When you shop through links on our site, we may receive compensation. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Can I Give My Baby Tea? How Safe It Is

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP
Tea for two — Learn the risks and benefits of tea for babies.

Growing up, my mom was — and still is — an avid tea enthusiast. In her eyes, there’s nothing that a warm brew of chamomile can’t fix. Now that I’m a mom who also enjoys tea and understands its benefits, I’ve been wondering if I can give my baby tea.

New parents often receive advice to avoid anything other than breast milk and formula (1). But many herbs, like dill and peppermint, are used synthetically for upset tummies, even for babies.

We thoroughly researched the topic of giving tea to babies and were surprised at our findings. Before arranging a tea party for your newest addition, check out what we’ve learned.

Key Takeaways

  • Babies can have herbal tea if they’re six months or older — but only in moderation.
  • Chamomile tea can help soothe digestion, has mild sedative properties, and is anti-inflammatory.
  • Some herbal teas, like chamomile, have been used to alleviate colic and cold symptoms in babies.
  • Avoid giving your baby caffeinated teas, sweetened teas, linden flower tea, and star anise tea.

Can I Give My Baby Tea?

You can give your baby tea if they’re six months or older, but only in moderation.

Before six months old, it is only safe to feed your infant breast milk or formula. Other fluids are not balanced in their electrolyte content, and your baby’s immature kidneys cannot handle them. It is also important not to replace breastfeeding or formula feeding with tea. This can result in poor weight gain and lower-than-optimal iron intake (2).
Headshot of Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP

Editor's Note:

Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP

Many tea drinkers know that herbal teas can positively affect adults’ bodies. They help us relax, energize, and improve our mood after a hard day.

With babies, you shouldn’t offer just any type of tea. The best ones are herbal options like chamomile that aid sleep and digestion (3).

Chamomile, in particular, contains several soothing properties that can relieve gassy or fussy babies.

Other herbal teas that are considered safe in moderation include the following (4):

  • Licorice.
  • Peppermint.
  • Ginger
  • Fennel.

Still, there hasn’t been much research into how teas affect babies. Some herbs are generally labeled as safe for babies. However, you should always keep quantities small, and we suggest you consult your pediatrician first (5).

Milk Supply

Giving your baby tea as an alternative to breast milk too often can cause a decrease in your supply. Breast milk is an on-demand supply, so if your baby isn’t feeding as much, your body produces less (6).

Chamomile Tea for Babies

Chamomile is known as a carminative herb. It contains properties that allegedly prevent gas formation and promote gas expulsion. Some suggest it works by relaxing the small bowel muscles, making it easier to pass gas and bowel movements.

Another great benefit of chamomile is that it’s a mild sedative. Many adults take it before bed. It even gets a mention to that effect in the Peter Rabbit story.

Chamomile can soothe your baby, but use it in moderation — giving them a cup of chamomile won’t help them sleep through the night.

Chamomile is also anti-inflammatory (7). People have been using it for thousands of years, and it’s still as popular, if not more so, today.

Chamomile and Other Herbal Teas for Colic

Chamomile can alleviate many things, but when it comes to colic, it’s a gray area.

Baby colic is defined as a condition where a baby cries excessively during the first 12 weeks of life. Experts are unsure of the cause but suggest it has to do with issues such as gas, overfeeding, hunger, or intolerance to certain substances (8).

Some specialists have experimented with giving babies younger than six months chamomile for colic. In one study, doctors administered a blend of German chamomile, fennel, vervain, balm mint, and licorice to babies between two to eight weeks.

This clinical trial showed that chamomile tea helped over half of the babies in roughly seven days (9). No significant side effects were reported. But parents looking for relief from frequent wakings throughout the night were out of luck — it didn’t seem to affect nighttime wakings.

In another trial, doctors administered chamomile and apple pectin to babies experiencing acute diarrhea. Parents reported that the bout ended earlier than those treated with a placebo (10).

Once your baby is six months and older, chamomile tea might be an alternative to try.

Chamomile has proven many times to soothe the symptoms of colds, particularly when inhaled in its steam form. Although it won’t cure a cold, its calming effects can make sick children more comfortable.

Allergies and Chamomile

There are only a few side effects associated with chamomile tea. If you or your partner is sensitive to the herb, it’s best to avoid giving it to your child. People with a ragweed allergy will also have difficulty drinking chamomile (11).

If you’re in doubt, contact your pediatrician. Otherwise, other carminative herbs, like fennel, can aid a baby’s digestion.

Teas to Avoid

Not all teas are safe for babies — some can be harmful. Teas to keep away from include the following:

  • Star anise tea, especially Japanese star anise.
  • Sweetened teas — these can cause trouble with your baby’s developing teeth.
  • Black teas, like English breakfast tea.
  • Any caffeinated tea, including green and white teas — infants don’t need stimulants (12). There is also concern about the effects of prenatal caffeine exposure.
  • Linden flower tea can harbor botulism, a bacteria that causes a life-threatening infection (13).
Japanese star anise is a neurotoxic plant (14). It contains sesquiterpene lactones and should not be given to babies of any age.[/callout[

Here for the Tea

Can I give my baby tea? Yes, if your baby is six months and older, giving them a few sips of herbal tea during sickness may soothe them.

However, parents should always err on the side of caution when it comes to infants. Unless otherwise directed, stick with breast milk or formula.

When giving tea, ensure that it’s listed as safe. Avoid caffeinated teas, linden flower, and star anise, as these can cause poisoning and other afflictions. Always give it in moderation, and don’t substitute tea for breast milk or formula.

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP

Leah Alexander, M.D. FAAP is board certified in General Pediatrics and began practicing pediatrics at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey in 2000. She has been an independently contracted pediatrician with Medical Doctors Associates at Pediatricare Associates of New Jersey since 2005. Outside of the field of medicine, she has an interest in culinary arts. Leah Alexander has been featured on Healthline, Verywell Fit, Romper, and other high profile publications.