Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gripe Water?

Ok, I'd personally never heard of this before - so am just learning about it. But, I have a friend who had a very fussy baby. Ok, more than fussy. She screamed. She asked her dr. about Gripe Water, went to the pharmacy next door and now has a much happier baby!

So, she's looking for some input from others on this. Would you please leave a comment sharing any of the following:

* Have you heard of Gripe Water? What is your experience with it?
* Have you noticed any side effects from using Gripe Water?
* And, just because I'm curious, why is it that no one talks about this stuff and then when you tell them you've heard of it, they shake their head knowing about it?! This could have been a tremendous help to me when we had Emily and I'm just wondering why people seem so tight-lipped about it?!

Overall, I'm hoping that by posting this - it will provide valuable feedback for my good friend and any new mom who has a baby that is very uncomfortable due to colic, gas, reflux, etc...

Please let us hear from you!

25 comments:

Mrs. Bonnie said...

Yes, I used gripe water with my first baby. She was very gassy at night, and it really seemed to help settle her down , We didn't need it every night, and at about 6weeks, I think I stopped all together. My sister in law swears by it, and both of her babies were very difficult.
I thought it was only avaliable in Cananda,(which is where my SIL had hers sent from, through a friend), but maybe it is here now. It smells awful, as there is dill oil in it, and people may be shaking there heads because I think (I can't check because what I had expired and I tossed it) there was a little bit of alcohol in it, but I don't know that for certain. If her doctor sent her out for it, I would say that he/she should know enough to deem it OK. I wish I could be of more help, but this is the best I can do!
Oh, no side effects that I ever noticed either. She would settle down and nurse to sleep, and wake at her normal time to eat again.
She's a happy talkative 3 year old now.

stephanie said...

When I lived in Canada as a teen (and did a LOT of babysitting) everyone used gripe water for fussy babies. It was *the* thing to settle the stomach. I had actually forgotten about it until I saw it on someone else's blog recently and now wonder if it's making a comeback? I never heard of any side effects or problems with it ... I always thought it smelled (and tasted) good myself. (A little like licorice). :)

thehomespunheart said...

Mrs. Bonnie - just a note that the kind I linked to has no alcohol in it - some do, so if you suggest this to someone please make sure they look for the kind with NO alcohol!

thehomespunheart said...

Oh, another note - after a Google search, I learned that the term Gripe Water can mean many different mixtures. That is why I provided a link in my post to the kind my friend is using and that is available locally for us.

Carol said...

I tried Gripe Water with my second child because so many friends had recommended it to me. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to help much with his fussiness. I know it has worked for a lot of people though!

Anonymous said...

I used gripe water on my son, who is no 14 and appears to have no ill side effects due to it. Other things from his child hood maybe....but not gripe water.

Funny how most of the people who commented (up to now) have lived in canada or got their gripe water from Canada, which is where I live.

Tas

Edi said...

I also used gripe water (and used to live in Canada - but the gripe water I used was while in the USA). I'm wondering if there is also another name for it...

Don't remember it actually helping my baby at all. You asked about side effects...the weird thing I remember is after giving it to my baby is that they she got a red mark around her mouth.

steffie.m said...

LOVE GRIPEWATER! I used it with my oldest. She was gassy all the time. We put the recommended dose straight into her bottles (she was a formula baby.) It made a huge difference for us, and there were no side effects

Anonymous said...

You can now buy the Gripe Water at Wal-Mart, I believe. My sister uses it all the time for her baby. I use Mylecon with my youngest, with very good results. You can also buy that at Wal-Mart, but I like to get the dye-free type - it also come pink-colored. I make sure that I have this on hand at all times, especially when going away. I wouldn't want to be without it. (And my baby loves it!)

Grace said...

I actually got gripe water for Brianna when she was a baby just to have on hand because I had heard good things about it. The kind I got was sweet and smelled like licorice too. She didn't need it too often thankfully but it seemed to help. I don't know why there would be any side affects. It has been around a looong time. I have no idea why more people don't talk about it maybe it is just forgotten in the hustle and bustle of motherhood. I know it was pretty pricey for the small bottle that I had. I hope it can help her little one.

Anonymous said...

I am a former British Nanny. Gripe water is a very old fashioned English tried and tested remedy that is sold over the counter. The reason it is "Not Talked About" could be that in the "old-days" it was made with alcohol and soothed the baby very well!!! The gripe water on sale today is not the old -fashioned sort. I have occasionally used it for all of my babies in the fussy period from around two to four months. I have also tried prescription drops of different types from paediatricians which I thought were no better and certainly tasted very strongly of peppermint, much to Baby's disgust. Most babies like gripe water. Over the years I found that this fussy period is not uncommon, just uncomfortable and distressing for both mother and baby. You can try every remedy in the book, every drug in the pharmacy and every bit of old wives lore that you can reasonably do. After some weeks (occassionally months) the colic will disappear. You will say "YES! Finally I find the one thing that works!" But in fact the colic will just go away by itself in good time.
If you can get it and you find it helps, I think gripe water is as useful as any other remedy for your peace of mind.
Like teething (for which Brandy used to be recommended) and refusing to be held by "strangers" (anyone other than mom!)this is a part of babyhood that actually passes quite quickly. It just seems forever at the time. Good luck :)Gill

Prairie Chick said...

Household commodity in my neck of the woods (Canadian prairies). I think it has different "brand names" now (like Ovol, etc) so has come to be referred to by brand kind of like Bandaids or Kleenex...

Mrs. Hurzeler said...

I do not know anything about gripe water but I just loved to hear about so many Canadians. I hail from Saskatchewan(but now live in Arizona), and Monica your blog is incredible. I love coming here. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Katy said...

i have never heard of it before!!!

Steve & Molly said...

No, I have never heard of it, but I really wish I HAD for two of our babies! Sounds almost too good to be true, but I would've tried it in my desperation with those two screamer babies! :) Thankfully, they grew out of it and we are all much happier now! :)

Liisa said...

I used gripe water for my son and it worked very well - he is now a big healthy 17 year old so it had no harmful effects on him! Funny I am also in Canada and I thought everyone knew about it. ~smile~

Blessings,
Liisa

Dana D said...

My cousin and his wife had their first child in November. And she was a fussy little angel. Gripe Water seemed to help tremendously with the screaming fits from gassy tummy aches. Within 10 minutes of her taking it, she was happy again! Let's just say we all knew to buy her Gripe Water as part of her Christmas presents!

Sarah said...

I used Gripe Water with my fussy, gassy 2nd baby, and it was amazing! At first I was concerned because I too, had never heard of it before. But the more I read made me realize that is is more 'natural' than Mylecon or anything you'd get in regular stores. So we used it, and had a happy baby and a happy mama ;)

Anonymous said...

I'd never heard of this -- you learn something new every day!
Love you, Mom

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica,

First of all, I must say I really enjoy reading your blog. It is refreshing!

After reading your post about gripe water and all the comments, I feel my response is very timely and important.

For some background on who I am: I am a Christian wife and mother from Canada. Also, I am currently practicing as a registered nurse in a city hospital.

I found in your post and the related comments that no one was able to give a reason as to why babies have fussy moments. I felt there was a strong need to give some very needed knowledge and wisdom in regard's to the why of a fussy baby and related treatment.

Before giving any type of medication to babies, a mother must find out why the baby is fussy. There is always a reason though finding the cause can be very difficult since they cannot speak. We must use their cries and symptoms along with the knowledge and skills of experienced mothers/parents and health professionals to search out the cause and treatment for our babies discomfort. If one finds the cause for the irritability and fussiness, then one will find the cure. It is not simply enough to treat the symptoms. Be persistent and find the cause no matter how long it takes or despite what people or health care professionals dismiss as nothing but babyhood.

The ideas that a child outgrows their fussiness and that it is 'just part of babyhood' has come up in many comments. I disagree with these ideas. As stated before, babies communicate through their different cries and symptoms. We should not pass it off as something that just happens because they are babies. As adults, we become very upset and very discouraged when people and health professionals dismiss our health issues or symptoms. So we must not do this to our children.

When a baby is upset, irritable, gassy, etc, they are telling us that there is a problem. We are to search on their behalf for the cause and help them get the appropriate relief/treatment.

The idea that a child "outgrows" its' fussy time does not equal to a resolution of the cause
...especially when you didn't know what caused it in the first place. I understand from speaking to other health care providers that over time a baby can gradually adjust to the discomfort and eventually stop reacting to the symptoms. This certainly occurs with adults when they have health issues or pain. The symptoms may subside or supposedly disappear, but the cause or problem can and often remain. This is another good reason to finding the cause of why your baby is fussy.

Now for causes, one must rule out such things as:
while breastfeeding - what are you eating that could cause your baby to be fussy like broccoli, cabbage, chocolate, and other gassy foods?
Some babies have difficulty digesting a particular formula because formula is very heavy. Many if not most babies usually find it very constipating, thus you may have to change the type of formula the baby is drinking. Speaking with your pediatrician or a pediatric dietician can help with this information.
Very, very rarely does a baby have difficulty properly digesting its' mother's breastmilk, though I have heard it has been known to happen. This particular problem needs to be discussed with a pediatrician. Another cause could be an actual health issue like reflux or an obstruction or other gastrointestinal problems. This should alert the mother to have the child assessed and treated by a knowledgeable pediatrician as soon as possible. These health problems cause very serious problems. So one can see that it is wise to rule out the causes of your baby's fussiness/colic before giving any medicine to treat the symptoms.

Here in Canada, we do sell gripe water (Ovol). Gripe water now is not the same as it was about 15 years ago. It used to contain a certain amount of alcohol, but has not for some time now from what I know. I tried the non-alcohol gripe water for my colicky baby many years ago and it did not work at all. The alcohol gripe water worked for some babies of my friends and family members. Alcohol does help to ease stomach upset, but it is not a cure. It only treats the symptoms for a period of time. Also, as everyone knows alcohol is not healthy for babies whether they are still in a mother's womb or already born and living. It can affect them neurologically in many different ways and to many different degrees.

Before, anyone gets upset with my information, the amount of alcohol in gripe water will most likely not cause any adverse side effects in babies especially when you follow the instructions on the bottle or a doctor's directions.

But a very important note to remember: we as mothers must be careful what we put into our babies bodies. Medicine whether it is herbal or manmade are chemicals. These medicines are very useful when used appropriately, but at the same time they can injure or harm your child. So one should exercise caution when using medications. As stated before, find out the cause first before using a treatment.

Now I am finding out that many people do not know the following information and I would like to share it with you and your readers. More often than not, fussy or colicky babies...including the extreme screaming babies...are reacting that way because of a pinched nerve in their neck. Our bodies have many nerves that go to many parts of our body to help them function. When the nerve that connects to the abdomen is pinched, it causes the symptoms such as gassiness, irritability, fussiness, pain and so on. They get this pinched nerve because of the pulling, pushing, twisting, and handling while being delivered at birth whether it be a natural delivery or a cesarean.

My first baby had colic for the first three months of his life. He was very colicky for about 5-6 hours every evening or when we were around large groups of people. We tried everything from gripe water to swinging him in a baby swing, but nothing relieved him completely. Despite being frustrated and tired from lack of sleep, we continued to ask other parents for their knowledge and experience with colic. We met one much older couple that shared their experience and it really opened our understanding...plus it made sense. We learned about having our baby's spine adjusted by a chiropractor and how quickly it could resolve the colic. Initially, I was very nervous about this treatment since I was a nurse, but we found a good chiropractor and asked a whole lot of questions before any treatment occured. Within two days having two adjustments, his fussiness and colic was completely gone, never to return.

My other children were adjusted within a week of their births and they have always been happy babies from the beginning. We have had no problems with gas or upset tummies, nor fussiness.

Many think that having their baby's spine adjusted is dangerous. Many will advise against it, but many also speak based on lack of knowlegde, fear, lack of experience and wisdom, and will base their thoughts upon hear say. I will tell you that it is as safe as going to a pediatrician or surgeon or any doctor. As with any health care professional, one must find a knowledgeable and skillful chiropractor. It may take you some time and good research to find a real good one(through word of mouth from a reliable first hand source, talking with the health professional prior to treatment, reading, etc) but it is well worth the effort. I am very careful with who I have care for my family. I don't blindly trust health professionals. If I don't trust a certain health professional, I search out one that I feel is competent, knowledgeable, and very skillful and go to them for knowledge and care. This does take time, but it is important.

I hope these points have given you and your readers more knowledge and wisdom. In the end, it is our responsibility as parents to wisely and critically think about our child's health and the care options that can be provided to treat the cause and not just the symptoms.

I don't expect anyone to blindly or necessarily follow what I suggest. But I do hope that my comments would cause others to think more deeply...beyond alleviating symptoms.

God bless you all in your role as wife and mother. Mrs. Khan

Anonymous said...

i have used it for both my babies - a friend of mine recommended it after learning about it from her west indian nanny - it's`all natural and is the only thing that helped my gassy boys!

Mrs. Bonnie said...

Monica-
Thanks for the reminder! I actually haven't reccomended it to anyone, for the possible alcohol reason, and because I was told it wasn't avaliable in the states. I'm 99% sure mine was the "good stuff" as I would NEVER have given my infant alcohol!

Mrs. Bonnie said...

Ok I just realized my comments aren't making a whole lot of sense. (I blame it on pregnant brain). Now that I'm thinking on it, I think I got my story from my SIL mixed up, as she was telling me that they used to put alcohol
(she got her info from a much older mother who used it way back when it most likely did have alcohol). Funny how certain parts of something stick out in your mind and others don't, 'til you really go back and think it through. The confusion that causes...
Hopefully that clarify's things a bit!

*carrie* said...

Monica,

So glad you've gotten a lot of response to this question. I hope this is helpful! We probably would've tried it if I'd thought to.

The chiropractic thing freaks me out, but you may remember that Chaffin is a dr. of chiro now and she strongly believes in adjusting babies, and has done so with both of her own. May be something I'd explore further . . .

Anonymous said...

I know this blog about gripe water is from 2008 but I thought I would let Mom's know that gripe water with alcohol is still widely available in Canada. Shopper's Drug Mart sells both the kind with or without the alcohol. They sell a generic brand or the name brand called Kolic. I use gripe water and white noise with my daughter and it seems to do the trick.