With so much debate over whether beverages are hydrating or dehydrating for the body, you might be lost on the whole decaf tea and babies issue.
It is cautioned that tea is not a safe beverage for babies. Infants younger than six months should not be drinking anything but breastmilk and formula. Breastfeeding is a personal choice that offers many pros and cons to both sides, but regardless of breastfeeding your child or not, they should not be drinking anything but milk or formula early on. There are dozens of varieties and brands of baby formula that are completely suitable for your growing infant, so throwing extra beverages in the mix too early will harm them in the long run.
Prior to six months of age, beverages even as harmless as water are not recommended. Tea in any sense – herbal, decaffeinated, caffeinated, etc, is not a healthy or acceptable option. Once infants begin to eat solid food with regularity, they require a larger variety of beverages to be incorporated into their diet. However, this needs to be a gradual and well thought out process.
Can I Give My Baby Decaf Tea? Answer: Not Recommended.
A major component of tea is caffeine. Even in decaf tea, there is still the risk that caffeine is present. It takes a long process to make it from leaf to tea bag and a lot of the middle work is unclear. Decaf tea may strive to extract all of the caffeine from the tea, but one needs to consider how the tea leaves were grown and the preparation needed to turn it into the tea bag that so many people around the world love and drink everyday.
Another alarming fact about tea is that it may reduce the amount of iron in your child’s body. Some of the active ingredients in tea can hinder the absorption of iron from food and supplements. This creates an iron deficiency which can occur in both adults and children. Promoting this iron deficiency especially in an infant severely damages their bodies and jeopardizes their health. Therefore, an infant should never consume tea, even if it is decaf. Here’s more information on babies and iron from Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food.
Water is the healthiest substitute for milk or formula, hands down. Water should be introduced gradually around six months of age, the same age that some solid foods can be introduced into the infant’s diet. Slowly offering sips of water with meals from bottles and working up to child-proof sippy cups is the best recommended way to do this.
Sometimes water may not be the most favored option, but it is the best option to keep your infant healthy and hydrated.
Some fruit juices such as orange juice, apple juice, and other natural juices that can be found are another option for beverages. Juice should be introduced into the diet no earlier than eighteen months old and should be a special treat for the infant, but a daily occurrence.
When giving a child juice, make sure to dilute it with water. Typically two parts water to one part juice is a happy medium and will give the child the juice taste, but will be better for them. Always keep in mind that juices have high amounts of sugar and is classified as an acidic beverage. High sugar content will cause tooth decay in the child and create an addiction at an early age. Since juice is acidic it is harsh on the stomach, which could lead to stomach issues and diseases later in life. Nevertheless, diluted fruit juice is an option for additional beverages that can be incorporated into the child’s diet.
Is There a Good Age for Tea?
Tea is a beverage that is typically drunk by young adults and adults. Most children and teenagers don’t enjoy tea since it has a distinct flavor. The flavor of tea is an acquired taste and requires much tasting and sampling different kinds until a favorite flavor is decided. Tea comes in dozens and dozens of different flavors and containers, ranging from decaf to caffeinated and tea bag to stir in brands. Iced tea is a common summer drink to cool down and refresh and has become offered in varieties of different flavors. Many fruits have been inspiration for tea flavors.
Tea is not suggested for infants of any age. If you would like to incorporate tea into your child’s palate, do so once the child is a bit older, perhaps two or three years old. The child may not enjoy the taste, so if there is an aversion, do not push the tea on them. They will come around sooner or later to the taste of tea. Herbal teas that do not have any correlation to black tea or green tea, but only has fruits in it is the best tea for children to drink.
Another important thing to remember is that if you give a child tea, make sure to dilute it first. By adding two parts water to every one part tea, not only the strong flavor will be diluted, but so will the caffeine. Diluting makes it much easier to keep the child healthy and also give them what they want. If you are ever unsure about what to feed your baby and what to give it to drink, please see a doctor or pediatrician before doing anything drastic. Your doctor will be able to guide you towards a dietitian and other information that will be useful.