As adults, we may regularly or occasionally enjoy a nice cup of tea, or herbal versions like peppermint tea. Some people enjoy tea every day, while others may only enjoy it when they are sick.
As we are sipping on our tasty beverage, we may wonder when it would be okay for our child to start drinking tea. It seems harmless, it is certainly tasty, especially when it is flavored with something delicious, such as peppermint. So is it safe?
Back in the day, tea was believed to help cure babies who suffer from digestive problems, such as reflux or even colic. In fact, giving a baby herbal tea is still a common practice in some parts of the world. And since peppermint is supposed to have a calming effect on an upset stomach, it should be used to help cure our babies when they are suffering from gas or any other stomach issue, right?
Wrong. Research has shown that peppermint tea — or any type of tea — is not healthy for our children to consume.
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.
Can I Give My Baby Peppermint Tea? Answer: Not Recommended
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 peppermint tea before they are six months of age could result in an over-consumption of water, or water poisoning.
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. Consuming too many sugary foods or drinks can have negative results on your child’s teeth, such as tooth decay, as well as their weight. Consuming too many sugary foods or drinks can reduce your baby’s body’s ability to absorb the correct amount of vitamins and nutrients.
Not only can your child suffer from weight problems, but he or she may also suffer from malnutrition. 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.
Keep It Simple and Easy
Remember, children under six months of age do not require any additional intakes 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.
Ask Your Doctor if…
As always, if you have any questions about peppermint tea, 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.