Is Cinnamon Good for Babies?
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- Is It Safe to Give Cinnamon to Babies?
- When Can You Add Cinnamon to Your Baby’s Food?
- Health Benefits of Cinnamon for Infants
- Is Cinnamon Good for Teething Babies?
- Cinnamon Allergy in Babies
- Choosing and Storing Cinnamon for Baby Food
- Precautions to Keep in Mind
- Ways to Include Cinnamon in Your Baby’s Diet
Cinnamon is a popular spice used in a range of products and as a herb in certain alternative medicine. It is basically the inner bark of the cinnamon tree and has been used for hundreds of years as a spice and medicine.
If you’re a parent to an infant, you must be looking to introduce different spices in his diet once he turns 6 months of age. Cinnamon, also known as the wonder spice, is known to have many health benefits, but you must be thinking if it’s safe for a baby. Let’s find out!
Is It Safe to Give Cinnamon to Babies?
Many mothers include cinnamon in baby food once they start on solids and it is generally considered safe to offer babies cinnamon in small quantities in their food. Most babies handle cinnamon well when it is sprinkled in small quantities over their food. But heavy exposure can lead to stomach upsets, diarrhoea and allergies. Furthermore, what parents should note is there’s a certain type of cinnamon that’s safe for babies.
Note: For maximum benefits, you should choose Ceylon cinnamon for your baby and avoid Cassia cinnamon as it can be dangerous for your baby’s health.
When Can You Add Cinnamon to Your Baby’s Food?
For mothers wondering when can babies have cinnamon; a good time to start is after they are 6 months old.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon for Infants
Given below are some of the health benefits of cinnamon for infants:
- Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that are good for recovering from injuries and avoids falling sick.
- It is a strong antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage. It keeps their immunity boosted and protects vital organs.
- Cinnamon is good for digestion and improves the digestive capacity of a baby. It protects the stomach lining which prevents the digestive juices from harming the lining.
- Certain compounds present in cinnamon help treat asthma as they possess anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces blockages in the airway and promotes good respiratory health.
- It is an immunity booster and protects children from diseases. Common infections such as colds and stomach bugs can be kept at bay by consuming cinnamon.
- The topical usage of cinnamon promotes faster healing of wounds as it possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- It is also known to heal injuries such as bone fractures by speeding up the recovery process. Its anti-inflammatory properties promote blood flow and faster healing.
- Cinnamon protects the teeth and gums. Massaging the teeth with roast cinnamon prevents tooth decay and also cures aching and bleeding gums.
- Cinnamon is also good for children’s skin and protects it from pollutants. Topical application also gives relief from conditions such as eczema.
- Consumption of cinnamon regularly boosts children’s resistance to allergies as it boosts the immune system to fight antigens.
Is Cinnamon Good for Teething Babies?
Many parents give cinnamon sticks to teething babies as a way to soothe their gum pain. The hypothesis is that cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties and the flavour ease the pain in their teething gums. Babies who are given cinnamon sticks have been seen to calm down fairly quickly and there’s not much to worry about as the sticks don’t chip so easily. But you should be careful if you plan to give cinnamon stick to your baby and make sure that he is not left unsupervised, not even for a minute. Furthermore, you should talk to your baby’s paediatrician before offering your baby a cinnamon stick to chew on.
Cinnamon Allergy in Babies
Although it is uncommon, some babies can be allergic to cinnamon as their developing immune systems would perceive it as a threat to the body. The immune system creates antibodies and produces what’s called histamines that leads to the inflammation and irritation in the body. Here are some of the ways in which allergies manifest:
Symptoms on the Skin
Within minutes of exposure to the allergen, the baby’s skin will show rashes, redness of the skin and inflammation. It also includes itchy skin, irritation, blisters or eczema, tingling etc.
A runny nose, shortness of breath, red and itchy eyes, swollen lips and tongue are symptoms of allergies to food as well.
Cinnamon allergies can upset the gastrointestinal tract and lead to diarrhoea, stomach cramping and vomiting.
In severe cases of allergies, babies can go into anaphylaxis which can be life-threatening. Some of the symptoms of it include swollen lips and throat which blocks the air passage, tightening of the airways, vomiting, lightheadedness, drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness. This is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately by hospitalization.
Choosing and Storing Cinnamon for Baby Food
You need to be extra careful while picking spices for your baby due to a risk of adulteration in the products. Ensure you buy from a trustworthy outlet or dealer and only organically grown cinnamon. Irradiated cinnamon has a lower nutrient value such as the carotenoids and Vitamin C content, hence choose natural unprocessed ones. Cinnamon is available in the form of sticks and powder. When stored in airtight containers, the sticks last for about a year and the powder is good for about 6 months. The powder has a stronger flavour and sweeter smell although it lasts shorter. If you need your baby’s dish to have stronger flavouring with all the nutrients then add the powder into their smoothies or purees.
Precautions to Keep in Mind
If you are introducing cinnamon to your baby for the first time is it better to check for allergies by doing a skin patch test at the paediatrician’s clinic. If an allergy is discovered you will be advised to take cinnamon off the diet. Also, avoid cinnamon if the child is under any medication for blood thinning. Check the labels on products bought from supermarkets that contain cinnamon in the ingredients. Since allergies do not have medications for a cure, you will have to work with the paediatrician to manage the baby’s allergies. As it goes with all herbs and spices moderation is the key, too much cinnamon can cause severe gastrointestinal problems.
Ways to Include Cinnamon in Your Baby’s Diet
Cinnamon is a versatile spice that goes with a whole range of savoury dishes. Along with flavour, it offers a great nutrient boost to the baby. Here are some recipes to introduce it in the diet:
- Carrots and apple puree with added cinnamon
- Banana mashed in coconut milk along with cinnamon
- Rice pudding with peach and vanilla cinnamon flavouring
- Almond milk that’s homemade along with cinnamon
As long as your baby is not allergic to cinnamon, you can feed your baby cinnamon in small quantities in a safe and enjoyable way.
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