Most babies suffer from gastrointestinal discomfort at one point or another in their early development. While their tiny guts are still sealing up after birth, newborns can experience painful gas and bloating after eating, during sleep, or at any given time for no apparent reason.
New parents obviously want to do whatever they can to ease gas pains and help their babies feel comfortable. Gripe water is a common product, available commercially, to remedy the situation. Gripe water also works to combat symptoms of colic, fussiness due to teething, and hiccups.
Most storebought gripe waters contain ingredients you might not want your baby to have, like alcohol, preservatives, sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors. In fact, some of these things can even worsen the symptoms you’re trying to eliminate.
There are some more natural varieties of gripe water available—at a premium price. Why bother? Whip up your own effective gripe water in small batches using just three ingredients.
1. Gather your ingredients.
- 1 Tbsp Fennel seeds
- 2 teabags of Lemon ginger or pure ginger tea (or ½ inch piece fresh gingerroot, sliced)
- 1 teabag of Chamomile tea
- 4oz (½ cup) filtered water
2. Brew time.
You’ll want to use as little water as possible in order to make a concentrated gripe water. Most babies are not fond of the flavors in this tummy-soothing tea, although some develop a taste for it over time. It’s much easier to get a small amount of an objectionable liquid into your unhappy baby than a large quantity, so brewing a concentrated version is probably best in the beginning.
Bring filtered water to a boil. Pour over fennel seeds and tea bags. Allow to steep for 20-30 minutes.
3. Cool it.
Remove tea bags and strain to remove solids. If there are small pieces of gingerroot or seed fragments, you can filter the tea again with a coffee filter. If you’d like to add a few drops of natural sweetener, you can stir it in now. (Note: Do not use honey if gripe water will be used on babies under 1 year of age.)
Transfer to a glass jar and allow to cool completely before using a dropper to give to your baby. This recipe will make approximately 4oz (½ cup) of gripe water. The dosage will vary depending on the strength of your concoction and the size/age of your child, so start small and see how your child responds.
Homemade gripe water will last up to several days in the refrigerator. It can be given by dropper for very young babies, or diluted and given in a bottle or cup for older babies. Offer gripe water after meals and before bedtime for best results.
Images via Cat DiStasio for Inhabitots.