Gripe Water mom-hack

This week’s Mom-hack Monday topic is all about Gripe water!

Gripe water (well the one I use anyway) has been around since the 1800’s – and I’m pretty sure that moms were using similar herbal home remedies before that! The active ingredients in Gripe water are traditionally sodium bicarbonate, to help counter acidity in the stomach and some sort of herbal extract, whether it be dill, fennel, peppermint or a combination of the above. These herbal extracts are all known to settle unhappy tummies and digestive systems. There is usually alcohol and sugar in the solution – and I know some Mums may want to steer away from those….don’t worry, you do get alcohol and sugar free versions! (My children, being my children, rejected the healthy options, but loved the not-so healthy versions!)

Before having babies, I knew that gripe water was something one should have – I did not have a clue of how to use it, or of this life changing mom-hack that I was taught in the hospital. So….here it is.

Decant your gripe water into a spray bottle. Simple. Life changing. One of the nurses that looked after me in the hospital when I had Hannah gave me this tip. It’s amazing, and useful for so many reasons.

  1. Hygiene – The most common way of using gripe water is to dip the dummy in it and let your little one suck it off. A spray bottle reduces double dipping and introduction of bacteria into your gripe water. Genius huh?
  2. Cleanliness – if you’ve managed to find a way to invert that gripe water bottle and dip the dummy without spilling any, hats off to you. But I haven’t, and the spray bottle saves so much mess!
  3. Ease of transport – It’s far easier and lighter to pop a little spray bottle into your nappy bag than a heavy awkward glass bottle. Less chance of breakage and sticky spills too!
  4. Ease of handling – Gripe water usually comes in a cumbersome glass bottle with a screw top lid, which is INCREDIBLY difficult to maneuver and manipulate when you’re a new mom handling a wriggly, slippery baby. Decanting it into a little spray bottle means you can hold your baby with one arm, dig in your nappy bag, find the gripe water, spray it onto the dummy and insert into baby’s mouth all with your other hand. (If that sounds scary and you haven’t figured it out yet, don’t worry Mama, it will come!)
  5. Spread around the house – ever sat down to feed or burp or rock a baby and realised that what you need is on the other side of the house? Yup. Been there done that, got the t-shirts. The great thing about decanting your gripe water into little spray bottles is that you can dot them around the house – next to the couch in the lounge, in the nursery, on your bedside table, in the bathroom, one in the car.

Great – so you have your gripe water in a bottle – but what do you use it for?

  1. Gas – the primary use of gripe water is to soothe gassy, uncomfortable tummies, and it works like a dream if baby has a mild case of gas. Pop a little on their dummy, or give them a little in a syringe after a feed, and it’s bound to help your little one feel better.
  2. Get baby to take a dummy (or a bottle!) – Some babies are not instinctive dummy suckers – and if you’re desperate for them to take one, try a little gripe water on the dummy! The yummy taste will get them to start sucking, and then the self soothing action of them sucking will hopefully keep the dummy in their mouth!
  3. Get baby to latch – Sometimes newborns are hungry, they need to eat, but they can’t figure out what to do with a boob! The nurses in hospital helped me with Hannah, who would latch beautifully on one side, and then fight the other like her life depended on it (we fixed this later with Chiro – but that’s another story). One squirt of gripe water on that nipple and she was hooked. Simple!
  4. Calm baby down when you’re on the go. – We’ve all been there. Doing groceries, stuck at the red robot, just a little too far away from somewhere to sit down and feed or rock or change. Spray a little gripe water on the dummy and pop that in baby’s mouth – That may buy you some time until you can safely tend to their needs. (listen it’s not a replacement for a feed or a nappy change, but sometimes you need to buy yourself a couple of minutes!) The yummy taste and the soothing sucking may help distract them from what’s got them upset.

So there you go! My life changing gripe water mom-hack. I hope that it helps you and makes your life a little easier mama!

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