Is Mint Tea Safe for a Baby?
Mint tea is a popular home remedy for congestion and insomnia. Frustrated parents may wish to give it to congested or overtired infants. However, tea poses several risks to infants. Little evidence suggests that it is an effective home remedy for their ailments. Parents seeking relief for their infant's congestion or insomnia should consult their pediatrician before trying home remedies.
For the first 6 months or so of life, a baby's sole source of nutrition should be formula or breast milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months of a child's life. After that, parents can begin introducing solid foods. Tea does not provide babies with healthy nutrition.
Tea and Hydration
In the first year 6 months of a child's life, she receives ample hydration from breast milk or formula. After this period, parents can begin giving their baby water. Babies do not need other liquids. Tea contains caffeine and sugar, both of which absorb water and dehydrate the body. Additionally, tea replaces healthier liquids like water. Pediatrician and author William Sears reports that babies are especially susceptible to dehydration, so tea poses a serious risk of dehydration.
Tea contains caffeine, which is dangerous for babies. Prior to the age of two, caffeine can cause substantial health problems including increased heart rate, insomnia and hyperactivity. Additionally, pediatrician and author William Sears points out that children's early foods may affect future food preferences. Thus a child who consumes caffeine may want caffeine late in life. By avoiding caffeine in the early years, you improve your child's chances of never craving unhealthy drinks such as soda.
Tea for Congestion
For babies suffering from congestion, mint tea is an inappropriate remedy. Because tea has not been tested on babies, there is no evidence that it relieves their congestion. If you're considering giving your child mint tea to improve congestion, try installing a humidifier in her room instead. This helps lubricate the sinuses and can clear up mucous in the throat.
- "The Portable Pediatrician"; William Sears, et al.;2011
- "Caring For Your Baby and Young Child, 5th Edition"; American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009
- "Health, Safety and Nutrition for the Young Child"; Lynn R. Marotz; 2011
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Caffeine in the Diet