When To Give Gripe Water To Babies
It's late at night, and you've checked to see if the baby is sleeping soundly. For a Mom or Dad, making sure that a baby is comfortably sleeping is the top priority. However, a baby's crying can shatter the evening's peace and quiet.
You check if he's hungry, wet, carry him and sing him to sleep, but nothing works.
What could it be?
Yes, it could be colic.
They say giving gripe water to babies is an old wive's tale – or something that technology has already superseded.
However, gripe water is more than just a home remedy for colic. Parents also use it to relieve teething pain and other signs of discomfort in babies.
So when to give gripe water to babies?
What Is Gripe Water?
Gripe water is a homemade concoction used widely by Moms and grandmothers in the late 1850s. It originated in England, but later became popular in the US and other countries.
Gripe water is made up of alcohol, dill seed oil, chamomile, fennel, sodium bicarbonate, and ginger. In some cases, lemon is added for some freshness.
Today's gripe water is devoid of alcohol and sucrose but still contains the rest of the herbs and spices. The important ingredients of this herbal remedy are ginger, cardamom, fennel as well as lemon balm. These have many pain-relieving properties which are gentle enough for babies.
What causes colic?
Colic is common in babies because their systems are still adjusting to the process of digestion. Additionally, since their primary means of getting milk is through sucking, air naturally goes into their bodies along with the milk.
When this air accumulates inside the abdomen, it causes pain and discomfort – the same way that gas is pretty uncomfortable for adults.
How Does Gripe Water Work?
Gripe water is a natural solution to help infants and babies get rid of gas in their tummies. It's a product of years of experimentation with natural herbs and other things that our grandmothers could find around them.
To this day, there is no one recipe for gripe water, you can find different ones from various regions and each one's nana will say it's the best formula.
The basic ingredient for gripe water is cardamom, dill, fennel, and ginger. Other concoctions use aloe vera, lemon balm, and even anise seeds. Some add bicarbonate of soda to help the baby pass gas a lot faster.
Accumulated gas causes discomfort to these youngsters and gripe water, in small doses, at particular periods, can help them feed, or go to sleep much faster.
Naturally, if parents feed babies properly, they will sleep well, wake up happy, and tend to become less fussy.
Is Gripe Water Safe For Babies?
Gripe water is safe for babies, even two-week-old infants, but only if the gripe water has the correct formulation.
As mentioned above, old versions of gripe water have alcohol in them, and this is bad for babies. Infants do not have the enzymes necessary to digest or break down alcohol.
Not to mention, babies will have adverse reactions to alcohol in their system.
Mommies better read the labels of commercial gripe water before buying. You must make sure that there's no alcohol in the drops you will be giving to your baby.
Pediatricians are not against the use of gripe water or oils that parents rub onto the baby's tummy. They may recommend a specific brand of gripe water just to be on the safe side.
If, on the other hand, you have a family recipe for gripe water, you can also try to use that in small doses.
Relief from colic and other abdominal discomfort occur in as little as a few minutes to an hour. However, there are different things to take note of when using gripe water for colic.
When Is The Best Time To Give Gripe Water?
If you're wondering when is the best time to give your baby gripe water, there really is no correct answer.
In some cases, it would be good to give the baby gripe water after feeding since this will keep them from having tummy aches due to gas. The remedy will help your baby digest the milk enzymes in his food.
However, there will be instances when the baby has been in discomfort for hours and is unable to feed because of colic or tummy ache.
During situations like this, you can break the norm and give your baby the prescribed amount of gripe water and wait for 15 to 20 minutes before giving him his milk. The gripe water will ease the air out of the child's tummy, and will offer him relief.
Once he feels better, he will be more comfortable and will be inclined to feed.
There is a prescribed dosage for gripe water for different ages. Be sure to follow what your doctor has directed, or follow the instructions in the gripe water packaging.
Things To Remember About Gripe Water
There are several gripe water products in the market to choose from, and some of the most popular ones are:
- Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water – one of the longest-standing products in the market. This brand is alcohol-free, all-organic and parents can use it for other discomforts such as teething and fussiness.
- Wellements Organic Gripe Water for Tummy- alcohol-free, paraben-free, gluten and also soy free. This formulation takes into consideration different allergies that babies might possibly have.
- Woodward's Gripe Water- this does not contain alcohol but has sodium bicarbonate. It is gentle enough for everyday use and yummy-tasting too.
- DIY gripe water. You can take a look at some recipes here.
Not all gripe water are created equal. There are several things to look out for when buying this pain-reliever for your babies.
- Apart from alcohol, you should also watch out for gluten, dairy, as well as parabens.
- Don't buy gripe water that has charcoal or any form of carbon because it can cause your baby's stool to turn black.
- Choose the ones made with organic products and oils.
- Sucrose and glucose syrup which are sweeteners, but they can cause tooth decay.
- Check for ingredients that your baby might be allergic to. There are children who are allergic to flowers, nuts, or citrus products. If you are not yet aware of your baby's allergies, monitor him closely after giving gripe water. If your baby shows signs of allergies like rashes, hives, or difficulty breathing, take him to the doctor immediately and stop giving gripe water.
Alternatives To Gripe Water
- If you're not a fan of herbal solutions, you can ask your doctor to prescribe oral medication for your baby that will help relieve colic or gas pains. Your doctor will calculate the age and weight of your baby in order to come up with the correct dose and number of times that you should give your baby in a day.
- In some instances, your doctor might change the baby's milk formula to a soy-based one. This is because your baby is lactose intolerant, which means he is unable to digest the proteins in formula milk. This is what causes abdominal pain, gas, and sometimes diarrhea.
- You can also give your baby gentle massages to ease his discomfort. Some parents apply herbal oils like aceite de manzanilla onto the belly several times a day. You can apply this warming oil on the back and the feet to keep the baby from feeling cold. The massage relieves the child and helps him pass gas more easily. Expect flatulence after applying this oil.
Parents may know a lot of things about babies, but doctors can give better advice. If you have comments or suggestions on how to treat colic with gripe water or other remedies, please feel free to leave a comment below.