don’t directly affect colic – it’s more about catching the baby’s attention and calming them down after an episode.
In other words, it’s a good-to-have, not a must-have.
Swings and baby sleep
The AAP recommends against using swings for sleep, which goes for all sitting devices.
Now, I know that might not be good news for those parents whose babies love falling asleep in the swing. But here’s the rule – a sleeping baby should be on a firm, flat surface, which means that you use the swing and allow them to be drowsy in it but move them to a bassinet or crib just before they get to sleep.
Overhead mobile to keep the baby entertained
An overhead removable toy bar is ideal for taking the baby’s mind off their gassy tummies.
If I had to choose a winner and the best baby swing for reflux in that category (toy bar), I’d go with the Mamaroo because of the reversible toy balls.
First of all, we know that a newborn baby barely sees any color and, secondly, constant distraction and too much color can overstimulate them once they do have good colors vision (at about 4-5 months as per the AOA*).
*American Optometric Association
What this means for you
It means that you should pay close attention to whether the presence of overhead toys triggers or calms a colic episode. With toys bars like that of the Mamaroo, you can limit their exposure to color simply by reversing the balls to the black and white side.
FAQs about colic, reflux, and baby swings
What is the best sleeping position for a baby with colic?
Stomach and side-lying are soothing for most colic babies. Neither of the two is, however, a viable sleep position because babies should only sleep on their backs during the first year.
You can also try soothing a fussy baby by placing them belly-down on your forearm.
It’s not universal, but the gentle pressure helps in some colic babies. This position is also known as the ‘airplane hold’ or ‘colic carry.’
Does vibration help with colic?
Yes, vibration does help with colic. Research shows that vibration lowers colic severity in 97% of babies.
The most effective is lower frequency vibration combined with sound (source).
Will a baby swing help colic?
Yes, there is a good chance that a baby swing will help with colic. The reasons are a combination of vibration, swaying, and sound.
What is the best swing for a colicky baby?
The best baby swings for colicky babies are Graco Sense2Soothe (overall), 4Moms Mamaroo (premium), and Munchkin Bluetooth swing (natural motion).
In my opinion, these three are the most well-rounded in areas that can help calm colicky babies, like swing speed, nature sounds, and vibration.
Takeaways and resume
It did take some elbow grease to find those few products that perfectly balance the features you want to see in a baby swing for reflux and colic.
It was well worth it because we have some clear winners – both in the swing and bouncer category.
Some brands that I expected to see in the Top 6 (like Fisher-Price) didn’t make the cut, but we might see a change in one of the upcoming updates.
Resume: The best baby swing for reflux and colic is the Graco Sense2Soothe (click here to see its price on Amazon), and the top-rated bouncer is Babybjorn Balance Soft (follow this link to check its price on Amazon).
Paul is a passionate dad who founded Upside Dad to share his parenting journey with other new parents. He graduated from Concordia University and worked as a test engineer for over a decade. Paul loves dad jokes and craft beer.
Learn more about Paul and Upside Dad here.