When a child is suffering from stomach discomfort, parents are usually at a loss to help them and ask can I give my baby gripe water? They can’t tell you what hurts, and you can’t decipher their cries to figure it out.
When a child suffers from colic, a condition where otherwise healthy babies cry for an extended period of time for multiple days, the family also suffers. Sleepless nights, fussing, screaming and crying become hard to handle and never seem to end.
How can you provide your child with relief when nothing seems to work? One tried and true remedy is the use of gripe water.
Can I Give My Baby Gripe Water? Answer: Yes.
An American scientist in London, England accidentally discovered gripe water in the 1800s. Since then, it has been used for years to help soothe the aches and pains of children with stomach discomfort. It first spread through Europe, but has quickly made its way across the globe.
Gripe water is generally sterile water fortified with herbs. This combination is used to help calm the stomach and treat aches such as gas, colic, reflux, hiccups and other stomach issues. It has also been known to help soothe pain caused by teething.
Where to Find It
Gripe water can be found at most local pharmacies, health food stores or big box stores and is available in many brands. When choosing a gripe water brand for your baby, it is best to check the ingredients. Though uncommon, some older gripe water brands contain alcohol and should not be used by children. Some brands also contain dairy products, sucrose or citric acid, and these brands should also be avoided.
Dairy products can lead to further discomfort in a child if they suffer from lactose intolerance, sucrose is known to cause tooth decay and citric acid can cause nausea and vomiting.
Differences Among Brands
Not all brands contain ingredients that should be avoided. There are plenty of other brands available that are safe to use on children from birth. These brands often contain one or a combination of several herbal extracts like fennel, ginger, peppermint, aloe, blackthorn, lemon balm, caraway, cinnamon, clove bud oil, chamomile, dill weed oil, and cardamom seed oil.
All of these herbs have been used for centuries to help with stomach upset, and they have been proven to help infants as well.
Gripe water works for an infant’s digestive issues because the herbs have a calming effect on the whole digestive system. Since doctors don’t seem to know what exactly causes colic, the medications they provide tend to hit or miss. Since gripe water is known to relieve pain, the chances of it helping soothe your baby are greater.
How to Administer
If your baby won’t take gripe water by his or herself, you can use gripe water instead of tap or sterile water when mixing formula. Your baby will not be able to tell the difference and will consume the formula like normal. However, the pain of colic will not follow the feeding because the herbs will counter the digestive irritation. If you are breastfeeding, try spooning the gripe water into your baby’s mouth if he or she will not take a bottle.
Gripe water should not replace the use of regular water. Though it is an all natural product and no risk of overdosing, there is still a correct dosage for children of all ages that should be followed. Check your gripe water’s label for correct dosage instructions. And since it’s all natural, there are no known side effects.
At Home Remedy
If you prefer, gripe water can be made at home. This saves money and you can ensure your child is only given natural ingredients. Ginger is good to use because it has been shown to help with certain gastric problems such as nausea. Fennel is another good ingredient because it is thought to help avoid intestinal spasms and cure indigestion. One rather safe ingredient is peppermint because it lessons the amount of gastric acid reflux. The use of lemon balm will also help your baby get good sleep when include it with the aforementioned ingredients.
Keep in mind that while gripe water does have a high success rater, there is a chance it may not help soothe your child. Each baby is unique and their bodies react differently to certain things. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about gripe water, it is always best to check with your child’s physician.