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    Gripe Water: Is it Safe for Your Baby?
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    Gripe water for babies
    11 March 2015

    Gripe Water: Is it Safe for Your Baby?

    7 mins read
    Food & Nutrition
    for Baby
    16.2K engaged
    Gripe water can be good for your baby, only if you know how to pick the right one. There are some considerations that you need to keep in mind before using gripe water, as a remedy to soothe your colicky baby.


    In this article

    Gripe Water Ingredients
    Factors to Examine Before Giving Gripe Water to Your Baby
    Is it Safe to Give Gripe Water to Babies?
    Benefits of Gripe Water
    Side-Effects of Gripe Water

    Mothers dealing with colicky babies are usually suggested many solutions for their little ones’ relief. One such common remedy is gripe water. This herbal remedy is known to deal with many issues related to babies, like gastrointestinal problems, colic, teething pain and many other stomach-related ailments. This came into popularity around the 1850s with English nannies using it as a home remedy for babies and soon started becoming known in the US as a sold prescription medicine comprising ginger, fennel, sugar, alcohol, and chamomile. It is sold in many countries as a herbal supplement, which is both alcohol and sucrose-free.

    Gripe Water Ingredients

    Gripe water made with herbal ingredients is a big hit among parents. However, there are many mothers who still wonder if gripe water is safe for their baby. Gripe water is safe to use, the condition being you prepare it with right herbal ingredients. Fennel, ginger, cinnamon, chamomile, and liquorice are some of the common ingredients of gripe water. Earlier, ingredients like dill seed oil, alcohol, sugar, sodium bicarbonate were used to make gripe water. Nowadays, the use of alcohol has been discontinued to prepare gripe water. Some brands use glycerine and mint oil in gripe water and it is even available in different flavours. However, before giving gripe water to your baby, you must check with a doctor. Never self-diagnose or self-prescribe.

    Factors to Examine Before Giving Gripe Water to Your Baby

    After checking with your doctor, you can give gripe water to your baby. But there are certain things that need to be kept in mind.
    • Be on the lookout for allergies:

      There can be cases where your baby is intolerant to any of the ingredients used in gripe water. This can make the situation worse, so you need to watch out for any kind of allergic reaction your baby has to gripe water. Some of the symptoms you need to check for include watery eyes, vomiting, hives, swelling in tongue or lips, trouble in swallowing, or diarrhoea.
    • Be thorough with the instructions:

      Since its inception, different brands have used varied ingredients in their gripe water; they also come with different instructions. Before giving it to your baby make sure you read all the instructions carefully and follow the steps accordingly.
    • Read all the ingredients:

      Be sure of not picking any gripe water brand that has sodium bicarbonate as an ingredient. This can have a negative impact on the pH levels of your little one’s tummy. Also ignore vegetable carbon i.e. Charcoal, as it can cause blackened stool or constipation. The best option is gripe water which is made from herbal oils.
    • Check the expiry date:

      This tip does not merely apply for gripe water, but for anything that you buy from a drugstore around you. Babies are very fragile, with not-so-mature immunity; so extra care needs to be given to whatever they consume.
    • Go for trusted brands:

      These days, due to their abundance, every other brand is coming with their own versions of gripe water. However, one can never be sure of their authenticity. So, make sure you go with a brand that is trusted and won’t harm your baby. Instead of going by the word-of-mouth, consult a doctor and pick a brand that he trusts.

      Giving gripe water to a baby

    Alternative Methods to Deal with Stomach Issues

    Along with gripe water, if you still want to be sure that your baby deals with less gastrointestinal issues or stomach aches; you can try certain steps to calm him.
    • Give him a nice massage:

      A soft and efficient rubdown would be a great help in calming your colicky baby. This will also contribute to strengthening the baby-mother bond.
    • Swaddle him:

      All you need to do is just wrap him up in a warm and cosy blanket. Now, rock him and sing a lullaby to soothe him.
    • Switch formulas:

      In many cases, a formula that does not suit your baby can be the root cause of all that gassy discomfort. So, switch from using a normal cow’s milk formula to one without it. Some studies have reported that hypoallergenic whey-hydrolyzed formulas bring down colic symptoms in babies, but the drawback is that it can be costly.
    • Give some tummy pressure:

      In many cases, it has been found, that when pressure is applied on a colicky baby’s tummy, there are higher chances of him calming down. So, try holding him facing down on your lap or make sit on your lap with his tummy against your hand, then pat his back or gently rub it.

      Massaging a baby

    Is it Safe to Give Gripe Water to Babies?

    There is no scientific evidence that declares gripe water as unsafe for babies. However, everyone has different opinions. For some it works, while for others it may not. But some of the ingredients of gripe water are known to harm the baby. Sodium bicarbonate present in gripe water can result in milk alkali syndrome in babies. Earlier, alcohol was included in gripe water, as it had a soothing effect on babies, but now it is not recommended, as it may lead to addiction in babies. Sugar, which is another ingredient of gripe water, may lead to decay of gums. Some brands even use dill seed oil in gripe water, which helps cure indigestion, may result in allergies in some babies. Therefore, keeping in view the safety of babies, use of alcohol, sodium bicarbonate, and artificial sweeteners in gripe water has been discouraged.

    Benefits of Gripe Water

    Gripe water is an age-old remedy for treating health-related problems in babies. Find out how this liquid is good for your baby:
    1. It solves problems related to teething:

      When the teething process starts in babies, they tend to cry a lot because of the pain. They also breathe irregularly while crying and as a result, they take in more air which leads to the wind. Giving gripe water to babies help in dealing with the wind and comfort them.
    2. Treats acid reflux:

      Sodium bicarbonate neutralizes stomach acid. Sodium bicarbonate, being one of the major ingredients of gripe water, treats heartburn in babies.
    3. Helps a baby sleep peacefully:

      If your baby is cranky and is not sleeping properly, you may give him gripe water. Giving him gripe water will stop his cries and he will sleep better.
    4. Treats colic:

      Gripe water is basically used to treat colic in babies. This remedy has been used by generations. The exact cause of colic is babies not known, however, it may happen from abdominal easiness which results from gas. Gripe water solves gas problems, thereby providing relief from colic.

    Side Effects of Gripe Water

    There is no harm in giving gripe water to babies. However, it may cause an allergy in some. After giving gripe water to your baby, check if he shows any signs of allergy. Swollen lips or tongue, watery eyes, hives, change in breathing pattern, itchiness, and vomiting are some allergies that a baby may develop. If you notice any of these symptoms in your baby after feeding gripe water to your baby, discontinue its use and seek medical attention immediately.

    Gripe water has its share of benefits and side effects. But, if it is made with right ingredients, there is no harm. The next time when you deal with your colicky baby at home, choose the right gripe water for him and also try these calming down strategies. Most importantly, try not to get frustrated if the baby does not stop crying; it is merely a phase and your little one will soon outgrow it.

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