What do you do when you have a small baby (let’s say less than 1 year old) or a small child, and you want to be able to use herbs with your little one to help them through some rough times that are common among babies? The problem is that you don’t really feel like you know enough about herbs, and therefore you don’t really know where to start. Forget that little ones can go through many different situations where herbs would be helpful, think about all the different herbs there are out there! Which ones do you use, and what’s the best way to use them with this age child?
Today I want to talk about one of my favorite ways to use herbs with a small baby that’s less than one year old. I also want to share some simple remedies that you can use for some common baby situations you might find yourself in… needing the help of God’s gift of herbs!
Herbal Teas for Baby
Herbal teas are one of my favorite ways to use herbs with little children for a few different reasons.
- The first reason is that herbal teas are very diluted which means there’s less risk of giving your little one too much of an herb.
- Another reason is that they can be made to taste good and/or they can be used in various ways to get kids to take them.
- And lastly, like many herbal preparations, teas can be made in different strengths (teas and infusions) depending upon how much of it the child needs to take, how it will taste (which will vary based on the herb used), and how you plan on using it.
How To Determine Dosage for an Herbal Tea
Since babies need such low doses of herbal remedies, teas are perfect to use for them. Now you may be wondering what dosage of herbal tea is appropriate for baby. Since this varies so much from herbalist to herbalist, let me just tell you what I do when trying to determine how much tea to give my little one.
First, I consider the herbs I’m giving them.
If I’m using herbs with no known upper limit or toxicities, then most times I don’t worry about giving too much in tea form. If for some reason I’m using an herb that isn’t necessarily a “children’s herb” then I’m more careful.
Next, I determine how much an adult would generally take in the form of an infusion.
When looking into dosing herbal teas for babies, I first consider how much of this would an adult take as an infusion. Most times, infusions are saved for nourishing herbs and an adult would usually drink around one quart (4 cups) of an infusion a day where an older child would most times drink 1/3 of a quart a day, and a baby may only drink 1/2 a cup of an infusion a day depending on what the herb was.
Again, these are general dosages… nothing is set in stone.
Okay, so if an adult typically drinks 4 cups of an infusion a day, then a small baby is only going to need 1/2 cup of a strong infusion, which means he’ll only need 1 1/2 cups of a weaker tea.
Lastly, I divide the dosage up into 4 parts.
When I use herbal teas for some of the more common childhood ailments, I want my child to get tea all throughout the day so I divide the total dosage up into four parts so my kiddo can drink a little after breakfast, a little after lunch, a little after dinner, and a little before bed. This helps to cover the entire day and make sure he’s getting the beneficial properties of the herbs in his system all throughout the day.
Getting Baby To Drink Tea
For babies under one year of age, most times they’re going to be primarily drinking some form of milk only (mamas, formula, or homemade formula). Usually around 6-8 months are other drinks introduced like small amounts of water or juice. Now I’m not a big fan of giving my kids juice, so instead, I work at getting them used to herbal teas instead. There are many mild tasting teas that are great for everyday drinking. Mint tea is one of our favorite!
Depending upon the tea, sometimes it can be challenging to get little ones to drink them so here are some tips for getting teas into your kid.
- use a sweetener – brew tea with a stevia leaf, use maple syrup or even a bit of glycerin
- use in place of water in foods like homemade jello or popsicles
- freeze into ice cubes for drinks or for smoothies
- drink cold instead of hot
Stay tuned for some upcoming herbal tea blends for some common children’s ailments!