Colic in its simplest sense is uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy baby. Your baby is considered colicky if he’s younger than 5 months old, and cries for more than three hours back to back on three or more days a week for at least three weeks consecutively.
Colic isn’t a disease and won’t cause your baby any long-term harm, but it’s a tough thing young parents go through alongside their babies, especially at night. Colic isn’t fun for babies at all, and it certainly is no fun for parents either.
While there’s no guaranteed remedy that permanently stops the persistent cries of infants, doctors and paediatricians sometimes suggest the use of gripe water to parents who are desperate for respite, – something or just anything medicinal, and baby friendly that could help relieve a bad bout of crying from an uncomfortable child, who is still in his cradle days.
What Exactly Is Gripe Water?
Gripe water is an over-the-counter liquid supplement of sodium bicarbonate and herbs (such as fennel, ginger, chamomile, cardamom, licorice, cinnamon, clove, dill, lemon balm or peppermint, depending on the formula in view). In addition to soothing colic, a major discomfort babies experience, gripe water is equally marketed as a reliable remedy for teething pain, hiccups and flatulence children suffer, amongst other ailments.
How Does Gripe Water Work?
Although there’s minimal scientific evidence to suggest that gripe water effectively relieves colic, yet a good number of parents have testified to its efficacy. The original form of gripe water which contained alcohol was first used by nannies and nursing mothers in England in the 1850s. These days, believers say dill licorice, fennel and ginger relieve gas and stomach discomforts that are believedto be a cause of colic. Experts think gripe water might work as a remedy simply because it tastes sweet.
Research from the United Nations (UN) however has it that anything (including gripe water) other than breast milk administered to a baby during the first six months of birth may increase the child’s risk of introducing bacteria, cause allergies as well as irritate the baby’s intestines. Gripe water just like any other prelacteal solution given to infants soon after birth, may cause delay in the establishment of breastfeeding and also reduce breast milk supply.
How safe is gripe water for babies
Talking about safety, gripe water is actually safe for the consumption of babies as long as it doesn’t contain alcohol or sucrose (which can cause tooth decay in children); it is notwithstanding important to always consult and check with your doctor before using it on your child.
Available Remedies to gripe and Colic asides Gripe Water
If you’re not completely comfortable using herbal remedy to calm your child’s cries as a result of colic and incessant gripe, here are some other tips to try:
- Switch Formula: Asides the use of herbal mixtures like gripe water and the likes, formulas can be switched and the former replaced with another solution that may be better for an ailing baby.
A quick cure for some colicky babies could be a simple switch from using standard cow’s-milk formula to using one that does not contain cow’s milk. Research has found that hypo-allergenic whey-hydrolysed formula decreases colic symptoms in babies, but it is equally of importance to note that these hypoallergenic formulas can cost three times as much as the cost of regular formulas.
Hydrolysed Whey Protein mentioned above is one of the newest protein powder formulas available. It is a perfect choice for a post workout and is also high up there when it comes to speedy digestion. Since only an estimated 1 to 3 percent of babies are allergic to cow’s milk, it’s best to talk to your child’s paediatrician to determine if your baby really does have an allergy before switching from whatever it was a mother was using to another brand and formula. Also steer clear of casein-hydrolysed formula or partially hydrolysed formulas, since there is little evidence they work.
- Give adequate infant massage. A nerve-calming and relaxing rubdown is a soothing way to curb colicky cries from your infants. It is also a great opportunity for mother and baby to bond as much as they should.
- Swaddle away. Wrapping babies up in nice warm blankets are also a great way of helping them relax away from the harsh weather conditions that sometimes account for their being colicky.Try rocking and dancing while holding her in your arms for an extra soothing sensation.
- Sometimes, apply tummy pressure. Some colicky babies tend to get relief when mild pressure is mounted on their bellies. To achieve this, lay your baby faced down your lap or make the child sit up on your lap with her tummy against your hand, and then gently rub or pat her back, this way, the comfort they crave can be gotten.
- Distract the baby. Employing the use of lullabies and bedtime songs does good magic when issues with colicky babies are being handled. Not all parents are gifted singers – that we know; if you therefore fall in that category and can’t even hold a tune to save your life, your baby will probably still love it. For baby sitters and mothers who can’t stand singing, calmly humming or whispering letters in stylish ad rhythmic ways can do the magic too. The soothing “white noise” of a fan, clothes dryer or even vacuum cleaner is also often soothing to babies as it reminds them of their erstwhile abode – the womb.