Gripe water: The best remedy for colic, gas and hiccups

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
March 22, 2023

gripe water


There it is again. The dreaded colic cry. It’s as upsetting for a parent to hear as it is for your baby to experience. If only there was something you could do to give your baby some instant relief from his tummy pains.

Well, it turns out there is.

Gripe water is just the remedy you have been looking for.

Gripe water has been used for hundreds of years to treat colic, hiccups, gas and any other fussiness caused by stomach pains.

Click a link to jump down to a specific section. Or keep reading from top to bottom. It’s all great information!

What exactly is gripe water?

Woodwards gripe water bottle

Woodward's gripe water is still available, hundreds of years later!

Believe it or not, gripe water has been used as an alternative medicine treat colicky babies since the mid-1800s. Pharmacist William Woodward discovered that a remedy to treat a malaria-like fever would also relieve discomfort in gassy babies.

Since then gripe water has been used by parents around the world to treat colic, gassiness, fussiness and upset stomachs in newborns, infants and toddlers – no more colic cry.

Fun fact: The word gripe was originally used to refer to stomach pain, intestinal pain or colic. Hence the name “gripe water”.

What do parents use gripe water for?

Different brands of gripe water in a row

Below are some common baby ailments parents cured using gripe water

  • Colic - This is what gripe water was designed for. Gripe water soothes colicky babies, calming the pain in their belly.
  • Gas - If you frequently have to burp your baby, a dose of colic water can prevent gas building up in the stomach.1
  • Hiccups - Many parents report that a dose of gripe water remedied their baby’s prolonged hiccups, especially for violent hiccups that interfered with feeding.2 3
  • Reflux - If your baby frequently spits up due to acid reflux then gripe water can help calm little tummy’s.
  • Upset stomach - The catch-all name for something that is causing your baby tummy pain. Just how effective gripe water is will entirely depend on the cause of the stomach pain. However, many parents report that gripe water has helped calm their baby’s upset stomach.
  • Teething - While it won’t help with teething pain, gripe water has been used to remedy gas and tummy pain caused by swallowing excess saliva during teething. 
  • Constipation - Some parents even recommend gripe water for constipation. However, it is worth mentioning that only gripe water that contains probiotics would have any effect in relieving your constipated baby.

It doesn’t matter whether you breastfeed or use formula, gripe water can be an effective remedy for tummy pain

As you can see, gripe water can have some very positive effects on your baby’s digestive tract. But don’t be disappointed if gripe water is not the miracle cure that you were hoping it to be. Just how effective gripe water appears to be baby specific. But those parents who see positive results swear by it. YMMV.

What is in gripe water?

inspecting the ingredients in gripe water

The ingredients used to make gripe water have evolved over time. If you were to read the ingredients list of Gripe Water from 100 years ago you would have found that alcohol was one of the main ingredients

Fortunately, alcohol was removed from gripe water formulas around 1992 after reports of adults becoming addicted to gripe water. Today we know that dosing a baby with alcohol is a terrible idea. The only thing I can imagine that is worse than a crying colicky baby is a crying colicky baby with a hangover.

Nowadays gripe water is made up of a natural mixture of herbs and water. The ingredients vary depending on the brand gripe water but typically contain fennel/dill extract, ginger extract, a sweetener, and potassium sorbate.

Potassium sorbate is used as a preservative. This helps keep your gripe water shelf stable at room temperature for up to 6 months. Without it, your gripe water would be exposed to bacteria or fungal growth upon opening. Not exactly something you want in a product that’s going inside your baby.

Preservative-free gripe water is available but has a shorter shelf life and will require refrigerating after the bottle is opened.

Gripe water typically contains no animal products or gluten and is both kosher and suitable for vegans/vegetarians.

I have listed the exact ingredients of popular gripe water brands further down this guide.

Gripe water vs. Mylicon

While both Mylicon and Gripe water have the same purpose – to relieve baby from stomach discomforts like gas and bloating, they both go about it in different ways.

Mylicon uses Simethicone, a medication found in many popular gas drops that breaks down bubbles of gas that is trapped in the stomach and intestines. It does this by causing smaller gas bubbles to combine together into larger gas bubbles, making them easier to pass. However, Mylicon and other gas drops are not effective at treating colic, unless it is pain from gas that is causing your baby to be fussy and irritable.

Gripe Water, on the other hand, can not only help with gas tension but also soothes your baby using the ingredients I covered in the previous section.

Does gripe water work?

Here is the funny thing about gripe water – While parents have been swearing that it calms their baby’s upset stomach for hundreds of years, no formal research into whether or not gripe water actually works has ever been undertaken.

However, common ingredients in gripe water have been linked to calming colic. Dill, for instance, has been known to relieve gas while sodium bicarbonate helps with an overly acidic stomach and is the main ingredient in Alka-Seltzer

There is also anecdotal evidence that ginger, another common ingredient in gripe water can help ease stomach problems including colic, upset stomach, and diarrhea.7

The sugar content found in gripe water may also play a roll in soothing colic. A 1997 study showed a sugar solution could effectively be used to relieve colic symptoms.8

Maybe it’s one ingredient. Maybe it’s the combination of all of them. Whatever the reason, many parents swear by just how well gripe water works.

Is gripe water safe?

When used as the correct dosage, gripe water is considered safe and should not cause any complications

Like with any remedy, the risk of side effects increases if you give your baby too much.

Sodium Bicarbonate, a common ingredient in gripe water used as an antacid (treats heartburn, indigestion, and upset stomach) could lead to alkalosis if taken in too high a dosage.

Gripe water should be treated as a medicine and the directions found on the box should be strictly followed. Remember that each brand of gripe water may recommend a different dosage. Don’t overdose and all should be well. If in doubt, give your Doc a shout.

And as always, replace your gripe water on or before the suggested manufacturers' date.

Is gripe water FDA approved?

Gripe water typically falls under the category of “dietary supplements”, just like multivitamins and other supplements. Unlike drugs, supplements are not intended to “treat, diagnose, prevent or cure diseases” This is why you will not see any label of gripe water claim to prevent or cure colic, rather only “relieve” it.

Because gripe water falls into the dietary supplement category rather than drug category, gripe water does not require FDA approval to be sold in the United States.

However, the FDA still sets the regulations as to what ingredients can and can’t be in a dietary supplement such as gripe water.9

It is up to the gripe water manufacturer to comply with the FDA regulations. The FDA takes firm action against any manufacturer who is found to breach these guidelines.

As a result, you will not find any gripe water that is FDA approved because it doesn’t need to be.

Best gripe water

Gripe water ready to be reviewed

So out of all the different brands, what is the ideal gripe water?

I have personally tested and reviewed all the popular brands of gripe water on the market to bring you the best of the best.

Currently, I have tested the following brands (in no particular order).

Tested Brands

  • Little Remedies
  • Wellements Probiotic
  • Wellements Original
  • Mommy’s Bliss Night Time
  • Mommy’s Bliss Night Time
  • Mommy’s Bliss Apple
  • Zarbees Natural
  • Woodward’s
  • Colic Calm Homeopathic
  • Colic Ease
  • Gentle Care

Now it is worth mentioning I experienced success with each bottle. And given that all brands contained similar ingredients, this result is unsurprising.

So read on to find my top picks.

Wellements organic gripe water Ingredients

Active Ingredients: : Organic Ginger Extract (Zingiber Officinale), Organic Fennel Extract (Foeniculum Vulgare)

Other Ingredients: Water, Organic Agave Fructose, Organic Pomegranate Juice Concentrate (for flavor), Organic Glycerin, Citric Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Organic Chamomile Extract

If you are looking for a great all-around gripe water then Wellements is my top pick.

Not only is it made from USDA certified organic ingredients it contains no chemical preservatives. But because of this, you will need to store Wellements gripe water in the fridge after opening. A minor inconvenience in exchange for a truly natural gripe water.

Little Remedies Gripe Water Ingredients

Active Ingredients: Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Seed Extract

Other Ingredients: Purified Water, Agave, Vegetable Glycerin, Natural Ginger Flavor, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum

Whether you are on a tight budget or just feeling frugal; if all you want is a good gripe water at a great price then Little Remedies is one of the cheapest on the market. And it is also free of synthetic preservatives. While it may not be organic, the entire mixture is pretty darn natural.

If it wasn’t for the lack of certified organic ingredients, this gripe water would have been my top pick.

Wellements Probiotic Gripe Water Ingredients

Active Ingredients:Lactospore (Bacillus Coagulans MTCC 5856), Organic Ginger Root Extract (Zingiber Officinale), Organic Fennel Seed Extract (Foeniculum Vulgare)

Other Ingredients: Water, Organic Agave Fructose, Organic Pomegranate Juice Concentrate (for flavor), Organic Glycerin, Citric Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Organic Acacia Fiber, Organic Chamomile Flower Extract

Probiotic: Lactospore (Bacillus Coagulans MTCC 5856) - Organic Acacia Fiber

Wellements also makes a gripe water with probiotics. Probiotics, often found in yogurt, are live good bacteria that help to keep your baby’s gut healthy and may even assist in reducing constipation and diarrhea. One study even found that probiotics can be used to reduce crying from colic.10

So gripe water contains a one-two punch that not only helps treat colic but also keeps your baby’s gut healthy, preventing future digestive issues.

Simply add the packet of probiotics that is included in the box to the gripe water, shake well and serve it to your baby.

Colic Calm Gripe Water Ingredients

Active Ingredients: Aloe Socotrina 3X, Carbo Vegetabilis 3X, Carum Carvi 3X, Chamomilla 3X, Foeniculum Vulgare 3X, Melissa Officinalis 3X, Prunus Spinosa 3X, Ziniber Officinale 3X

Other Ingredients: Purified Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Citrus Bioflavonoid Extract, Citric Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Potassium Sorbate

If homeopathy is your thing then you will be pleased to know that you can purchase homeopathic gripe water in the form of Colic Calm.

I’ll be honest - I consider my homeopathy skeptic. But I can’t argue with results. And for whatever reason, my baby was notably calmer after a particular bout of post-feeding fussiness after taking Colic Calm.

I will warn you right now that Colic Calm stains. A couple of drops escaped my baby’s mouth during dosing and I am now left with a permanent reminder of my baby’s homeopathic gripe water experience. Hey, at least it stopped my baby being fussy.

Where to buy gripe water

Gripe water can be found at most drug stores, your local CVS, Walmart. Or you can buy it online using the deals below.

Gripe water deals

Below you can find the current prices on all the most popular brands of gripe water.

Cheap and effective gripw water for gas, colic and hiccups.

A natural and organic gripe water

Natural gripe water with probiotics for healthy digestion

The #1 Best selling gripe water brand

The original gripe water brand

A soothing gripe water brand created by a pediatrician

A soothing homeopathic gripe water

A popular gripe water for treating colic

Do you use gripe water to treat your baby’s colic or other stomach pains? Let me know in the comments below!

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