Herbal teas sound healthy enough, but are they something that should be given to your baby?
As a parent, we are often overwhelmed with the decisions we have to make for our children. Since they do not come with instruction manuals at birth, it is up to us to learn and decide what they eat, how they dress, what they should have when they are sick…There are too many things that we, as parents, are responsible for with our little ones, and even with the books, instructional DVDs and doctors, it is something we just have to learn.
Even with all the researched and educated knowledge we receive along the way, we are also often bombarded by the opinions and beliefs of family members and friends. Most of these “home remedies” are old wives tales that were used when we were children or when our parents were children. One of these old wives tales is giving our baby herbal teas.
Back in the day, herbal tea was believed to help cure babies who suffer from digestive problems, such as reflux or colic. In fact, giving a baby herbal teas is still a common practice in some parts of the world. However, research has shown that herbal tea —or any type of tea — is not healthy for our children to consume.
Can I Give My Baby Herbal Teas? Answer: No.
As babies, our children need a great amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients for healthy growth and development. Before our child’s first birthday, these essential vitamins and nutrients are provided in the form of breast milk or formula. While our children should also consume fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods when they are ready for solids, these foods do not provide the essential amount of vitamins and minerals needed for healthy growth in our children.
Breast Milk and Formula Are Enough
Also, before your child is over six months of age, he or she does not need to consume any supplemental water or juice. All of the liquid your child needs to be healthy and to quench thirst is their regular consumption of breast milk or formula. Giving your baby herbal teas before they are six months of age could result in an over-consumption of water, or water poisoning.
Not Really Necessary
Even after your child is six months of age, they still do not need to consume much supplemental fluids. Some doctors may recommend giving your child water or juice just to become introduced to new liquids. Tea should only be introduced to your child when he or she is old enough and after you first consult with your child’s doctor.
Tea is also known to limit your baby’s intake of iron. Your baby needs the correct amount of iron for healthy growth and development. Iron in the body is used to help supply oxygen throughout your baby’s body, and it is also an essential part in the development and functionality of your baby’s brain. Children who do not receive enough iron can have long-term learning problems.
Some tea also contains excess sugar that your baby does not need to consume. Eating too many sugary foods can have negative results on your child’s teeth as well as their weight. Your baby does not need any extra calories that are provided through sugary foods and drinks. The calories found in sugar do not have any health benefits, and are more of a risk than a reward.
No Extra Water Needed
Remember, children under six months of age do not require any additional intake of water. They receive the correct amount of water they need for thirst, growth and development through regular consumption of breast milk or formula. While we as adults may enjoy a nice cup of tea, it is not recommended to give to your child. Not only does your child not need the extra fluids, but tea can also decrease the amount of iron your baby’s body receives. Your baby needs a good amount of iron for healthy growth and development. Tea may also contain excess sugars, which are not needed in your baby’s diet.
As always, if you have any questions about herbal teas, giving tea or any other form of supplemental liquid to your child, or knowing when your child could start having tea, it is best to consult your child’s physician. He or she will be able to answer your questions and discuss your concerns in more thorough detail.