In 1851, gripe water was first time produced by an American pharmacy apprentice 'William Woodward', who lived in England. It was claimed that the medicinal properties of the water can help relieve intestinal colic in babies and toddlers, caused mainly due to flatulence and reflux. As the drug provided instantaneous relief, it gained tremendous popularity worldwide. All mothers must have thanked this magic potion every day and continue to do so even today. Gripe water and baby care still go hand in hand.
Gripe water is considered as a dietary supplement that helps baby's digestive system adjust to new foods. It alleviates hiccups and soothes stomach upset. Abdominal pain in babies may result from increased saliva production during teething. The original gripe water for newborns was meant to relieve abdominal pain and discomfort. It contained alcohol, dill oil, sugar and sodium bicarbonate. These days, various brands of gripe water are available and the modern formula of this drug is quite different from the original one. You should carefully read the label on the bottle and check the list of ingredients.
- Aloe vera - alleviates bloating and flatulence.
- Anise seeds - promote easy digestion.
- Angelica - works great for an upset tummy.
- Blackthorn - relieves pain and discomfort due to abdominal cramps.
- Caraway seeds - enhance digestion and prevent flatulence.
- Cinnamon bark extract - improves the process of digestion and helps get rid of nausea.
- Cardamom - relieves nausea and vomiting and promotes easy digestion.
- Chamomile - helps maintain the health of the stomach.
- Dill extract - helps get rid of nausea, offers relief from flatulence, brings back the sick stomach to normal position.
- Fennel - works great for the upset stomach and provides quick relief from cramps.
- Ginger root extract - helps prevent indigestion and nausea.
- Lemon balm - helps get rid of flatulence.
- Peppermint - is required to settle down the stomach as it works great for nausea.
- Alcohol - It can ruin the bodily systems. Feeding the baby with an addiction inducing element is very dangerous. Alcohol can cause drowsiness.
- Charcoal Vegetable Carbon - It lowers the effectiveness of other drugs, which is quite dangerous. It can cause dehydration, swelling or pain in the stomach.
- Dairy - The baby can be 'allergic or intolerant' to lactose. Lactose can make the baby suffer from excessive gases.
- Gluten - The baby can be 'gluten intolerant' or 'allergic to gluten'. Gluten can be harmful for intestinal cells.
- Soy - Certain kinds of soy may restrict the body from absorbing nutrients, leading to long-term health problems.
- Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) - It can affect the health of the baby seriously. It can affect the pH of the stomach, blood pH, functions of nerves and muscles.
- Yeast - It promotes storing of fats in the body, making the baby overweight.
- Citric Acid - It can be harmful for the delicate digestive system of the baby, in various ways. Excessive consumption of citric acid is harmful even for adults. It can lead to nausea, loose motions and vomiting. It can act like an allergen for some babies.
Studies show that side effects of gripe water are mostly experienced when it contains certain unsafe ingredients, like those mentioned above or when wrong doses of the drug are given to babies. People have started considering gripe water as an unsafe drug mainly because of the use of alcohol, sodium bicarbonate and sucrose. It is really shocking that even today, some brands of gripe water contain traces of these unsafe ingredients along with some other elements that may prove deleterious for your baby's health. The side effects include:
- Intestinal occlusion and dehydration
- Loose motions and vomiting
- Breathing difficulty
- Inflammation of the face, lips or tongue
- Allergic reactions
- Worsened colic
- Brain defects
- Muscle dysfunction
- Nutritional deficiency
- Tooth decay
- Excessive storage of fat
Best Gripe Water for Babies
Buy the drug only from trusted and accredited pharmacies. Be sure that you are not buying a contaminated product. You should opt only for a homeopathic gripe water that has been approved by the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS), which adheres to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifications at the same time. But a homemade gripe water would be the best gripe water for babies and toddlers. Here is a simple recipe:
- Take ½ tea spoon each of fennel and dill seeds.
- Just grind them together.
- Brew them in 3 cups of boiling water on a medium flame.
- Let the solution boil until it measures one and half cups.
- Remove it from the stove, leave it aside for cooling.
- Strain it and add some sugar if you wish.
- Remember, you can feed your baby this homemade medicinal water for only 24 hours. All leftovers must be thrown away after 24 hours.
You should consult your pediatrician before administering the homemade gripe water to your baby. Do not trust the brand of gripe water which does not clearly mention its components on the label. Gripe water is a boon for babies, when it contains proper ingredients and when only recommended doses are administered by the caretakers.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.