As evening approaches, Jasmine, a new mother begins to feel anxious. For the last couple of days, her two-month-old baby daughter begins crying in the early evenings and has been difficult to soothe until she reluctantly falls asleep at night. As a tired new mother, functioning on little sleep having to deal with an upset baby is exhausting.
People often joke that babies have just a few main activities - feeding, peeing-pooping, crying and sleeping. Parents figure out their babies schedules early on but a baby who cries excessively is sure to make parents anxious. An excessively crying baby could be suffering from colic which is experienced by infants in their early months.
Also Read: Colic: symptoms, reasons and home remedies to treat the colic in babies
What is Colic?
If your baby is healthy but crying at predictable times, mostly in the late afternoons or evening, then the baby could have colic. Colic is abdominal discomfort, experienced by young infants, starting when they are a few weeks old and lasting up to the age of 6 months after which it typically subsides. It is said to be caused by the build-up of gas in the infant’s stomach.
As a parent, there are various ways you could try to soothe a colicky baby -
Try to lay your baby down gently on his/her stomach on your lap and rub their backs to soothe them.
Burp them more after feedings, either by laying them on your shoulder or lap.
Try to distract the baby by swinging, rocking, singing to them or maybe taking them for a ride in the car.
If nothing works, you could try to give Gripe Water which has been used for generations to ease abdominal discomfort in babies.
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What is Gripe Water?
Gripe water is an over the counter, non-prescription herbal solution mainly used to soothe colicky and gassy babies. It is widely available in the market under different brand names. It helps to relieve gassiness in babies and also considered to be helpful in relieving colic too. It is a herbal concoction which contains mainly:
- Fennel (saunf)
- Ginger (adrak)
- Cinnamon (dalcheeni)
- Chamomile (babune ka phal)
- Liquorice (mulethi)
Apart from relieving colic, gripe water is used by parents to relieve the symptoms of gas, reflux (spitting up due to acid), upset stomach, hiccups which interfere with feeding and even constipation.
Is gripe water safe for my baby?
The effectiveness of gripe water is mostly anecdotal, i.e. it has been claimed by a large percentage of mothers with babies under the age of 6 months to have helped with relieving symptoms of gassiness in their babies.
The safety of gripe water lies in the naturalness of its Ingredients. Parents must carefully choose a brand which avoids any additives, preservatives, sugar, alcohol and only contains herbal ingredients. It is suggested that if you decide on giving your baby Gripe water, pick the right one after reading the ingredients yourself carefully.
Gripe water is not approved by FDA (Food and Drug Administration, USA) as FDA does not approve herbal remedies.
Image Source: Baby Chick
How do I choose the right gripe water for my baby?
There are numerous over the counter brands available in the market. The main ingredients of all of them should be similar, therefore carefully read the list of ingredients listed on the bottle of Gripe Water. Avoid anything which contains alcohol and added sugar, since both are a definite no-no for babies.
The Gripe water you choose should also be Gluten or wheat-product free because gluten is not safe for such young infants. Some brands contain a mint flavour or mint oil, which some babies might be allergic to. Also, like all parents who try to avoid giving anything artificial when it comes to their babies, make sure it contains no added artificial colour, flavour or preservatives.
Also Read: 11 Superfoods You Should have while Breastfeeding
When to give Gripe Water to my baby?
It is strictly not recommended to give babies under one month of age anything other than mother’s milk. After that parents could first try soothing a crying, colicky baby by adopting the various ways listed above. If those do not work, you could give the baby gripe water in the recommended doses after consulting the pediatrician. Every brand should have clearly listed dosage and instructions on the package with the amount of Gripe water to be given at what age.
To sum it up, be patient with a colicky baby. Colic in babies is known to last for up to an age of 6 months and should go away as your baby approaches the six-month mark. If the symptoms last beyond six months, do consult with your baby’s doctor.
First, try to soothe a colicky, gassy baby and only then give them Gripe Water which has been widely claimed to be helpful in relieving symptoms of colic and gas. However, be sure to choose the right one after carefully reading the ingredients and administer it only in the recommended doses.
Read More: Is Homeopathy safe for Babies?
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