What do you do when nothing seems to get rid of your baby's gas? Few things are more frustrating than a screaming, gassy baby. And sometimes it feels like gas drops and gripe water aren't really making much of a difference. If you're like a lot of parents in this situation, you're asking whether you are doing something wrong. Or maybe you're just starting to feel like there's no way out of this colicky mess.
But there are other things you can try (like probiotic drops!) Gas drops and gripe water are not the only ways to deal with gas. In fact, science tells us that they aren't even that good at fixing gas!
Most gas drops use an active ingredient called simethicone. Theoretically, simethicone helps baby gas by acting as an anti-foaming agent. It supposedly gathers gas bubbles together into a single big gas bubble. That way your baby passes the gas quicker. At least that's how it's supposed to work. But in reality, simethicone isn't any better than a placebo.
So if your baby's gas drops use simethicone, your baby might not be getting much gas relief at all! That being said, simethicone gas drops do tend to make baby's happy. But the science indicates the babies are happy because the gas drops taste sweet. The gas pains are not actually going away; the baby is just getting distracted. That's not a bad outcome most of the time, but if your baby is dealing with awful gas, it might not be enough.
Homeopathic gas drops (like Hyland's Baby Gas Drops) are even worse. The science indicates that they are no more effective than placebos. Plus, homeopathic baby gas drops can actually be dangerous. So they really are not good options for getting rid of baby gas.
But what about gripe water? Well, it probably doesn't really relieve gas either. Once again, babies get distracted by the taste. No actual gas relief seems to be happening here.
So what does help? If gas drops and gripe water are both ineffective at getting rid of baby gas, what can be done?
We are big fans of probiotic drops (which you can buy here.). Probiotics help babies (and adults too!) with digestion.
Multiple studies indicate that probiotics are effective at reducing and preventing infant gas, even when compared to a placebo. And giving probiotics to babies seems to be completely safe. So this stuff actually seems to work!
That being said, you should be aware though that probiotic drops are not an instant cure. Your baby may become less gassy after regularly taking the drops, but you probably won’t see the immediate turn-around that the other (sweeter, but less-effective) gas drops provide. But the probiotics offer a real, long-term solution to baby gas. So if nothing else it working, give this stuff a shot!