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Most mothers have experienced dealing with a colicky baby and know the frustration of being unable to soothe their cries. They've tried everything from running a vacuum to driving their infants around the block to no avail. Did you know there's a safe and natural remedy? It's been used for centuries all over the world without a prescription and can even be safely made at home. This magical potion is called Gripe Water which can also be purchased over the counter or online.

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What Is Gripe Water?

What is traditionally known as gripe water is an herbal remedy given in a liquid form to treat symptoms of colic; gas, bloating, pain and nausea. Originally, gripe water contained alcohol, dill oil, sodium bicarbonate, and sugar. Today's formulations have similar ingredients, yet none should have alcohol or sugar. Gripe water formulations can be different depending on the company making them yet most contain simple ingredients like ginger, fennel, chamomile, and sodium bicarbonate.

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How To Use Gripe Water

While you should experiment with your baby to see what works best, the logical time to administer gripe water is after a feeding when swallowed air or eating too quickly has caused pain and discomfort. Just follow the recommended dosage and add that amount to your baby's water. Although it's perfectly safe to add to formula or breast milk, to get optimal results, plain water is best.

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Is Gripe Water Safe For Infants?

Although it's best to check with your pediatrician, gripe water is essentially safe and natural as long as you check the labels and ensure that alcohol is not one of the ingredients. There are several brands on the market; therefore it is wise to read the labels. Try to find a brand with organic ingredients and make sure it does not contain gluten, artificial colors, or flavors. Gripe water should only contain herbs fennel, ginger and sodium bicarbonate, ingredients that sooth gas, nausea, and upset stomach due to teething.

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What Is The History

In the 1800s, an English pharmacist named William Woodward invented and trademarked the name Gripe Water as a cure for "fen fever" yet later he observed that it quieted infants who had gastrointestinal distress. The news spread and was later adopted by physicians and given as a prescription which contained alcohol, dill oil, and sugar in addition to the sodium bicarbonate. It was touted as a miracle drug back then. Over the years the FDA ordered all of Woodward's gripe water halted from entering the US and deemed it unsafe because it contained alcohol. Today's formulas are mostly found with no alcohol or sugar added.

alcohol in Gripe Water

What Are Some Other Possibly Safe Ingredients?

Here is a list of some other healthy ingredients that may be found in some formulas of gripe water:

  • Aloe - which aids symptoms of gas, bloating and cramping
  • Blackthorn - relieves gas, indigestion
  • Chamomile - relieves anxiety, irritability, and nervousness
  • Lemon Balm - reduces stress, relieves gas
  • Peppermint - aids in digestion relieves nausea

These are a few of the possible herbs found in different formulas; you should still use your best judgment to ensure no additional side effects will come from these herbs in your baby. Watch for allergic reactions.

ingredients in Gripe Water

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What Is Colic?

Most mothers attribute colic to excessive crying which cannot be soothed. Colic is actually due to gas, pain, and bloating. If you have had a baby with colic, you understand how frustrating not being able to help your baby can be. Colic not only frazzles the baby's tummy, but it also frazzles the parent's nerves as well. By the end of a bad night, most parents are ready to try whatever will work to alleviate the symptoms.

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How To Make Your Own Gripe Water

Many mothers would prefer to make their own gripe water to ensure they control the ingredients. Here is an easy recipe:

  • Ingredients: 2 Cups water
  • 1 slice fresh ginger (quarter sized)
  • 2 tsp dried chamomile
  • 2 tsp dried fennel
  • 1/2 tsp dried cardamom (crushed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  1. Instructions: Boil water
  2. Add all the herbs to a cloth tea bag
  3. Remove water from heat and add tea bag. Steep for 30 minutes
  4. Remove tea bag and add coconut sugar, cinnamon, and clove. Store in an airtight, glass container in the fridge or freeze into ice cubes.

Dosage: 0-3 months: 1/2 Tsp 3-6 months: 1 Tsp 6-12 months: 2 Tsp

gripe water recipes

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Can Adults Use Gripe Water?

Absolutely! The same recipe or others can be easy to make as an aid for indigestion in adults and older kids. The tea can be made ahead into ready-to-use tea bags and sweetened with coconut sugar, honey, or stevia if you want to keep it all natural. Serve it hot like any other tea, it also calms hiccups and relaxes the system.

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Where To Source Ingredients

Fresh herbs are always best instead of spices in jars at the grocery store. Try to buy fresh herbs from your local health food store; they will be less expensive also. Online botanical shops are also a source. Bulk food stores, Asian markets, and East Indian markets sell fresh herbs as well.

sourcing gripe water

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Gripe Water Alternatives

If you want some methods to try other than gripe water if you are still on the fence about using it, here are some different things to try. Check your baby's formula and see if that may be the cause. Try a ready-to-feed brand since it would produce less air than powdered brands. If you breastfeed, check that your diet is free of caffeine, dairy, beans, and other veggies that cause gas. Try putting gentle pressure on the baby's tummy. Bicycle their legs to help relieve the built-up gas in their system. Try drinking chamomile tea yourself if you breastfeed; it might soothe your baby through the breast milk. Some say soothing sounds might help like white noise from a fan, humming softly, or running the clothes dryer. You never know, any of these methods may work, it's worth a try!

gripe water alternatives

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.