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Parents of newborn babies face a lot of issues and usually worry about a lot of things, even those that are quite harmless. However, there are certain issues, like upset stomach, colic, teething and similar, which, when they occur, can cause a lot of concern. Gripe water is something most parents hear about when their baby has these mild ailments.

What is gripe water?

Gripe water is a common home remedy that was invented in 1876 by William Woodward, an American working in England. He started recommending his medicine to nannies and parents, who soon found it to be very effective against a number of ailments typical for newborn babies. As a cure for stomach ache, gripe water was used by infants and adults equally. Many argued that the medicine was effective because its alcohol content made babies drowsy and calm, but today there are alcohol-free formulations available that still seem to be effective, especially, for colic.

Gripe water for newborn babies

Newborn is a word used to describe a child younger than a month. Gripe water is not suitable for newborns, because their gastrointestinal system is still very weak and sensitive and certain ingredients of this remedy might cause damage, even though they are natural.

Gripe water is beneficial against a number of different ailments in babies that are one month old, or older. Those ailments include colic, upset stomach, acid reflux and teething pain.

Question is, how to treat colic in newborns if gripe water is safe for them? One of the simplest, most gentle and most effective ways is the Bowen Technique, which is a gentle massage with rolling motions with very light pressure.

Ingredients of gripe water

Parents who decide to use gripe water for their newborns and babies should know which ingredients are safe and which are not. When buying gripe water, they should carefully read the label. Safe ingredients of gripe water include aloe vera, caraway seeds and lemon balm for bloating and gas, anise seeds which improves indigestion, angelica for a soothing effect, ginger, dill and peppermint against nausea and vomiting, and blackthorn, cinnamon bark and fennel which all relieve cramping and soothe an upset stomach.

Ingredients that are unsafe for newborns include alcohol, dairy, charcoal vegetable carbon, soy, gluten, citric acid, yeast and sodium bicarbonate.

Side effects of gripe water

Several studies that focused on the use of gripe water in newborns have shown that certain side effects are possible when one or more of the unsafe ingredients is present of when the newborn is given a wrong dosage.

Most of the gripe water manufacturers have eliminated those unsafe ingredients from their product, however, there are still some that do contain them in traces.

Problems related to inappropriate use of gripe water include intestinal occlusion, dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, swelling of the face, lips and tongue, difficulty breathing, excessive storage of fat, brain defects and muscle dysfunction.

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