Most of us already know that Rooibos tea is good for us, but can you give rooibos to a baby? We spoke to some experts to find out about Rooibos tea for babies and toddlers, and we discovered that Rooibos has more than one use when it comes to our children’s health and wellbeing.
Kath Megaw is a paediatric dietitian and co-author of the book Feeding Sense, and she suggests that Rooibos can be introduced when babies begin with solids, which can be anything from 17 weeks (or roughly 4 months), depending on the child.
“Small amounts of water and rooibos tea can be included once the baby starts on solids. Rooibos is caffeine free and free of tannins and is full of antioxidants, and it has digestive benefits for infants,” she says.
Rooibos is packed with antioxidant-rich micronutrients (polyphenols), and one of them, Aspalathin, is only found in the Rooibos plant. These antioxidants act as a prebiotic in our gut and have a calming effect on the digestive system.
As a caffeine free beverage, Rooibos is suited to babies and children as it won’t interfere with sleep. Being free of tannins is of value as tannins can interfere with the absorption of iron in the body. It is important to note that Rooibos should not be used as a meal replacement.
Christine Klynhans, SACLC (South African Certified Lactation Consultant) and owner of All Things Breastfeeding, suggests that when giving Rooibos tea to little ones, you should use organic tea, as this ensures that no pesticides or insecticides have been used in the production of the tea. She says you should also resist the temptation to add any form of sweetener like honey, sugar or juice to rooibos that you give a baby.
“Rooibos is naturally sweet and if you introduce rooibos tea without sweetener the baby will not miss the sweetness. Adding honey, sugar or juice can also be harmful to their teeth.”
Klynhans also recommends the use of rooibos tea to help with children’s skin irritations.
“You can add a strong cup of rooibos tea to baby’s bath water to help soothe the skin, or you can let a rooibos tea bag cool off after being soaked in boiling water and apply the tea bag directly onto the skin.”