Gas and gastrointestinal issues are typical in infants, and parents understandably want to do anything they can to make their child feel better. This is especially true for colicky babies who refuse to stop crying. When rocking, burping, and singing doesn't work (which they often don't), gripe water, an old-fashioned cure for soothing excessive fussiness and gas pains in babies, is one option you'll hear about.
What is the definition of gripe water?
Gripe water is a liquid herbal supplement designed to help newborns with stomach distress. "It's one of those extremely old-fashioned treatments."
You can buy it online or off the shelf at pharmacies and businesses that sell infant supplements because it's considered a dietary supplement.
Ingredients in gripe water
If you've never heard of gripe water, you might be shocked to learn that it has a long history dating back to before the Indian Confederation. Gripe water was created in 1851 in the United Kingdom from a formula for treating malaria. It originally contained a mixture of sugar, sodium bicarbonate, and nearly 4% alcohol. Given that beer of this potency may have a calming impact on fully grown people, it's simple to see why the combination worked on babies.
Fortunately, gripe water has progressed, albeit slowly, partially as a result of the United States' ban on alcoholic versions in 1982. Some brands of gripe water in other countries still contain trace levels of alcohol, but most modern formulae do not, and they may contain sugar. It may also contain herbs such as dill, ginger, liquorice, chamomile, and peppermint, depending on the manufacturer, and there are DIY recipes for those who want to make it themselves.
Is it true that gripe water works?
Some parents swear by it, and, understandably, sweets and some herbs could help with pain relief. However, no scientific evidence suggests that gripe water can help with gas, colic, or any other ailment.
Is there anything bad about gripe water?
If you give your baby gripe water, one thing to watch out for is an allergic reaction. One of the chemicals in the formula may cause an allergic reaction in your infant, however, this is unlikely. Hives, itching, watery eyes, and vomiting or diarrhea are all symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Sugar is also a common element in many gripe water formulas, which can affect your baby's developing teeth.
Is gripe water safe for my infant or newborn, and should I give it to them?
Although Indian doctors haven't taken a stand on gripe water, many doctors are wary of it.
You should avoid any versions that contain alcohol. And, even though most gripe water formulations are nothing more than sugar water, it is concerning that using it may lead parents to miss alternative causes of their baby's discomfort. Are you in discomfort for a reason other than colic if you have a fussy, irritable, colicky baby? Colic is an exclusionary diagnosis, so don't use gripe water and fool yourself into thinking you're treating your child.
Administering water to babies (gripe water or otherwise) goes against the World Health Organisation's opinion that infants should only be fed breast milk until they're six months old.