Gripe water is a water-based product for babies sold over the counter, without the need of a prescription. It is a dietary supplement which acts as a tonic to soothe colic, indigestion, teething pain flatulence, and hiccups. The formula of gripe water has been in existence since the 19th century and was first discovered by William Woodward.
Earlier, gripe water was composed of – water, dill oil, sodium bicarbonate, sugar and about 3.6% of alcohol. However, in modern times, most manufacturers have dropped alcohol as an ingredient due to objection from parents as well as medical practitioners. Some brands may still use it. A few brands use artificial sweeteners which can be really harmful to your baby, if consumed regularly. So make sure that you check the label of ingredients before purchasing the product.
Is Gripe Water Safe?
While gripe water has not been proven to be of any danger, it can be at times, of no significant help. Most mothers surveyed said that gripe water helped their babies with gastrointestinal issues or colic, but there were a few who said that there was no significant change observed by them. The impact of Gripe Water is subjective and differs for every baby.
No one, so far, has reported any severe harm caused by Gripe water and hence, it is considered to be a relatively safe product. Some gripe water formulas contain parabens and vegetable carbon products. These gripe waters must be avoided for the sole reason that your baby could be allergic to these items without you having a prior knowledge of the same.
Parents ask whether it is safe to buy gripe water with a minimal amount of alcohol content in it. The answer is, no. While we may think that the alcohol content is too little to make a big difference, there have been cases where the babies got addicted to the gripe water and eventually developed its intake as a habit. This is not healthy in the long term.
Sodium bicarbonate in the gripe water helps alleviate acidity. Acid reflux can make our baby irritable and restless, in which case, this ingredient helps to normalize excess acidity in order to comfort your baby and reduce the irritation.
Gripe water contains certain herbs which help improve the digestion process. But make sure that you read the label of ingredients and if your baby shows any allergy symptoms after giving them the gripe water, stop immediately and seek medical advice.
Sugar is the main ingredient which takes credit for the overall role of gripe water. The sweetness of sugar has a soothing effect on colic that your kids might be suffering from. Other independent elements of gripe water provide relief in their own way.
Gripe water does not cause diarrhoea or constipation unless it is contaminated by that particular pathogen. Overall, there are no clinically proven side effects of gripe water although caution is advisable for certain ingredients (alcohol, artificial sweeteners, etc). If at all you find any ingredient that your baby is allergic to, then you can opt for another brand which does not have that ingredient.