Here's All You Need To Know About Gripe Water

Here's All You Need To Know About Gripe Water

The sleepless nights and pain lead to a trying time when your baby suffers colic. Mums might wonder if gripe water is safe for their newborns. Read this article to learn more.

Gripe water is popular and has been around for a while. It is a herbal remedy in liquid form. Questions remain whether gripe water is safe for newborns.

First sold commercially in the 19th century by William Woodward, a British pharmacist, gripe water isn't popular for nothing. It has a soothing effect on babies suffering from indigestion, teething pain, flatulence, colic and hiccups. Gripe water was developed by a group of doctors in England in the 1840s. But it was Woodward who modified it for public use.

If you've ever been a mum you'd know how disconcerting your child's cry can get. Crying is completely normal, but it can become excessive for reasons that may not be obvious to you. Your baby could be teething or suffering from colic. For colic, mothers often use gripe water to soothe their babies. 

What is gripe water made of? 

Gripe water is popular in Nigeria and it can be easily bought at local drugstores in Nigeria. For a baby remedy that versatile, it is completely normal to wonder what it is composed of. Though there are variations of it, below are ingredients they're mostly made of

  • Lemon balm
  • Ginger
  • Fennel
  • Licorice
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon
  • Dill oil
  • Sodium bicarbonate 
  • Water

The composition first made by Woodward contained alcohol. Recently though, manufacturers have shunned alcohol because parents object. But there are brands that still use it. However, there are options in the market without alcohol. Make sure to check the ingredients used by a brand before purchasing.

Is gripe water safe for newborns?

Is gripe water safe for newborns

Gripe water is mostly not recommended by doctors. But that has not stopped people from using it. This may be because there's been a lot of testimonies over the years from mothers whose baby's uncontrollable cries were soothed by gripe water. Otherwise, there's no scientific evidence to show whether gripe water is safe or unsafe for newborns. 

This lack of scientific evidence greeted the inception of gripe water because of the era in which it was formulated. Back then, there was little scientific research to check the possible side effects of the components of baby medications. But this improved with time. And by the 20th century, scientists began to gain more knowledge. But that has not stopped the usage of some unhealthy items like vegetable carbon and dairy products. So below is a compilation of some ingredients you may want to look out for when choosing a safe gripe water product for your baby. 

  • Sugar

There have been plenty of anecdotes claiming that when colicky babies show signs of distress, something sugary was administered and it worked to provide a soothing effect. But if sugar is taken in excess it can cause tooth decay in babies. So check the sugar level on the label of the gripe water before buying. 

  • Sodium bicarbonate

Baking soda and sodium bicarbonate are consistent ingredients in the making of gripe water. Sodium bicarbonate is useful in the soothing of colic triggered by acidity. It deals with acidic reflux in the baby. But sodium bicarbonate can cause milk-alkali syndrome if too much of it is taken. This condition occurs when calcium in your baby increases in amount because of the excessive consumption of calcium in milk and the alkali in sodium bicarbonate. And babies under six months are more likely to get this if they're constantly given gripe water. 

  • Dill seed and fennel seed oil 

If the baby's distress stems from colic brought about by gastrointestinal discomfort, products that contain dill seed and fennel seed oil provide a soothing effect. However, as popular as dill seed and fennel seed oil are for their relief of indigestion, there are no studies that comprehensively prove their soothing effect in babies. For some mothers, all they got was an allergic reaction in their babies. While some others got much-needed relief. 

  • Alcohol 

It is a given that alcohol is not good for a baby's health. Initially, it was thought that it was the alcohol content of gripe water that brought the soothing effect to babies. But research proved this to be false. One of the problems of gripe water that has alcohol is that it could get the baby addicted.

Is This Scientifically Approved?

Is gripe water safe for newborns

No scientific evidence has comprehensively proved that gripe water brings relief to colicky babies. But, medical experts often recommend gripe water as an alternative medicine for colic. As an alternative medicine, it cannot be said to be an official prescription. 

How to give gripe water to your baby

Usually, on the label, you'd find the recommended dosage to be administered. You can use a teaspoon or a dropper. Use the spoon to fetch the correct quantity and then use the dropper to feed it to the baby. Gripe water should be given only once a day. But it could be more, depending on how serious the baby's condition is.

When your baby suffers from colic, it would affect your schedule and you will need help. This is because it keeps them awake and in pains, and it is generally a trying time. If symptoms do not reduce, please visit your doctor.

Read more: Baby milestones: the first 12 months from newborn to toddler.

Source: Healthline


Written by

Lydia Ume