Chamomile Tea for Babies? And Other Herbal Baby Teas – Happiest Baby
Dr. Harvey Karp, MD, FAAP
Through the ages, teas to aid digestion have been recommended for unhappy babies.
So, is chamomile tea safe for babies? Yes. Traditionally, mothers brewed chamomile tea for babies—as well as peppermint, fennel, or dill teas—to help upset tiny tummies.
The ancient roots of this practice are reflected in the names different cultures have chosen for these herbs. In Spanish, peppermint is called yerba buena, meaning the “good grass”; in Serbian it’s nana, meaning “grandmother.” Dill was used to settle stomachs in ancient Egypt and Greece, and in Viking times. Its English name derives from the Old Norse word dilla, meaning “to soothe or calm.”
Chamomile Tea for Babies
Chamomile tea for babies is said to have calming properties; peppermint may ease intestinal spasms; dill helps soothe gas; and fennel has been reported to dilate intestinal blood vessels, perhaps facilitating digestion.
Interestingly, some studies have shown a lessening in crying after fussy babies are given herbs. An Israeli report found a tea containing chamomile, fennel, vervain, licorice, and balm mint lessened fussing more than placebo. And an Italian study found that drops of chamomile, fennel, and lemon balm extract had some benefit.
Trying Herbal Teas for Babies
In general, I prefer not giving babies any oral supplements or remedies, but if you want to give baby tea a try, here’s how:
How to Give Chamomile and Other Herbal Teas to your Baby
- Prepare a dill tea or a fennel tea for babies first by crushing some seeds between two spoons or put some in a small bag and mash them a few times with the bottom of a heavy mug.
- Then, place two teaspoons of the broken seeds in a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes
- Then strain it and let it cool.
- Offer your baby a teaspoon of this brew several times a day.
Dill is also found in “gripe water,” a folk remedy for colic that can be found in stores in the United States, Great Britain, and the Commonwealth nations. This remedy has never been shown to be effective, and it often contains unwanted sugar, sodium bicarbonate, and other additives.
Note: Never give tea made of star anise! In babies, star of anise tea can cause neurological problems, including seizures.
About Dr. Harvey Karp
Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America’s most trusted pediatricians, is the founder of Happiest Baby and the inventor of the groundbreaking SNOO Smart Sleeper. After years of treating patients in Los Angeles, Dr. Karp vaulted to global prominence with the release of the bestselling Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block. His celebrated books and videos have since become standard pediatric practice, translated into more than 20 languages and have helped millions of parents. Dr. Karp’s landmark methods, including the 5 S’s for soothing babies, guide parents to understand and nurture their children and relieve stressful issues, like new-parent exhaustion, infant crying, and toddler tantrums.
View more posts tagged,
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Submit your questions here.
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.
Can I Give My Baby Tea? (How Safe It Is)
Growing up, my mom was, and still is, an avid tea enthusiast. In her eyes, there’s nothing that a warm brew of chamomile can’t fix. Now that I’m a mom, I started wondering, “Can I give my baby tea?”
New parents often receive advice to steer away from anything other than breast milk and formula (1). But, many herbs, like dill and peppermint, are used synthetically for upset tummies, even for babies.
So, is the tea form that different? We’ll see what the answer boils down to.
- Babies can have herbal tea if they’re six months or older, but only in moderation.
- Chamomile tea can help soothe digestion, has mild sedative properties, and is anti-inflammatory.
- Some herbal teas, like chamomile, have been used to alleviate colic and cold symptoms in babies.
- Avoid giving your baby caffeinated teas, sweetened teas, linden flower tea, and star anise tea.
Table of Contents
- Can I Give My Baby Tea?
- Chamomile Tea for Babies
- Chamomile and Other Herbal Teas for Colic
- Allergies and Chamomile
- Teas to Steer Away From
- Here for the Tea
Can I Give My Baby Tea?
You can give your baby tea if they’re six months or older, but only in moderation.
Prior to six months old, it is only safe to feed your infant breastmilk or formula. Other fluids are not balanced in their electrolyte content, and your baby’s immature kidneys cannot handle them. It is also important not to replace breast or formula feedings with tea. This can result in poor weight gain, and lower than optimal iron intake (2).
Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP
As many tea drinkers will know, herbal teas can have positive effects on the body of adults. They help us relax, energize, and improve our mood after a hard day.
With babies, you shouldn’t offer just any type of tea. The best ones are those like chamomile that aid sleep and digestion (3).
Chamomile, in particular, contains several soothing properties, which can relieve gassy or fussy babies.
Other herbal teas that are considered safe in moderation include (4):
Still, there hasn’t been a lot of research into how teas affect babies. Some herbs are generally labeled as safe for babies. However, you should always keep quantities small, and we suggest you consult your pediatrician first (5).
Giving your baby tea as an alternative to breast milk too often can cause a decrease in your supply. Breast milk works as an on-demand supply, so if your baby isn’t feeding as much, your body begins to produce less (6).
Chamomile Tea for Babies
Chamomile is known as a carminative herb. It contains properties that allegedly prevent gas formation and promote gas expulsion. Some suggest that it works by relaxing the small bowel muscles, making it easier to pass gas and bowel movements.
Another great benefit of chamomile is that it’s a mild sedative. Many adults take it before bed. It even gets a mention to that effect in the Peter Rabbit story.
Chamomile can soothe your baby. but use it in moderation — giving them a cup of chamomile won’t help them sleep through the night.
The last benefit of chamomile that we’ll mention is it’s also anti-inflammatory (7). People have been using it for thousands of years — it’s still as popular, if not more so, today.
Chamomile and Other Herbal Teas for Colic
Chamomile can alleviate many things, but when it comes to colic, it’s a gray area.
Baby colic is defined as a condition where a baby cries excessively during the first 12 weeks of life. Experts aren’t exactly sure what’s happening, but suggest it has to do with causes such as gas, overfeeding, hunger, or intolerance to certain substances (8).
Some specialists have experimented with giving babies younger than six months chamomile for colic. In one study, doctors administered a blend of German chamomile, fennel, vervain, balm mint, and licorice to babies between two to eight weeks.
This clinical trial showed that chamomile tea helped over half of the babies in roughly seven days (9). There were no significant side effects reported. But parents looking for relief from frequent wakings throughout the night were out of luck — it didn’t seem to affect nighttime wakings.
In another trial, doctors administered chamomile and apple pectin to babies experiencing acute diarrhea. Parents reported that the bout ended earlier than those who were treated with a placebo (10).
Once your baby is six months and older, chamomile tea might be an alternative to try.
Chamomile has proven many times to soothe the symptoms of colds, particularly when inhaled in its steam form. Although it won’t cure a cold, its calming effects can make sick children more comfortable.
Allergies and Chamomile
There are only a few side effects associated with chamomile tea. If either you or your partner is sensitive to the herb, then it’s best to avoid giving it to your child. People with a ragweed allergy will also have a hard time drinking chamomile (11).
If you’re in doubt, contact your pediatrician. Otherwise, there are other carminative herbs you can use to aid a baby’s digestion, like fennel.
Teas to Steer Away From
Not all teas are safe for babies — some can be harmful. Teas to keep away from include:
- Star anise tea, especially Japanese star anise.
- Sweetened teas — these can cause trouble with your baby’s developing teeth.
- Black teas, like English breakfast tea.
- Any caffeinated tea, including green and white teas — infants don’t need stimulants (12). There is also concern about the effects of prenatal caffeine exposure as well.
- Linden flower tea can harbor botulism, a bacteria that causes a life-threatening infection (13).
Japanese star anise is a neurotoxic plant (14). It contains sesquiterpene lactones and should not be given to babies of any age. [/callout[
Here for the Tea
Can I give my baby tea? Yes, if your baby is six months and older, giving them a few sips of herbal tea during sickness may soothe them.
When it comes to infants, however, parents should always err on the side of caution. Unless otherwise directed, stick with breastmilk or formula.
When giving tea, ensure that it’s listed as safe. Avoid caffeinated teas, linden flower, and star anise as these can cause poisoning and other afflictions. Always give it in moderation, and don’t substitute tea for breastmilk or formula.
Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Tea for a child from 6 months. The benefits of tea for children.
During the first months of life, the baby consumes only one product: mother’s milk or formula. As he grows older, new foods and drinks are introduced into his diet. For young mothers, questions about the usefulness of certain products, their effect on the child’s body are always relevant. In this article, we tried to give a detailed answer to the question of what tea can be given to a child.
This drink is not recommended for children under 2 years of age because:
1) It contains tannins, in particular tannins, which bind iron and prevent its absorption in the body. Thus, drinking tea by young children can cause anemia (iron deficiency).
2) The alkaloids contained in it, namely theine (tea caffeine), stimulate the nervous system and increase the heart rate. It also disrupts the formation of vitamin D in the body, which can lead to the development of rickets.
3) Due to the presence of purine bases in it, a large amount of uric acid accumulates in the body, which the children’s kidneys are not able to remove. And this has a bad effect on the general condition of the baby: he becomes irritable, whines for no reason, small rashes may appear on his skin, and vomiting is also possible.
4) This drink is harmful to tooth enamel. When the oxalic acid in the tea infusion interacts with the calcium of the teeth, it destroys it and deposits coloring pigments on the enamel.
For adults, these effects are noticeable only when drinking too strong a drink or a large amount of it, and even a small portion can affect the child’s body.
From the above, it follows that it is undesirable to give children the tea that adults drink. So, what kind of tea can babies drink?
Tea for children from 6 months
Not so long ago, teas designed specifically for children under one year old appeared on the country’s markets. Starting from 6 months, they can be given to a child: at first in small portions and weakly brewed. There are no tea leaves in such a product — neither black nor green. They are powders of medicinal herbs, fruits and berries or sets of herbs. By brewing such a powder, we get a light orange liquid with a pleasantly sweet taste and a delicate aroma. Its sweet taste is provided by the addition of natural organic compounds to the powder, which act as sugar, so there is no need to add it, which is a big plus. Since glucose is formed during the breakdown of these organic compounds, for the body such a product will become its constant source. However, it is not recommended to use powdered teas in large quantities; it is better to drink herbal teas.
Tea for children from one year old
Herbal infusions can be introduced into the diet from the age of one, after consulting with a therapist. They can be brewed from mint, lemon balm, chamomile, fennel and other plants. Of course, not all herbs are suitable for this: some of them have strong medicinal properties and are not suitable for regular consumption.
But there are a large number of herbs and fruits from which you can constantly prepare a drink for small children. The infusions obtained from them are only beneficial if they are not abused and the concentration for the age of the drinker is observed. It is enough for a child to drink it no more than twice a week, and the components need to be changed regularly, since long-term consumption of one herb is not recommended. And by alternating these components, you can ensure the influx of various vitamins and minerals into your baby’s body. For example, this week we drink tea from lime blossom, the next — from rose hips and mint leaves.
You can collect plants yourself and dry them. And you can buy a collection of herbs from 4-5 types of herbs, roots and fruits in one package at the pharmacy.
Tea for children from two years old
What kind of «adult» tea should a child try for the first time: black, red, green, white?
This is actually a moot point. After all, one mother decides to offer her baby tea with the lowest caffeine content — this is red. And the other — considers that the one that has undergone minimal processing will be better — it’s green and white. Here the parent himself decides what will be more useful for his child.
As for the choice of tea between bags and leaves, the opinion here is unequivocal — preference should be given to the latter.
How to make tea for a child from two years old and the rules for its use tea leaves and pour boiling water. Insist should be no more than 30 seconds, then strain.
A few tips for parents on the use of this product.
• Due to the stimulating effect of tea, you can not give it to a child before bedtime.
• It is contraindicated when a child has a fever, because may contribute to its further improvement.
• You should drink only freshly brewed infusion, an hour after its preparation, the concentration of vitamins and other useful substances in it is significantly reduced.
• Children should not drink hot or cold tea. Only warm will do. Since hot — destroys tooth enamel and irritates the walls of the stomach, and cold — is poorly absorbed and loses most of the vitamins.
How to make tea even healthier?
Tea with milk
A very good option for preschoolers is tea with milk. It is much more useful than usual. Moreover, it can be offered to a child from two years old, observing a 1: 1 ratio. Older children can add milk in any amount. Milk makes the drink less concentrated, respectively, it reduces the negative effects of tannins and caffeine on the body. At the same time, all the “usefulness” in the drink is preserved.
Tea with honey
To improve the taste of tea infusion, it is much more useful to add honey instead of sugar. The fact is that sugar does not carry any benefit, and everyone knows about the healing properties of honey. The only problem is that frequent consumption of honey can harm children with allergies.
Tea with berries and fruits
Again, sugar can be replaced with these products. It will be both tastier and healthier. You can put pieces of fruit in it — apples, pears, lemons, grapefruits. Or berries — raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, black currants.
Proper use of a tea drink will completely eliminate its negative effect on the digestive organs of children and will only benefit the growing body.
discussing with a pediatrician — article on TSK
Traditional black tea, children’s instant or tisane — what is best to give a child? The choice is great and the recommendations are many. Someone relies on the opinion of older relatives in this matter, while someone prefers to ask a pediatrician. Children’s doctor Ekaterina Volkova helped us make a list of drinks allowed for children.
Any traditional tea (black, green, white, etc.) has many beneficial properties, but it has a different effect on a child’s body than on an adult. In particular, tannins affect the proper absorption of iron, purines increase the burden on the kidneys, and caffeine excites the nervous system. In addition, tannins, being a pigment substance, are able to quickly stain delicate milk teeth. It is for these reasons that doctors recommend caution in drinking tea in early preschool years.
Allowed: from 2 years old.
How to feed
Classic camellia sinensis tea should only be given to children in a highly diluted form, starting with 50 ml once every four days. From the age of three, it is permissible to drink 100 ml every other day, and from six — 200 ml every day. For black tea, make sure the infusion is very light in color. If you give green, check the strength of the drink to taste: it should not be tart. When introducing this product to the diet for the first time or increasing its dosage, carefully observe the behavior of the child. If you notice signs of headache, nausea, irritability, or inattention, stop giving your baby tea again.
Despite the large selection of special children’s teas (from granulated to ready-made drinks), pediatricians recommend treating such products with caution. First, drinks of this kind, as a rule, contain sweeteners. Secondly, children’s tea contains herbs, the effect of which on the baby’s body cannot always be predicted. Even harmless chamomile sometimes causes allergies. Before experimenting with such supplements, consult a pediatrician: if the child is healthy, then there is no need to try herbs, and if the child is sick, the specialist should choose the treatment.
Allowed: from 9 months.
How to feed
Opt for filter bags containing only herbs, avoid jars of instant tea. Start with a small amount of drink (50 ml) and watch your child carefully. At the slightest sign of an allergic reaction, refuse to introduce baby tea into the baby’s diet for several months.
Manufacturers of alternative types of tea often write that even children can drink them. However, here parents should be aware and careful. For example, hibiscus (an infusion of Sudanese rose, hibiscus) should not be given to babies who have problems with the gastrointestinal tract, Ivan tea can be carefully introduced into the diet only from 2–3 years old, pediatricians do not recommend offering rooibos until 3–4 years old, and mate should not be tried until late adolescence.
Some types of plants may be dangerous for a child up to at least seven years of age, and even longer (mint, licorice, tansy, juniper, lingonberry leaf, and others).
Allowed: from 2 years old, depending on the type of tisane.
How to introduce into the diet
Carefully study the composition of tisanes. Officially, medicine approves a rather small list of herbal ingredients that can be used as the basis for children’s tea. These include chamomile, fennel and lemon balm. All other types of herbal drinks should be discussed with a pediatrician or introduced into a child’s diet after three years. The exception is mate: this tea is generally considered an adult drink.
Not tea: other drinks in the diet of children
The main friend of children and adults. Doctors around the world believe that water is the only right option for quenching thirst. According to the latest WHO recommendations, it should be given to children only from six months. This rule works equally for breastfeeding and for artificial.
Allowed: from 6 months.
How to introduce to the diet
At home and on a walk, always keep enough fresh drinking water in stock for the child. Ideally, for myself too. The example of an adult is very important for a baby who, next to you, will learn to drink (and love) water, and not soda or juices.
A drink suitable for a child, useful due to vitamins and microelements. However, it is not worth making it the main drink, because even prepared without sweeteners, compote will contain sugars of natural origin.
Allowed: from 1 year old.
How to introduce into the diet
Compote should be cooked without adding sugar, from well-washed quality fruits/dried fruits/berries. It is allowed for children who are not allergic to the ingredients of the drink.
According to pediatricians, there is no need to introduce juices into the diet of a child of any age. For the gastrointestinal tract of a baby up to a year old, this is a very complex and allergenic product, and for older children, natural fruits, vegetables and berries will be much more useful.
Allowed: from 9 months.
How to feed
In infancy, start with 1-3 drops of one-component sugar-free juice. If the child has no signs of allergy, you can gradually increase the amount of the drink to 50 ml per day, while the juice should be diluted with water in a ratio of 1:1.
Milk is useful and necessary for a child as a source of vitamins and microelements. It is introduced into the diet from 9 months, adding to cereals and omelettes. Whole milk in its pure form is allowed to be given to the baby only after a year. At the same time, it is not recommended to use it to quench your thirst, since milk is an independent product.
Allowed: from 1 year old.
How to feed
Buy pasteurized milk with a fat content of no more than 3.5%. Be sure to make sure that the baby is not allergic to lactose, starting with a small amount of the product.
Kefir and yogurt
Healthy and important drinks, which, unlike milk, are fermented milk products.