Is It Safe for Infants to Drink Herbal Teas?
Herbal teas may help your baby with some ailments, such as colic and gas. However, the University of Maryland Medical Center states that you should never offer your baby any herbal tea unless her doctor gives permission. Some herbal teas are dangerous and can be toxic, so it is important to understand how to prepare herbal tea and which teas are typically safe.
According to Babycenter, you can offer your baby tea as long as he is at least six months old. Until six months of age, he needs only breast milk or formula in his diet, and his developing digestive system may not be able to handle anything else.
To prepare tea for your baby, steep 1 tsp. of herbs in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Allow the tea to cool completely before offering 1 tsp. to your baby before and after feedings. Your baby’s doctor may suggest that you try giving your baby fennel, chamomile or lemon balm tea as a colic remedy. Peppermint and linden tea may help relieve gas symptoms, and caraway and dill tea can aid in digestion.
Keep in mind that if you are breast-feeding, offering your baby other types of drinks may diminish your milk supply. Breast-feeding operates with supply and demand, so if your baby is filling up on beverages like tea, juice or water, he may have less room for breast milk. Offering your baby tea regularly instead of breast milk or formula can also prevent him from getting the nutrients necessary for proper growth and development.
Excess sugar can harm your baby’s developing teeth, so avoid adding any sugar or sweetener to her tea. Some types of tea come already sweetened, so read the labels and only offer unsweetened tea to your baby. Do not give your baby herbal tea made from Chinese star anise. According to Babycenter, Chinese star anise is a traditional treatment for colic that can sometimes be contaminated with a poisonous herb.
- tea image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com