The Advantage of Tea for Infants
According to most myths, tea should be included in the baby`s diet. We heard at least once at someone we know about giving tea to her baby because she thought it would relax him and he would go to sleep earlier. Nothing more false!
On the other hand, we always read about the benefits of tea consumption, about the antioxidants contained by tea and about the relaxation that a cup of tea brings us. But let`s not forget that this is mostly about the consumption of tea by adults. When it comes to babies, according to recent research, they need to avoid drinking tea, even natural tea made from plants.
Table of Contents
Tea Prevents the Absorption of Minerals
Tea contains polyphenols which interact with iron in the intestines of the infant. Iron intake is very important for the baby to develop healthy during the first years of his life. His body will use iron to produce hemoglobin, which has the role to offer oxygen to every cell from the organism, and offers color to the red cells. Additionally, iron is also necessary for optimal brain developing, and iron deficiency at babies can cause long term issues.
Starting from the idea that no parent will offer his infant black tea, green tea or tea with caffeine, herbal tea contains tannins which inhibits the capacity of the organism to absorb the minerals from food, such as iron, calcium, zinc, and minerals that are essential for the immune system and digestion of the child.
The statistics are clear: from 122 infants with ages between 6 months and 1 year who drink tea, it has been discovered that 32.6% from them (from 3.5% of those who didn`t drink tea) have developed some kind of anemia. More than this, another study has revealed that the inhibition of iron through the consumption of mint tea is of 84%, and from chamomile tea is of 47%.
The Need of Drinking Tea at Infants
The babies who drink tea lose from the calories they otherwise would assimilate from the breast milk or formula, because tea will reduce their appetite for milk. If it`s attempted to sweeten the tea (either with honey or sugar), then it`s not even necessary to talk at all about health. For instance, the British government has taken into consideration to forbid the consumption of tea in schools because of their little nutritional value.
In some areas of the world, tea is offered to children with the belief that it ameliorates some digestive issues, such as gastro-pharyngeal or colic. But the efficiency of herbal tea or any other kind when it comes to infants has never been proven from a medical point of view.
The tea that it is suppose to be designed for babies contains sugar, which it`s used to hide the bitterness of some plants. This could lead to dental problems and a sense of saturation. Consequently, the infant who drink tea regularly could start refusing to drink milk, leading to extreme cases of malnutrition and dehydration, even if the tea amount offered to infants is not that high. – Check this!
During the summer, when the need for liquids is high, breast milk or formula milk will their job just as well, being designed especially for such situations. So in such cases drinking tea isn`t advised. Because of the amount of liquids that the mother will offer to her infant during hot days, the milk will have a thinner consistency for the first minutes of breastfeeding, serving the purpose of satisfying the thirst of the infant. Because of this, the feeding periods are more frequent and much shorter during the summer as the child will feel the need to breastfeed not only to satisfy his hunger but also his thirst. If the infant is still thirsty, it`s advised to give him water instead of tea.
Tea for Baby Colic
Clinical studies have found chamomile tea and lemon balm tea to be a good remedy for baby colic. But for this to truly be a good remedy, it`s required to be consumed in large amounts. Even the doctors who made the research in this matter, instead of recommending frequent consumption of chamomile tea, they advise that is better to wait for baby colic to pass and the issue to be solved naturally, which is happening anywhere between 4 and 6 months.
Additional Useful Info on Tea
The best teas for babies are the herbal ones, from sources perfectly controlled. Still, it`s completely not recommended to offer tea to your child during the first 6 month of life.
Tea in the infant`s little stomach occupies too much space instead of milk, dilutes gastric juices, affects the digestive processes, causes bad assimilation of minerals and may lead to severe eating disorders for the child.
Later, when he`s able to start drinking tea, it shouldn`t be offered to the little one with anything but the child`s bottle.
It`s important to know that the tea shouldn`t be sweeten, and the amount of tea shouldn`t exceed 100ml/day. It should be offered to the child only before meal, regardless if they are breastfed or fed artificially, and only with the doctor`s advice.
Tea should be considered an extreme method of treating or relieving some medical issues (cough, colic, dehydration, etc), not a habit and shouldn`t be included in the baby`s diet as a permanent element.