When it comes to newborns, cramps are common because their digestive system is not fully developed. Cramping and gases are painful for both the baby and the parents because crying is the last thing a parent wants to hear. If crying persists for several hours a day, that may be a sign of colic. Even though the cause is unknown, it is thought that it is worsened by abdominal discomfort and gases.
The good news is that this condition is treatable. To get rid of these problems, doctors often offer different remedies. They may suggest the usage of gripe water for colic. In case you have never heard about it, read on to find an answer to your question ‘What is gripe water?’.
What is Gripe Water?
Gripe water is a type of herbal remedy which is available in liquid form to make the swallowing easier. There are many variations, however, most formulas are made of sodium carbonate and various herbs, such as ginger, fennel, chamomile, licorice, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, peppermint, dill, or lemon balm.
All of the above-mentioned herbs help with digestion in theory. That’s why the remedy should help soothe the baby’s abdominal pain caused by the inability to pass gas. Also, it is thought to make teething and hiccups easier.
How Does Gripe Water Work?
Gripe water has a long history of usage. However, it wasn’t always like it is today. The original formula which moms and nannies used in the 1850s contained alcohol. People used to think that giving alcohol to babies was a safe way to make them relaxed (nowadays we know better and are aware of its potential dangers). Today, people who swear by this formula say that certain ingredients such as licorice, peppermint, dill, and ginger can help relieve your baby’s discomfort caused by gas. Colic is thought to be caused by gas in babies’ stomach so that is the reason why doctors recommend the usage of gripe water for colic.
Is Gripe Water Safe to Use?
There isn’t a universal answer to this question simply because there are many different formulas of gripe water, each with a different list of ingredients. Everything depends on the brand. Just because it is always better to be safe than sorry, it is advisable to consult with your doctor before giving any remedy to your baby, be it homemade or over-the-counter. Babies are fragile creatures and everything given to them should be double-checked. Anything that contains alcohol is not a good choice for your baby. Moreover, certain brands which advertise their products as ‘natural’ or even ‘homeopathic’ may contain various ingredients which may not be completely natural or safe to use.
Gripe water made with sucrose, or to put it simply, table sugar, is not dangerous for your little one but it may not be the best choice. It is not ideal to get your baby used to be calmed with sugar because it is not the healthiest option out there. Always consult your doctors before trying to soothe your baby with anything similar. Also, make sure to tell your doctor what works or what doesn’t work for your baby in details.
The last thing to keep in mind is that even if your doctor says that a specific brand of gripe water for colic, you should never give it to your baby in large quantities and it should never be used as a dietary substitute, always as a supplement. Newborn babies and infants should be only fed with breast milk, formula, or the combination of both.
How to Use Gripe Water
As mentioned above, always ask your doctor for a recommendation. Afterward, feel free to follow these tips:
- Always carefully read the ingredients. Be careful to read even the smallest print because your child’s wellbeing is in question. You should look out for charcoal, which is usually labeled as ‘vegetable carbon’ due to its ability to cause constipation. Also, make sure not to buy imported products and products which contain alcohol.
- Pay attention to instructions. Just like different brands offer different ingredients, different brands offer different instructions for use. Understandably, you would like to start giving the remedy to your baby immediately after getting it because colic can cause great discomfort. However, make sure to read whatever is written on the package in detail because the information on the box is crucial. If you are using gripe water for colic, certain brands recommend waiting until your baby turns 1 month before using it. Also, almost every brand has a different opinion on the duration of the use, so read the instructions and also get professional medical advice to achieve the best results.
- Beware of allergies. Since the ingredients of gripe water are natural, they are not likely to cause allergic reactions. However, babies’ bodies are fragile and they may react to anything new introduced to them. You should be careful about this and look for any potential symptoms of allergy. If you notice watery eyes, itchiness, hives, swelling of lips or tongue, vomiting, diarrhea, or troubles breathing and swallowing, make sure to immediately stop with the remedy and ask for urgent help at the hospital.
Best Gripe Water Brands to Consider
Little Remedies Gripe Water
The soothing formula of this brand will make your baby’s stomach feel better in no time. It will help with the discomfort caused by colic, hiccups, or teething. Natural ingredients such as fennel seed extract and ginger root extract work along with agave vegetable glycerin to form the best possible remedy. This brand offers a dietary supplement with a gluten-free formula to minimize the possibility of allergies. The great news is that it also comes with a dispenser so your little one can take it as soon as you get it. Also, this brand of gripe water is equipped with two portable bottles which you could use for spontaneous trips to the grocery store or longer travels.
Larabee’s Naturals Baby Gripe Water
Your baby will finally feel at ease with this amazing natural formula. Lemon balm, fennel, and chamomile are there to ensure that your baby gets what’s best from nature. This brand of gripe water is recommended by pediatricians, which is always a big advantage. It is safe to be given to babies which are as young as two weeks. Also, there are no additives so it is among the healthiest treatments for colic out there.
Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water
Now that you have got an answer to your question ‘What is gripe water and how it is used?’, here’s a brand recommendation your little one will love. If you would like to soothe your baby’s pain and discomfort and get rid of the constant crying caused by colic, this brand’s gentle formula will work quickly to resolve all of your issues. It is approved by pediatricians, which serves as proof of its quality, besides many positive reviews. Ginger and fennel are the main ingredients of this amazing 100% vegan formula. Of course, it is also free from any additives or dangerous ingredients, such as alcohol or parabens, so it promises great results.
Wellements Organic Nighttime Gripe Water
Colic can be extremely annoying for both your baby and yourself and it may keep your little one from getting a good night sleep. That is, of course, not good for its overall health, so you could try incorporating Wellements Organic Nighttime Gripe Water into your baby’s diet. It is designed to soothe any discomfort your child may experience, such as hiccups or symptoms that cause colic and help your baby sleep through the night. Chamomile flower, organic ginger root extract, and organic fennel seed extract will improve your baby’s sleep and ensure it gets enough rest without being bothered by any discomfort. This organic, USDA approved gripe water formula is free from preservatives, artificial colors, and alcohol and can be given to babies no younger than one month.
Gripe Water Alternatives
If you are not comfortable with using gripe water for colic, or if your baby doesn’t respond well to it, there are various other ways to treat it in small children, such as:
- Antigas drops. Some parents reported that antigas drops worked better for their little ones than was the case with gripe water. Those drops usually contain simethicone which helps soothe your babies’ pain by breaking up gas bubbles. Your doctor will recommend the best choice according to your needs, with Little Remedies and Mylicon being the most popular choices.
- Double-check your diet. In case you are giving breast milk to your baby, it may be a good idea to track your eating habits because something you are consuming may be the cause of your baby’s discomfort. Common food items which can increase the amount of gas are dairy, caffeine, or beans. Try avoiding them for one week and see if there is any change in your baby’s behavior.
- Check your baby’s formula. The choice of the formula you are giving to your baby may be the cause of unwanted gas. The reason is simple – if you prepare it with a lot of shaking and stirring, bubbles are going to form and that could lead to your baby’s upset stomach. You could try changing the current formula to ready-made ones or some varieties of powder mixes.
- Give a relaxing massage. A nice massage can be very soothing to your little one and can help ease the symptoms of colic. You could use baby oil, just make sure that you are gentle enough during this process. Aside from bringing relief, it will allow you to bond with your bundle of joy.
- Swaddling. This method is proven to make your baby calmer and more relaxed. Get a snuggly warm blanket and try rocking your baby back and forth for an even bigger sensation.
- Probiotics. Some research has shown that infants who are given daily probiotic drops have fewer problems with gas and diarrhea. However, you should always consult your doctor when it comes to giving any remedies to your baby.
- Apply pressure to your baby’s tummy. Babies with colic can find relief if some pressure is placed on their tummies. To do so, lay your baby down or put it in your lap with her belly against the palm of your hand and then simply rub its tummy while at the same time patting its back.
- Bicycling your little one’s legs. Moving your baby’s legs in a bicycle wheel motion can help sort out the problems caused by gas. However, make sure not to overdo it and stop whenever your baby starts to feel uncomfortable.
- Pure chamomile tea. Some doctors recommend giving your baby warm or cool (never hot) tea, which can be effective in treating symptoms of colic. Even though it is a natural ingredient, make sure to get your doctor’s approval first. Also, moms who are breastfeeding are sometimes advised to drink chamomile tea to relieve their baby’s discomfort indirectly.
Baby Planet Overview
If your little one is experiencing discomfort in its tummy or is constantly crying, it may be experiencing the symptoms of colic. You could use gripe water for colic, among other methods. If the right brand is chosen, gripe water is a simple and natural remedy which will help soothe and relax your baby. Natural ingredients, such as ginger, dill, lemon balm, fennel, and peppermint may work wonders for your baby’s overall well-being and the treatment of colic. It is crucial to get your doctor’s approval and follow the instructions to maximize your baby’s security even though the ingredients are natural. Little Remedies, Zurabee’s, Mommy’s Bliss, and Wellments are among the most popular brands of gripe water. However, if gripe water is not something which your little one likes, there are alternative methods you could try, such as antigas drops, swaddling, giving a massage, pure chamomile tea, applying pressure to your baby’s tummy, etc.