I was lucky that my baby wasn’t one that cried too much, only doing so occasionally when she got hungry or tired. But it took me almost a month to understand the cues, my baby gave me during crying. This one day, after waking up from a 10-hour long night’s sleep and morning feeding, she wouldn’t stop crying. Initially, I thought she might have gotten hungry or needed a nap, but no matter how hard I tried she wouldn’t sleep or eat. I felt she was feeling discomfort somewhere, and that led me to think, could it be gas? I checked for the symptoms, asked one of the fellow mothers, and it turned out I was right. Here are a few things that I found out about gas in babies, and how can you soothe them using gripe water, hope it helps!
Due to an immature digestive system, babies get gas and tummy troubles more than often. A colicky baby usually cries for several hours due to discomfort in her tummy, making parents worried as hell. In an attempt to relieve the baby, parents are often suggested to use gripe water by their pediatricians. Gripe water is the perfect remedy for colic or any kind of stomach disturbance within your baby. Gripe water should be given to babies who are 2 weeks old or 7 pounds in weight. Most of the babies are recommended gripe water after feedings because they can get gassy due to eating fast or from gulping in the air during feeding. Wait for at least 30 minutes after feeding before giving gripe water, to let the food digest. Some babies might need gripe water before feeding if they are unable to finish their milk or formula due to too much gas. Only by trying different methods, can you know what works for your baby. Gripe water is an old tried and tested method to relieve a baby from gas, colic, fussiness, and hiccups. This water is made by ginger root, which is very effective to cure nausea, and discomfort caused by colic or stomach gas. It is also an over-the-counter liquid supplement for sodium bicarbonate and herbs like (fennel, ginger, dill, lemon balm, peppermint, chamomile, etc.). Along with gas and hiccups, this water is also a remedy for teething pain. Baby gas-drops that are used instead of gripe water normally contain simethicone which is an anti-foaming agent that breaks up bubbles in the gut and help it pass.
What is gripe water and what are its ingredients?
Gripe water is a relieving liquid formula of various herbs that helps with flatulence, indigestion, hiccups, colic, and teething pain. Gripe water is made of…
- Ginger and other ingredients
Previously alcohol, water, sugar, sodium bicarbonate, and dill seed oil were used in making gripe water, some brands also use glycerin and mint oil. Due to objection from parents and pediatricians, the use of alcohol and artificial sweeteners was banned.
Is gripe water safe for your baby?
Gripe water can be of different types depending on the ingredients. Some traditional gripe water contains sugar and alcohol, but that is not the best choice recommended by pediatricians. As artificial sweeteners can cause tooth decay in your babies, and affect her feeding habits.
There are only some formulas of gripe water that contain alcohol, sweeteners, and artificial flavors. Some formulas also contain sodium bicarbonate and peppermint. Not all formulas have the same ingredients, so use the one that is specifically made for babies, and does not contain any of the harmful ingredients.
Gripe water containing sodium bicarbonate or baking soda should only be given to babies who are not suffering from colic or is prescribed by the doctor. Because sodium bicarbonate raises the pH level of the baby`s stomach, this increased alkalinity can worsen the symptoms of colic within your baby.
Some gripe water containing peppermint can worsen the reflux system in babies. Gripe water containing dairy, gluten, parabens, and vegetable carbon should also be avoided.
Gripe water is normally safe for your baby, but not for a baby younger than 1 month, due to her sensitive and immature digestive tract. Also, while using gripe water make sure that you give it in a small quantity and not as a dietary substitute.
How to give gripe water to your baby
Follow these tips if your doctor has recommended using gripe water for your baby’s gas issues:
Go through the ingredients
While carefully reading the ingredients of the gripe water, look for vegetable carbon, written as carbo vegetabilis, for it might cause constipation in your baby. Opt for the brands that are made in the US, and are alcohol and sucrose-free.
Read the given instructions
Just like ingredients, there are various methods to give gripe water to your baby, so read them carefully before giving it to your little one. While some brands recommend using it for babies that are at least 1 month older, others suggest different portions to feed your baby.
Also, make sure to read or ask your doctor how long you need to use the product.
Other things to keep in mind
Use gripe water immediately after feedings to avoid gas pain. Also, if you want to mix gripe water into your baby’s milk or formula then do without a doubt, because it’s perfectly safe. But for maximum results, give your little one gripe water by itself.
What are the side effects of gripe water?
Some gripe water may cause allergic reactions, though they are usually safe. Look for signs of…
- Watery eyes
- Lips and tongue swelling
- Change in breathing
In this case, stop using the product immediately and talk to your doctor.
Other alternatives for gripe water
If you do not feel at ease in using the gripe water and want some other solutions to relieve your baby than use the following methods:
Use antigas drops
You will be surprised to know that antigas drops might be more effective than gripe water. But ask your doctor before using them and discuss the ingredients beforehand.
Some of the common brands for antigas drops are Mylicon and Little Remedies but always concern your doctor first before making a decision.
Use a different baby formula
One of the reasons behind the gas in your baby could be the formula. Prefer giving ready-to-feed formulas to powdered ones, because the mixing process can add bubbles into the mixture.
If you do not want to switch the formula, then make sure to let the formula settle for 3-4 minutes before feeding.
Sometimes the reason behind your baby having gas is the cow’s milk, though only 1-3% of the babies are allergic to it. Use other milk for sensitive babies instead of cow’s and see if it solves the problem.
Also, avoid using casein-hydrolyzed formulas and partially-hydrolyzed formulas for there is very little evidence that they work.
Use a different baby bottle to feed
When giving your baby milk or formula, make sure to tap the bottle to replace unwanted air bubbles. Also, try using different baby bottles, the ones that are designed to prevent trapped bubbles.
This way the baby will gulp less air during her meal. Burping after every meal can also stop the gas from trapping.
Massage your baby or apply tummy pressure to relieve gas pain
Massage can be very useful in soothing your fussy baby and gas pain. Some babies are able to get rid of the air bubbles within their tummy when pressure is applied to the tummy.
Making your baby lay with her head on one knee and tummy on the other, or sitting up on your lap with her tummy against your hand can help your baby pass out the air bubbles.
Some pediatricians also recommend tummy time, because apart from relieving gas it also helps to strengthen the neck and shoulder muscles.
Use chamomile tea or probiotics for gas
Some pediatricians recommend giving warm chamomile tea to a baby using a dropper or mixing it in formula or milk. It has been found to have relieving effects for babies suffering from gas pain or colic symptoms.
Probiotic drops are also helpful for reducing gas pain and digestive problems in babies.
There might be a chance of failing after trying everything. This means that you need to do a diet check of your own. You might be eating something that’s causing gas in the baby such as dairy and soy.
Gas pain can be as distressing for your baby, as her cries for you. Gripe water is a time-tested approach for easing gas and digestive pain in the babies, but do look out for the ingredients. If you do not want to use gripe water then use other home remedies or techniques to resolve the problem.
Be very careful with what you give to your colic baby, as it might worsen her condition and add more fuel to the problem.