Q&A: Baby Tea with Sugar Please (?)

Being a newbie to South Africa, I’m only acquiring a taste for Rooibos after 5 years of living here. But I’ve learned a lot about it and do enjoy a cup quite regularly. I received this question from a mom regarding Baby Tea:

MOM:  My baby is 3 months old and I started to introduce small amounts of Annique baby tea, which can be given from birth. I make it in litres, I added brown sugar to the tea, and he drinks it, but seems he is get cramps from the sugar what can I add as an alternative to the tea to make it just a bit sweeter?

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RESPONSE:  This is a very good question with a very important answer.  Trust me on this one: do not add sugar to baby tea, ever.  There are many reasons not to use sugar, and really no reasons other than our adult knowledge that “tea tastes better with sugar.”  So remember a few things:

1) Baby is a blank slate. He doesn’t know that sugar even exists, although he has a taste for it naturally from breast milk (formula).  He doesn’t know we add sugar to tea, and he’s more likely to never need to if we develop the tastes for it naturally from the beginning.

2) Annique baby tea states that it’s okay from birth (per their website), however it states quite a few times to not add sugar. Their tea is naturally sweet and best for baby as-is.

3) Many parents choose to wait until 6 months to introduce Rooibos, so if he continues to have issues after you remove the sugar, then I would recommend waiting to reintroduce it with solids at 6 months.  I’ve recently spoken with a pediatric nutritionist who doesn’t agree with Annique’s claim that their tea is safe from birth.

I promise you that the more “real” and unflavored you can keep baby’s food the better. It doesn’t mean that food will be bland, it means that the deep down tastes will be developed.  Using real herbs, veggies, oils, etc. and omitting sugar, salt, and added spices or sauces to baby’s food actually brings out the natural flavors and lessens the chances that he will want these added items (of which some are very unhealthy) as a later eater.

Best of luck mom. Enjoy honey & sugar in your tea….but leave it plain for baby.

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