Any parent can attest that having a fussy baby can be a nightmare. When they’re crying inconsolably but they’ve been changed, fed, burped, and cuddled, you’re most likely dealing with gas.
One of the most common solutions for a gassy baby is gripe water.
Does gripe water need to be refrigerated? Gripe water can contain preservatives to extend shelf life, but many do not. For this reason, certain brands of gripe water require refrigeration once they’ve been opened. Storage instructions can be found on the packaging or the bottle of gripe water itself.
Every parent wants to help relieve their child’s pain, but it’s important to do so safely. Keep reading to learn more about when and how to administer gripe water.
Gripe Water for Baby – What To Know
Giving your child gripe water when they are gassy or have colic is a common practice, but knowing what it is, when to give it, and how to use it safely is important.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to address the most pertinent information about gripe water.
What Is Gripe Water?
Gripe water is an over-the-counter herbal substance that some people believe relieves colic, gas, and indigestion.
Many different brands are available at major retailers, and all contain similar formulas. However, gripe water is not an FDA-regulated product since it’s considered an herbal dietary supplement.
Is Gripe Water Safe?
Since gripe water is not FDA regulated, there are no quality or safety standards it must meet. When used in proper dosages in accordance with the instructions, gripe water is generally considered safe.
However, it can cause side effects and complications in infants and is not pediatrician recommended.
Gripe Water Benefits
The purported benefits of gripe water include indigestion and colic relief. Some even boast its ability to be used as a sleep aid when chamomile is an ingredient.
These claims are dominantly anecdotal as there is little substantiated evidence that the formulation works.
Gripe Water Side Effects
The side effects of gripe water include but are not limited to:
- Allergies: Gripe water is formulated with several types of herbs, such as chamomile. While these herbs are generally safe, some children may have allergic reactions to them.
- Acid alkaline imbalance: Some gripe water contains an antacid, sodium bicarbonate, which can be harmful to babies. This substance disrupts the natural pH of the stomach.
- Heartburn: While heartburn is not a common symptom of gripe water, it is a serious one. This side effect is counterintuitive to the goal of easing a baby’s discomfort.
- Diarrhea: Gripe water can cause adverse reactions in a baby’s gastrointestinal tract due to the various herbs used.
- Tooth Decay: Many formulas of gripe water contain high levels of sugar. This is bad for a baby’s developing teeth.
Does Gripe Water Work?
Many parents swear by gripe water for their gassy and colicky babies. Support for gripe water and other natural remedies is strewn through online parenting forums.
It’s a popular method of gastrointestinal relief, especially in holistic households. However, empirical evidence supporting gripe water’s effectiveness is limited.
How Long Does Gripe Water Take To Work?
Most parents report a change in their baby’s demeanor between 30 minutes and 1 hour after administering gripe water.
However, many popular brands that sell the product state that this can be different based on the child’s age, size, and tolerance.
When To Give Gripe Water to Breastfed Baby
Gripe water shouldn’t be given directly after a feeding for breastfed or formula-fed babies. Rather, parents should wait to administer the proper dosage until at least 10 minutes following a feeding.
Mommy’s Bliss, a brand that sells gripe water, states on their website that parents should wait 30 minutes. Other brands caution the same or similar intervals.
Gripe Water Dosing
If you choose to give your child gripe water, you should always consult your pediatrician. Following that, you should only administer gripe water according to the written instructions on the packaging.
Dosage goes by the baby’s age and is usually between 1 and 5 milliliters. Recommendations may differ slightly by brand, but they generally follow the same format.
Repeat doses of gripe water can be given up to six times in a 24-hour period. These doses must be at least 30 minutes apart.
Gripe Water Storage
Always follow the storage instructions written on the package or bottle.
Some brands of gripe water require refrigeration after opening because they lack preservatives. Other brands that use preservatives do not have the same stipulation.
Always store medicinal substances out of reach of children and animals. Despite its natural formula, excess doses of this supplement can be extremely harmful.
Gripe Water Age Limit
Gripe water is intended for children 2 weeks to 6 months old. However, it’s not recommended for children to have anything but formula or breastmilk for the first six months of life. So, we highly advise consulting with your child’s pediatrician.
Homemade Gripe Water
Gripe water is fairly easy to make, so many parents choose to make their own at home. The advantage of homemade gripe water is that parents know exactly what’s in the formula and that it’s truly natural.
However, it’s not recommended any more than store-bought gripe water or by pediatricians. Consult your pediatrician before administering and about proper dosage of homemade gripe water.
Natural Remedies for Baby Gas
There are many safer and healthier alternatives to gripe water that can help relieve your child’s pain.
Oftentimes, gas just needs a route to escape. To help, you can assist your child in doing bicycle kicks. This is when you alternate extending one leg and simultaneously bending the other to the stomach.
Gas and wind have more than one exit strategy. Burping your baby after each feeding ensures that they do not retain air from eating. This is especially important for bottle-fed babies.
You can help your child by placing them on their stomach for tummy time. The pressure on their abdomen can help them expel wind. The same applies when massaging their tummy.
The Frida Windi is a device that’s inserted into the rectum and past the muscle that traps gas in the body. The Windi acts as a tunnel that facilitates the transport of gas from the inside of the body to the outside.
Is Gripe Water Good for Constipation?
Anecdotally, yes. Gripe water is said to be good for constipation due to its stimulative effect on the bowels.
Can Adults Use Gripe Water?
Higher doses of gripe water can be given to adults. This aids in indigestion as well as gastrointestinal issues.
While all brands of gripe water are similar, some have to be refrigerated while others don’t. Gripe water is not FDA approved or pediatrician recommended.
If you choose to administer gripe water to your child, follow proper storage and dosing protocols found on the back of the box. When in doubt, check with your pediatrician.
Charley is a mother of three with a passion for raising good humans. With her children in tow, she studies English and has made a career creating content about motherhood. In her free time, she enjoys traveling within the states to kayak, camp, and hike.