Gripe Water: What It Is and Why You Need to Use It

If there is one thing I never forgot to pick up at the store when I had babies, it was gripe water. Whether your baby has gas, colic, hiccups, or abdominal discomfort, gripe water is your solution. These little bottles are like liquid gold, capable of turning a miserable baby into a happy one. Gripe water is a tried and true remedy for fussy babies.

Are you interested in giving it a try? Here is everything you should know.

What is Gripe Water?

Gripe water is a natural remedy that helps improve your baby’s fussiness caused by gas, colic, hiccups, and overall abdominal discomfort. Most brands of gripe water include fennel seed and ginger root, both of which help to ease nausea and pain.

This liquid supplement is typically a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and a variety of other herbs, such as:

  • Fennel
  • Chamomile
  • Cardamom
  • Licorice
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Dill
  • Lemon Balm
  • Peppermint

Not all brands contain the same mixture of herbs. Be sure to take at each brand to see the similarities and differences.

The original recipes, created by nannies in England during the 1850s, contained alcohol. Back then, it was acceptable to give babies alcohol because they believe it relaxed them. Now, we know better, but they included many herbs that we still use today.

Is Gripe Water Safe for My Baby?

Absolutely, unless you find a brand that uses alcohol. Gripe water made with alcohol is never considered safe for babies, but most reputable brands don’t include that.

Gripe water is made with natural ingredients, which makes that it’s safe for your baby. It’s created with a variety of herbs, making it perfect for our baby’s delicate digestive system. Even though it’s gentle and won’t hurt your baby, it’s strong enough to change colic, gas, and other sources of discomfort.

Depending on the brand that you pick, some are free of gluten, alcohol, dairy, soy, and parabens.

Gripe water can be used for several issues, including:

  • Colic
  • Gas buildup
  • Hiccups
  • Fussiness

bottle of gripe water

How Does Gripe Water Work?

Even though it was time for your baby to come out of the womb, their internal organs are still developing. That causes your infant to experience gas, colic, or other stomach discomforts. Any parent knows that means your baby will cry, and some babies cry for extended periods because they’re unable to relieve that discomfort themselves.

Several factors can cause tummy discomfort.

Colic

If you find that your baby is crying for three hours per day or more and three times a week or more, chances are your baby has colic. Now, don’t panic; colic WILL go away on its own, but waiting for that time to come is difficult. Your baby is uncomfortable, and you want to stop the discomfort and crying.

Prolonged Hiccups

When your baby had hiccups in the womb, you probably thought it was adorable – I know I did! However, when your baby has hiccups for a prolonged time, it causes discomfort because of the muscles in his abdomen contract quickly and repeatedly.

Hiccups can be random, but it typically is due to taking in too much air when feeding too fast. If your baby sucks in too much air, it can lead to hiccups.

Gas 

Have you had gas before? It’s painful, to say the least. Gas can be caused by a variety of issues, such as taking in too much air while feeding or something in their diet. For example, if you’re breastfeeding, something that you are eating could cause gassiness for your baby.

When Can I Give It to My Baby?

The best time to give gripe water to your baby is 20-30 minutes after a feeding. Babies typically need it after they eat because they are gassy from eating too fast or taking in too much air. If you give it 30 minutes after feeding, it gives your baby time to digest.

Since it comes in a liquid form, it’s quite easy to give it directly to your baby. Use the included dropper or syringe to squeeze it right into your baby’s mouth.

The Right Dosage for Your Baby

You must give the right dosage to your baby. Most brands use the age of your baby to determine the dosage amount. You can use it up to six times per day based on the appropriate dosage amount.

  • Newborn and infants two weeks to one month old: ½ teaspoon 2.5 mL)
  • One month to six months old: 1 teaspoon (5.0 mL)
  • Six months and older: 2 teaspoons (10.0 mL)
  • Adults: 2 tablespoons (30 mL)

Are There Side Effects of Gripe Water?

It contains gentle herbal ingredients, so it’s unlikely that your baby will experience any side effects when using it. Your baby might become sleepy after taking gripe water, but that’s typically is because the release of discomfort allows your baby to relax and receive relief.

You should keep an eye out for any possible allergic reactions to gripe water. Symptoms of an allergic reaction vary, but after giving it to your baby, check for:

  • Hives
  • Watery Eyes
  • Swelling of the Lips or Tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Itchiness
  • Change in Breathing

If you’re concerned, you should speak to your pediatrician. He can help you decide if it’s a good choice for you and your baby.

baby is drinking water

Alternatives to Gripe Water 

Don’t feel comfortable using gripe water for your baby? Here are a few other options.

Anti-Gas Drops

For some babies, taking anti-gas drops is a better solution than gripe water. They include an active ingredient called simethicone, which breaks up gas bubbles.

Two popular brands of anti-gas drops are Mommy’s Bliss and Little Remedies (Little Tummy). You should talk to your doctor first about recommendations.

Changing Your Diet or Formula 

Often time, what the baby is eating leads to discomfort. For breastfeeding mothers, you might need to watch what you eat and drink, both of which could cause digestive problems. Caffeine, dairy, beans, acidic food, and other veggies can cause gassiness.

If you feed your baby formula, you might need to switch. Try swapping ready-to-feed varieties for powdered mixes because all of the shakings causes bubbles that might disrupt your baby’s tummy.

Some babies are unable to handle cow’s milk formula, so you might be able to use a formula that doesn’t contain cow’s milk protein.

Apply Tummy Pressure

Some babies who have gas or colic find it calming when pressure is applied to their bellies. All you need to do is put your baby down on your lap with his stomach pressing against your thigh and his head on your knee. You also can lay your baby on a blanket or the bed and rub her tummy, and don’t forget tummy time!

Give Probiotics 

I always recommend giving your baby probiotic drops. They work well at reducing gas pain, healing digestive problems, and promoting a healthier GI tract.

Try Chamomile Tea 

Be sure to talk to your doctor first, but some recommend giving babies just a bit of warm (not hot) or cool chamomile tea through a dropper. Some mix it in their bottles. It’s thought to be effective at relieving gas pain and colic.

Final Thoughts

For many babies, including all of mine, gripe water is a saving grace. Whether my babies have persistent hiccups or gassiness that caused discomfort, giving a dropper full of this liquid-gold solved the problems quickly!

EVA Baby Gear