How Safe Is Gripe Water For Babies?

From the moment a child is born, she/he becomes the apple of his/her parent's eyes. Indeed, most parents would go to any extent in order to ensure the safety and well-being of their little one. Indeed, it will not be wrong to say that the new born child pretty much becomes the centre of the universe for the entire family.

Now, the only means of communication that a child has is that of crying. It is indeed miraculous to think that a mother is able to tell whether a child is hungry, sleepy or has wet his diapers from his or her cry itself.

how safe is gripe water for babies

Now, while there is nothing alarming with a crying child, if a child is crying more than normal, his parents often end up getting a little worried. It might mean that the child is sick or for some reason it is upset.

In such a scenario, parents do everything that is possible at their end in order to soothe the child. Many parents are often seen to give their child a few drops of gripe water in order to calm a baby. This article talks about what gripe water is and how safe it is for babies.

What Is Gripe Water?

One of the most common causes of excessive crying in babies (by excessive crying we mean the type of crying that lasts hours) is stomach discomfort. Pediatricians have confirmed that this type of discomfort is usually because the baby is unable to pass gas.

Once parents identify this to be the cause of their little one's woes, they resort to feeding the baby a tablespoon of gripe water anytime this issue arises.

Gripe water is a herbal compound that contains cinnamon, licorice, chamomile, lemon balm, fennel and ginger. These are the basic components that are mixed with things like alcohol and sugar in order to prepare the decoction.

These days, there are a number of brands that produce gripe water on a commercial scale. While there may be a little variation with respect to the ingredients that go into the decoction, the basic chemical composition remains unaltered.

Now while many parents look at gripe water as a quick fix to their woes, the fact is that it is not really safe for babies. This is particularly true in the case of babies who are less than a year of age. Read on to know more about the harmful effects of gripe water on little babies.

  1. Improper Gripe Water
  2. Allergic Reaction
  3. Sodium Bicarbonate-based Gripe Water
  4. Asthmatic Irritations
  5. Effect Of Sugar
  6. Other Types Of Stomach Pain

• Improper Gripe Water

Among the various types of gripe water that are available in the market, not all of them are for children. A number of commercially available gripe waters contain alcohol and artificial flavours and colours.

The same is not healthy for babies. Hence it is important for parents to read the composition of the gripe water that they are giving to their little ones to prevent giving anything other than those gripe water that are especially designed for babies.

• Allergic Reaction

This is something that you should be extra cautious about if you are feeding your little one gripe water for the first time. The allergic symptoms of gripe water are seen to vary from child to child. Hence, you must keep your eyes open and be on your toes for any type of abnormalities.

In case you do notice something that is not normal, make sure that you bring the same to the notice of your pediatrician as soon as possible. The most common allergic symptoms include watery eyes, itchiness and appearance of reddish patches.

If you are giving your baby gripe water for the first time, make sure that you do not give him or her more than a few drops. This will ensure that even in case of occurrence of some form of allergy, the effects are as minimalized as possible.

• Sodium Bicarbonate-based Gripe Water

Some of the gripe waters that are available in the market contain a good dosage of sodium bicarbonate. The most commonly available forms of gripe water have peppermint flavouring in them (they come under different brand names).

Sodium bicarbonate is known to cause excess alkalinity in babies by interfering with the pH in their stomach. This results in worsening the baby's refluxes which will make him or her feel more sick (and as a result, more cranky).

• Asthmatic Irritations

If your child is prone to any form of asthma, giving him or her gripe water will do more harm than good. Chances are that after giving gripe water, you will notice your little one having hives and breathing heavily.

In some cases, the breathing may become slower than what it normally is (which is definitely not a healthy thing to do). As a parent, if you are observant enough you will find that there is a general swelling of the lips and the tongue as well.

• Effect Of Sugar

One of the main reasons why children love the taste of gripe water is because it is sweet. Very rarely will you find a child not being interested in having gripe water.

However, the fact is that this type of excessive sweetness will result in them suffering from tooth decay. It will also alter their feeding habits making things more difficult for you and the baby.

• Other Types Of Stomach Pain

It is important for us to understand that the stomach pain that a child experiences may not be only because of the fact that he or she is unable to pass gas. It may also be a case of diarrhea (or loose motion) or constipation.

In either of the aforementioned cases, consumption of gripe water may aggravate the condition and may even cause the baby to vomit. If such a thing happens, immediately stop giving gripe water to your little one and take him or her to the doctor.

If diarrhea in kids is not treated in time it may lead to excessive fluid loss from the body which is something that may be difficult to compensate.

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    Read more about: water gas babies
    Story first published: Saturday, July 7, 2018, 11:00 [IST]
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