Does Gripe Water Help With Constipation, Colic, & Gas?
- Gripe water is an herbal remedy that contains ingredients like fennel seed extract and chamomile.
- Gripe water can be used for babies as young as one month old.
- Gripe water was created to help your baby with constipation and gas.
- There are no studies showing that gripe water reduces colic.
- Gripe water is a supplement, not a medication, so it’s not regulated or approved by the FDA.
Newborn babies have an immature digestive tract that can leave them with gas pains, an upset stomach, and infant constipation. Breastfed babies, formula-fed babies, and even children that have started on solid foods can have tummy troubles. Premature infants are especially prone to stomach problems and colic.
Many parents turn to dietary supplements like gripe water to help ease constipation, gas buildup, and abdominal pain. Advertisements claim that natural remedies like gripe water are a miracle cure for fussy babies.
As a new parent, you may find yourself wondering, does gripe water really help with constipation, colic, and gas?
Gripe Water: What You Need to Know
You can purchase gripe water at almost any grocery store and pharmacy. Before you buy it and give it to your baby, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Most ingredients in gripe water are safe for babies. Gripe water for babies includes ingredients like:
- Dill seed oil
- Lemon balm
Some old types of baby gripe water contain alcohol and baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, neither of which are safe for babies. If your baby ever consumes alcohol or plain sodium bicarbonate, contact a Poison Control Center to get advice about what to do.
Since gripe water is considered a supplement and not a medication, it’s important to note that gripe water is not approved or regulated by the FDA. This means if you choose to use gripe water, you should make sure you purchase only from a trusted manufacturer and always read ingredient labels carefully.
Is Gripe Water Safe for Babies and Toddlers?
Gripe water is not approved by the FDA. Because it is not a medication, it does not undergo the same testing and is not subject to the same quality control rules as over-the-counter or prescription medications. The National Capital Poison Center recommends avoiding all herbal supplements for babies.
It’s especially important not to give gripe water to an infant who is already vomiting. While babies who frequently spit up can usually tolerate gripe water, make sure that you know that your baby is spitting up and not vomiting before giving them any supplements to help with spit-up.
Does Gripe Water Help With Constipation in Babies?
If your baby is passing gas but isn’t pooping, they may be constipated. Babies should have at least one bowel movement every 3–4 days.
Studies show that gripe water doesn’t encourage bowel movements in constipated babies.
Other Treatments for Constipation
If your baby is constipated, you can try other natural remedies like fruit juice. Mixing an ounce or two of pear juice, apple juice, or prune juice into your baby’s formula can be enough to help them have a regular bowel movement.
You can also try to move your baby’s legs in a bicycle motion to help get their bowels moving. A gentle stomach massage might also be helpful.
What Are Other Uses of Gripe Water?
Gripe water is advertised as a way to treat many causes of stomach discomfort in babies. Gripe water is made to help with constipation, colic, gas, abdominal pain, and even teething.
Many mothers choose to use baby gripe water to soothe their fussy babies. Gripe water is often used to treat excessive crying caused by colic, and parents swear by its effectiveness. However, studies published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research show that gripe water for babies does not prevent, treat, or cure colic.
Desperate parents can still try gripe water to relieve stomach discomfort in their babies, though. Gripe water is one of the most popular natural supplements that parents use to help with colic. If you feel like your baby’s tummy is causing them pain and excessive crying, it’s best to seek medical advice before trying any herbal supplements.
Colic is a difficult condition to treat. Most pediatricians recommend that parents do what they can to comfort their child, and make sure they ask for help from other adults so that they can get the breaks they need.
If your baby is excessively crying, make sure that you are taking care of yourself. If you feel overwhelmed, it is okay to place your baby in their crib and walk away for a few minutes to calm down.
Gripe water is one of the ways that some parents say you can get rid of baby gas fast. Parent reviews of products like Mommy Bliss state that gripe water works better than gas drops to help babies pass gas and relieve stomach pain.
However, you should keep in mind that these reviews showing that gripe water is effective for infant gas are purely anecdotal, with peer reviewed studies showing no real benefit.
There are other ways that you can help your baby with gas pains. Make sure you burp your baby well after each feeding. Patting them gently on the back can help break up bubbles in their tummy, making it easier to pass them.
You can also purchase a bottle with a special nipple to help your baby slow down while eating and avoid swallowing air.
Some parents use gripe water to soothe their teething babies. Fennel and ginger are thought to have soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate gum pain during teething.
The sugar in gripe water can also help babies calm down when they are in pain. Putting gripe water on a clean finger and massaging your baby’s sore gums can help ease their discomfort.
Guide on Giving Gripe Water to Babies for Constipation
Despite few studies to prove the effectiveness of gripe water, parents desperate to help their fussy baby may feel that baby gripe water is worth a try. After talking to your baby’s pediatrician, there are still a few things to keep in mind when giving your baby gripe water.
Gripe water should not be used in babies younger than one month of age.
Always follow the recommended dose instructions for baby gripe water. Remember that even natural supplements can be harmful when your baby is given too much. Most gripe water can be given up to 6 times in a 24-hour period.
Often, gripe water comes with a dropper tool that can be used to put the supplement directly into your baby’s mouth. Most gripe water is sweet and babies enjoy the taste. In fact, some research has shown that the sweet taste of gripe water is responsible for calming colicky babies, not the herbs in the gripe water.
You can mix gripe water in to a bottle of formula or breast milk, but parents seem to have better luck when the gripe water is given directly through a syringe or dropper tool.
Alternatives to Gripe Water
Since gripe water is not FDA approved and has not been scientifically proven to help with constipation, gas, or colic, you may choose to use a different product for your baby.
Chamomile and Ginger Tea
Chamomile and ginger are two ingredients that are frequently used in gripe water. Making your own tea at home gives you complete control over the ingredients without having to worry about dangerous additives or potential bacterial contamination.
You can safely give your baby 1 ml of chamomile or ginger tea every hour as needed.
Simethicone, also called Mylicon, Phazyme, or just gas drops, can be safely used in babies of all ages and can be used every day. Simethicone drops are effective for gas pains that can cause fussiness and irritability.
Simethicone drops make gas bubbles smaller, helping soothe your baby’s tummy and making it easier for them to burp or pass gas.
Some colicky babies benefit from taking a prescription antacid medication. Acid reflux in babies can cause excessive crying, irritability, difficulty eating, and excessive or painful spitting up.
If your baby seems uncomfortable, try putting them in a warm bath. A warm bath can help your baby relax and calm down, soothe gas pains, and even help with constipation. Your baby’s bath water should be comfortably warm, never hot.
While rare, some babies’ immature digestive systems cannot tolerate specific nutrients that pass through the breastmilk. Mothers of breastfed babies may have to try eliminating foods like gluten, lactose, or added sugars from their diet.
Formula fed babies may have sensitivities to the type of formula they are given. You may need to try several different brands of formula to find one that does not bother your baby’s tummy.
Can gripe water interact with other medications my baby is taking?
Always speak to your child’s pediatrician before using gripe water, and be especially cautious if your child takes another prescription medication. While most over the counter medicines like gas drops, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen should not interact with gripe water, different brands of gripe water may contain different ingredients. Always read the manufacturers label carefully.
Can gripe water be used as a long-term solution for constipation?
Gripe water should not be used as a long term solution for constipation. If you use gripe water and your baby’s constipation does not improve or gets worse, stop using the supplement and make an appointment with your baby’s pediatrician.
What alternative remedies for baby constipation can I try instead of gripe water?
Instead of gripe water, you can try fruit juice for baby constipation. Apple, pear, and prune juice are often used to help infants and young children have regular bowel movements. Try to use fruit juices with no sugar added.
Should I stop giving gripe water to a baby if their constipation persists or worsens?
If your baby’s constipation persists or gets worse when giving gripe water, you should stop using it and speak to your pediatrician.
The information WonderBaby provides is not intended to be, and does not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. Always consult with a qualified medical professional about your specific circumstances.
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