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How To Use Herbal Teas With Babies and Small Children

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 a 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 favorites!

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!

Be sure to pin this post to Pinterest! Thank you!

45 thoughts on “How To Use Herbal Teas With Babies and Small Children”

    1. Most all herbs can be used on little ones, but some of my favorites for children (that they will drink) are chamomile for better sleep, marshmallow root and licorice for sore throats and coughs, and peppermint/spearmint blend for upset tummies. Hope that helps!

      1. How often can i give my 10 month baby chamomile ? By the way I add some to his formula, to introduce him to it.

        1. It depends on what you’re using it for, Aymee. I give it to my babies before bed to help them sleep or before nursing periods to cut down on gas. If they’re fussy or teething you can give it to them every 1-2 hours while they’re awake. Be sure you test a small bit of chamomile and watch for any reactions as some people (a small amount) can have allergies to it. Here’s how to test herbs for allergies – https://growingupherbal.com/test-herbs-for-allergic-reactions/. Hope this helps!

    2. Hi Meagan! So happy I found your website. I was wondering if I could give my baby of 6 months a little bit of lavender tea mixed with my milk..

      Wonderfull page!

      1. Lavender is a relatively safe herb. However, you always want to test for an allergy to any herb before giving your baby a large dose of it. You, however, could drink lavender tea and some of the benefits would come through breastmilk if you are nursing.

  1. Liliana Mendoza

    I was wondering if I could give my 4 month old baby ginger and Limon herbal tea and how much if I can

    1. You sure can Liliana, and the average tea dose for children under 2 is 1/2-1 teaspoon of tea 2-3 times a day. The actual dosage will really depend on what you’re using the tea for, though.

  2. Can I give my 13-month-old chamomile lavender tea? I know the chamomile is okay, but I’m curious about the lavender. He’s teething quite badly (I think molars are coming in) and is pretty grumpy all day.

    1. Yes, Rebecca. Chamomile and lavender are both great for little ones as long as you know your baby isn’t allergic to the chamomile.

          1. Hi Meagan, my little one is struggling with pretty bad eczema I was told dandelion tea helps, he’s 6 months and breast fed. How much per day do you recommend? Thank you

          2. Hi, Bianca. Eczema is a complicated, chronic issue, and it often takes a good bit of time to bring the body back into a state of balance. With that said, babies sometimes have eczema that will go away as they get older. This is probably because their body systems continue to mature, and they stop reacting to foods in mom’s diet (or their formula if they’re formula-fed). With that said, I have a blog post about eczema here. It shares some root causes of eczema and some herbal supports that can be helpful. I would suggest reviewing the common causes to eczema and addressing those, one at a time. If you’re breastfeeding, you can take herbs and they will come through the breastmilk to your baby. Food and gut health are always the first things to consider with eczema. Next would be liver support and then immune support. Again, if this is something that doesn’t go away or get better, I would recommend working with a clinical herbalist for more direction. Hope this is helpful!

  3. Hi my baby is 2 months old I’m struggling with him at night he seems to fight his sleep so much I want to say he has had colic ever since he was born and reflex problems as well I can hear his little tummy upset sometimes I was wondering is it ok to give him lavender tea

    1. Lavender tea is safe for babies, and allergies to lavender are not common. However, if you’re nursing, it may be more helpful for you to drink the tea so its properties will come through your milk to baby. If you want to give it to baby directly, you’d only give him a small amount (say 1/2 – 1 teaspoon) a few times a day. You can run all this by your baby’s pediatrition or doctor just to be sure. Thanks for your comment, Yudit, and I hope this helps!

  4. Hi! My 15 month old is teething, and really hasn’t slept well in a while (With the teething making it worse), How do I give her chamomile tea? And how much? I usually just steep mine in the hot water that I heat up…so not sure how dosage would work?

    1. The normal dosage of chamomile tea would be around 3 8-ounce cups a day for a 150-pound adult. To figure the dosage for a child, I’d use Fried’s Rule or Clark’s Rule (see this post here) for that. The dosage will most likely be small (less than 1/2 cup per day). The easiest way to give little ones tea is to put it in a sippy cup, freeze it into popsicles, or put it in a medicine dropper and squirt small amounts into their mouth that way. Hope this helps, and best of luck mama!

  5. Hello,
    I am wanting to treat my son’s indoor/outdoor allergies (specifically Dust mites, mold, pollen, grass) using Nettle Leaf but am not sure on the dosage. Would that be something you would recommend and if ao, how much. TIA!!

    1. Hi, Veronica. It depends on the form you’re using the nettle in. If your son is old enough to take capsules, freeze-dried nettle capsules have been shown to be most effective for easing seasonal allergies. Fresh herb tinctures and fresh herb infusions can also be helpful when taken on a regular basis. David Hoffmann, in his book Medical Herbalism, suggests 2.5 – 5 mL of a 1:5 ratio tincture 3 times a day and 3 tablespoons of fresh (chopped) nettle leaf infused for 15 minutes in 1 cup boiled water 3 times a day. Capsule dosage will vary depending on the manufacturer so it’s best to look at the recommendations on the bottle. Hope this helps!

  6. Hello i have a 8 month old and has a cold that keeps coming back. Ever since she got the flu her immune system has been down. What can i give her a long with licorice tea? Right now she has a cold and cough

  7. Hi Meagan,

    I’ve been taking herbal infusions for quite some time. My favourite ones are red raspberry leaf, dandelion leaf and nettle infusions. They have really helped boost my milk supply and have kept my allergies at bay.

    I have a 9 month old and I was wondering whether I could start giving him some of my infusions? I think you mentioned that one teaspoon is recommended to start? I also wonder, has he been reaping the benefits through breastmilk?

    1. Yes, babies can have infusions (based on their weight or some other dosing formula for children) as long as the herb is a safe one for them. And yes, baby would be benefitting from the herbs through breastmilk. Good job, mama!

  8. Hello, Do you recommend a tea that I can give my 6 and 8 year old for a detox? I’m interested in dandelion and milk thistle. Do you recommend a tea that can be given to children? If so, what is the brand you recommend?
    THank you

  9. Thanks for the informative article! I’ve been searching for drink alternatives for my 9 month old baby because I knew I didn’t want her to drink sugar laden beverages like apple juice and orange juice.
    I have a sleepy time herbal tea with the following ingredients: chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, tilia, blackberry, orange blossoms, hawthorn, and rosebuds. Is this safe to give her?
    And what tea brands do you recommend that are also on the affordable side?
    Thank you!

    1. This tea sounds lovely and relaxing, and nothing is standing out to me as unsafe for that age. As far as tea brands I like that are affordable, Traditional Medicinals and Yogi tea are two great brands. You can also find brands like Bigelow, Celestial Seasonings, and Twinings in many grocery stores. I’m not sure about their herbal teas, as far as quality goes, but they are respected tea companies. Hope this is helpful, and thanks for the comment!

  10. Danielle Marie Cardenas

    Hi Megan, my 7 month old has a cough and phlem and i wanted to ask about mullein flower tea. How many ounces is ok to give to my baby, And how do I prepare it?

  11. Hello,

    My 6 month old has a bad cough for over a week, and I am not sure what kind of tea to give him and the dosage?

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi, Mari. I have many herbal cough recipes and posts on the blog. If you search “cough” on the search bar (in the sidebar on desktop, in the footer on mobile), you’ll find some help there. Best of luck!

  12. I had read that tea was not good for babies because of caffeine and tannins. I know that many teas do not have caffeine, but they still have tannins? Why do some sources say that even teas without caffeine are bad/limit nutrients because of tannins? Now that my baby is a year old, I was looking to see if it’s okay to give her my tea when she points to it and indicates she wants some. I’m guessing in moderation it’s fine, but would like more information on what types of teas are fine and at what age. Thanks!

    1. Tannins can block iron absorption, so drinking true teas or herbal teas with too many tannins wouldn’t be good for anyone, especially babies who likely need more iron than an adult would. Some teas for babies would probably be okay, but you may want to do it in between meals. All true teas have tannins, and when it comes to herbs, many of them contain tannins. You’d have to do some research on each herb to see which ones contain them and which don’t. Tannins are astringent, meaning they tighten and tone tissues. If you drink an herbal tea and it causes your mouth to feel dry, it likely has tannins in it. Hope that helps!

  13. Hi Megan, I typically give my 10 month old baby 2 oz of chamomile tea in her bottle along with about 4 oz of milk before bed (and then I drink the remainder of the brewed tea). Tonight, I accidentally brewed a cup of Yogi Lavender Honey tea and without thinking, added 2 oz to her bottle. I know that honey can be dangerous for babies, but this says it contains “honey flavor” which I’m thinking is ok? Just hoping I didn’t just mess up and potentially give my baby a dangerous mix. She seems perfectly normal and enjoyed drinking it. I’ve also drank plenty of it while nursing.

    1. The danger with raw honey is that it may contain botulism spores (Clostridium botulinum) (commonly found in soil as well). Botulism spores germinate into bacterial that, when colonized in the digestive tract, release a toxin that affects the neuromuscular system and basically poisons a person. While an adult’s body can overcome the bacteria before the toxin is produced, an infant’s digestive system is weaker. As far as whether a honey flavoring could contain botulism spores goes, I honestly have no idea. I would think that flavorings may be synthetic or not made of real honey. Maybe they’re even heated. Again, I’m not certain. It would be a good idea to do some research on botulism symptoms and talk to your child’s doctor to see what their thoughts are. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. I’d love to know what the doctor says if you talk to them, though.

  14. Denise Sandra Gonzales

    Hi,

    I make elderberry syrup for my family and friends and am thinking of adding lavender or chamomile to it… I usually make big batches at a time (2 gallons) how would I know what dosage to use and if I add lavender instead of chamomile is lavender safe for kids ?

    1. Both lavender and chamomile are safe for kids. As far as how much to use in your syrup goes, it would really depend on why you’re adding it to your syrup in the first place. Both of those herbs have several common uses. If you can share why you want to add them in, maybe I can better help you. With that said, both of these should not be steeped long at all. If chamomile is steeped longer than 10 minutes, its bitter properties are pulled out. Lavender is also a very strong herb, so you won’t want to use much of it, or it will overpower the flavor of the blend. Again, I’m happy to help more if I know why you’re wanting to add those to your elderberry syrup.

  15. Hi there,

    I have a 2 1/2 year old and I was wondering if Muellin tea could be helpful for a cold and congestion? She’s also a very picky eater and I’m not sure how I would get her to actually drink the tea. Any info on this would help 🙂

    1. Hi there, Francis. Mullein is a great respiratory tonic for dry coughs and deep seated congestion that doesn’t want to leave the lungs. Obviously I don’t know what kind of cough or congestion your child has, so I’m not sure if it’s the best herb for her or not, but perhaps you can tell by listening to her. If her cough is dry, spasmodic, and non-productive (she’s coughing no mucous up), mullein may be a good option for her. If her cough is wet and productive, there are better herbs to use. If it’s a fit and drinking tea is a problem, you can make a mullein syrup and give that to her. I hope this is helpful. Best of luck!

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