New parents have so much to figure out once baby arrives. Even after reading all those baby books, few are prepared when tummy trouble takes over. Newborns have very sensitive stomachs because their digestive systems are still developing, which is why they can only have breast milk or formula exclusively in their first 6 months of life.
When your little one starts screaming and crying in pain from gas, you don’t have to watch them suffer. You can do something about it by administering gripe water. Your pediatrician will likely recommend it. Gripe water is a supplement that you can buy anywhere. There’s no need for a prescription. You’ll find this liquid of sodium bicarbonate mixed with a soothing array of herbs like ginger or chamomile for example. It can additionally be used for teething and relieving colic.
Gripe water originated in England in the 1850s. The original formulation contained alcohol though the ones you’ll find today don’t have it. The herbs in gripe water are soothing and help bring relief to the discomfort that comes from gas. To your baby, it tastes a bit sweet, which is why they’re less likely to protest.
Important Things to Know About Gripe Water
There are many different brands of gripe water that vary in ingredients. Asking your baby’s pediatrician for recommendations is the best way to ensure you choose a brand that is suitable for your baby’s stage in life. You should never choose gripe water that is made with alcohol. Formulas that are labeled with buzz words like “natural” should also be checked out before using. There are no regulations that prevent those words from being used.
You should also be mindful of gripe water with sucrose. It’s not dangerous, but because it’s sugar, it can lead to a vicious cycle. Whichever formula you do choose to use, you should never give it in large doses or too often.
When to Give Gripe Water
After choosing a brand your child’s pediatrician recommends, make sure you read the instructions carefully. Dosing varies by brand as well and most brands encourage you to wait until baby is at least one month in age before trying out this remedy. The doctor can also be helpful with telling you how long to use it and how often. Don’t be shy about asking. That’s what doctors are there for!
Allergies to gripe water are extremely rare. As mentioned, babies should only eat breast milk or formula (or even a combination of both of those) for the first six months of life. Once they sit up and eat solids, it changes the playing field. Before then, it’s easy to see if your child is having an allergic reaction. If your baby breaks out in hives, has swollen lips, or watery eyes, it’s a sign of an allergic reaction. Major signs of allergic reaction like trouble swallowing or breathing, or vomiting and diarrhea need immediate medical attention.
Other Methods of Relief for Baby
Along with the use of gripe water that is recommended by your baby’s pediatrician, you can try other things to quell the discomfort when your baby gets gassy. For starters, you should check out what you’re eating if you’re breastfeeding exclusively. What you eat passes through your milk to your baby and certain foods can cause your baby to be gassier than usual. Try eliminating things like dairy, beans, caffeine, and even broccoli. Keeping a food diary can help you spot any patterns.
Formula-fed babies are also susceptible to gas problems. Powder mixes need to be shaken up quite a bit, and all that shaking adds bubbles that can cause gas upset. It might be helpful to choose a ready-to-use formula instead. If that’s not an option, let the formula settle for a few minutes before feeding your baby to cut down on the bubbles. If the formula is from cow’s milk, it can cause problems as well. A chat with the pediatrician can help you determine what’s best. Some will even recommend that you drink chamomile tea.
When bottle feeding, the flow of the bottle may be to blame. Slowing down the flow or using bottles designed to keep the air bubbles out may help resolve the tummy troubles your baby is experiencing. The more air your baby gulps down when eating, the more gas trouble will occur.
Just like adults, babies need to relax too. Massaging your baby can help relieve many of the pains from gas and stomach-related problems. Moving baby’s legs in a bicycle motion can help them to release that built-up gas on their own. You can also try out tummy time, though if baby has just eaten, you might wind up with a spit-up situation.
Distractions help too. Try soothing baby with songs or white noise while rocking in your arm. It helps to swaddle newborns too to give them that secure feeling they had in the womb. When you combine that loving comfort all wrapped up with swooshing sounds and rocking motions, it’s pure bliss for your baby because it’s just what they remember from being on the inside.
You can use these other methods for calming your baby’s stomach angst along with gripe water. Together, they can be the perfect combination to bring relief to your baby and restore peace and quiet back into your home.