One of the most annoying problems of newborn is abdominal colic. New moms often do not understand the true cause of a crying baby. Many home remedies are recommended for soothing the colic. The most popular is gripe water-the herbal remedy for treating colic and teething problems.
Initially it was used extensively by the English grandmas in 1850, later it become famous in USA where it was prepared from bicarbonate, alcohol, dill, fennel, ginger and chamomile. Nowadays gripe water is sold as an herbal supplement devoid of sucrose and alcohol. Sodium bicarbonate is generally the chief ingredient (though you should avoid this) and dill and fennel still continues to be important part.
What Is Gripe Water?
Traditionally, gripe water composed of alcohol, dill seed oil and sodium bicarbonate. Though now alcohol is not generally used in manufacturing gripe water, yet sodium bicarbonate remains the active ingredient in many gripe water brands. However, one should opt for gripe water that is natural and made of organic herbs. Ginger, cardamom, lemon balm and fennel are the popular herbs that go in gripe water along with glycerin that lends it a sweet taste.
Is Gripe Water Safe For My Baby?
The safety of giving gripe water to babies depends on what it contains. Those containing alcohol are not good for baby’s consumption as it is unhealthy.
Originally discovered by an American William Woodward in 1840, gripe water was as an effective remedy for treating baby’s colic. It was and is still largely; approved by the physicians and was used for relieving distressed babies. Since it contained Dill and bicarbonate of soda, gripe water was helpful in breaking down the trapped bubbles of gas that caused colic along with wind. It’s use in babies has been considered safe though some do debate over the safety of sodium bicarbonate in it.
When Can I Give Gripe Water to My Baby?
Gripe water can be safely given to the baby as early as one month after the birth. Since milk is the main food of the tiny toddler, flatulence, gastric trouble and bloating are very common with babies. Gripe water is a unique herbal preparation effective in treating these tummy ailments.
How Does Gripe Water Work?
Natural gripe water is made from herbs like aloe vera, anise seeds, cardamom, chamomile, dill, fennel, ginger, lemon balm, purified water, and glycerin – all of which help the baby to pass gas. Gripe water aids in the digestion, soften the muscles, and make the baby feel comfortable if he is gassy. The gripe water helps in getting rid of gas or wind.
Gripe Water for Colic
Colic is the most distressing situation for both the baby and the mother. Gripe water is effective only in relieving colic in babies, and has been used since centuries now. If the baby’s is crying due to colic, giving gripe water is useful but if the distressed baby is not relieved even after administering gripe water, then it is clear that the cause is something else. So, without delay consult your pediatrician for advice. Read more about Colic here.
What Is The Best Time To Give Gripe Water To A Baby?
The ideal time to give gripe water is immediately after a feed because this is the time when digestive system begins to disintegrate the milk enzymes and oftentimes spasms in gut is common. Take a recommended dose of the gripe water in dropper and squeeze it in baby’s mouth or you can also add in the feed.
Woodwards gripe water was the pioneer in the field, and is now followed by other brands such as Hamdard’s gripe water, Dentinox, etc are also available and are effective in mitigating the discomfort.
Tips To Choose The Right Gripe Water
You must consult a doctor before giving your baby gripe water and make sure to stick to the recommended dosage only Here are some simple tips that will help you in selecting the best gripe water for your tiny bundle of joy:
- Avoid gripe water that contains sodium bicarbonate as it can disturb the ph balance of your baby’s tiny tummy. Other ingredients to watch out for are such as gluten, alcohol, dairy, or parabens
- Avoid the gripe water containing vegetable carbon or charcoal as it result in blackened stool and constipation
- Use the ones prepared from natural herbal oils as they are the safest ones
- Avoid gripe water preparations that contain sucrose as it can cause tooth decay. Look for brands containing lycasin, as this hydrogenated glucose syrup does not cause tooth decay
- Read the ingredient list carefully before using the gripe water
- Refrain from giving gripe water to babies less than 1 months of age as their digestive system is not yet developed
- You baby might be allergic to any of the ingredients so look out for any of these symptoms such as itchiness, watery eyes, difficulty in swallowing, swelling on tongue or lips, vomiting, diarrhea or difficulty in breathing. If any of these symptoms are found after giving gripe water, immediately consult your doctor
Mixing Gripe Water With Formula
Gripe water has the maximum effect when given as itself, so do not mix it with formula or breast milk. Most gripe waters have a pleasant, sweet taste and is liked by babies.
Other Alternative To Treat Colic
If you feel gripe water is not providing sufficient relief to your gassy baby, here are some easy and simple alternative to follow:
- Change The Formula Brand: A simple option to get rid of colic is by switching from standard formula similar to cow milk one that is not identical to cow’s milk. According to pediatricians hypoallergenic whey-hydrolyzed formula is helpful in lowering discomfort and colic in babies
- Massage The Baby: Massage is another simple technique to soothe colicky baby. It is also an occasion to strengthen baby-mommy bonding. So, whenever your baby cries, give a nice soothing massage immediately
- Try Swaddling: You can even wrap your tiny, little bundle in a warm cuddly blanket and hold him tight. Carrying the baby in your arm and cuddling him tight provides additional soothing sensation. Read more about swaddling a baby here.
- Apply Tummy Pressure: Applying pressure on the abdomen is also helpful in relieving colic in distressed babies. Put your baby facing down or sitting up in lap with her tummy facing down and rub the back gently
If the doctor suggests so, you can safely use gripe water for your baby and be sure for a prompt relief from colic!