Colic in Babies: Is Gripe Water Safe?

9/4/10 by Christine Lennon

Image courtesy of PinkStockPhotos via Flickr

There are a variety of gripe waters out there, so make sure you read the ingredients on the labels first. Some gripe waters contain sugar, alcohol and sodium bicarbonate, which are not good things to be giving a baby. Let’s take a look at what ingredients should be in your baby’s gripe water.


Fennel has anti-microbial properties and helps to ease the muscle spasms that cause pain. It cuts through gas and has been used for generations as a home remedy for stomach problems.


Chamomile is a pleasant herb will help to calm your baby and make it easier to get him to sleep after a bout of colic.


Another herbal remedy for upset tummies, ginger is also a very common ingredient in gripe waters that helps to relieve the pain and nausea associated with colic.


Anise seeds lend a licorice taste to gripe water and have anti-flatulent properties. Since the underlying problem of colic is excess gas, anise is a good ingredient to look for in gripe water, especially if there isn’t any fennel in the liquid you’re purchasing.

The above four herbs are the ingredients you’ll find most often in natural gripe water. They are all herbal remedies that have been used for centuries, both for adults and babies, and they’re proven to be effective. That doesn’t mean it’s safe to grab any old gripe water and give it to your newborn, though.  Make sure that the gripe water you use meets FDA quality standards and that it has been endorsed by the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States.

Gripe water is perfectly safe to give to babies three months and older, which is usually when colic sets in. If your newborn baby is colicky, it never hurts to get a professional’s opinion, just to be sure. The main reason for concern with medications like gripe water is that they can cover up the symptoms of a larger problem. So, while gripe water calms babies and helps them feel better, parents should still take their kids to a physician, just to rule out any potential problems.  That being said, if you’re a parent dealing with a baby who has been screaming all night long because of colic, natural gripe water can be a lifesaver!

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One Response to “Colic in Babies: Is Gripe Water Safe?”

  1. […] Colic is a common problem for babies, especially between three and six months of age. Colic is usually caused by gas that isn’t burped out and ends up in the intestines. Try using gripe water, moving the baby’s legs in a jogging motion, or giving him a tummy massage to relieve the discomfort. […]

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