Can my baby eat cinnamon?
Your child is brand new to this world, your ultimate pride, and joy, and relies on you for all of their nutritional needs. While you undoubtedly want to provide your little one with the absolute best food available, learning what they can and can’t eat can be a bit tricky. You can stick with the jarred food from the supermarket or even make your own, but babies, unfortunately, don’t come with a manual of what can and can’t be ingested. That’s why it’s up to you as the parent to make informed decisions regarding their health, especially when it comes to simple spices and giving your baby cinnamon.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a common spice found around the world and is essentially found on the inner bark of several species of trees, dating back to ancient Egypt. The word ‘cinnamon’ also refers to the color of the spice itself, a mid-tone brown that can sometimes include a reddish-orange tint. Whether used as a sweet or savory spice, cinnamon brightens up a dish with its unique taste, and giving your baby cinnamon can provide some healthy options to spicing up otherwise bland food, along with some positive side effects.
Here are some common health benefits:
- Antioxidant properties
- Lowers blood sugar
- Help fight bacterial and fungal infections.
- Can help curb inflammation
- Good for heart health, can cut the risk of heart disease.
While these are all fantastic factors to consider as adults, babies are starting life fresh, so they more than likely were born without the complications adults can develop as we age like heart disease, skin reactions, and even issues with blood pressure. So how will giving your baby cinnamon affect them?
When Can My Baby Have Cinnamon?
Since cinnamon generally doesn’t cause an allergic reaction in most children and adults, it should be safe to try it with your little one around six months of age. However, their first taste of cinnamon should be in a very small dose in case of a reaction.
If your child is already eating applesauce or other fruit-based baby foods, a sprinkle of cinnamon (perhaps only a quarter of a teaspoon) mixed in with their food shouldn’t cause any reactions, but if you notice your child becoming fussy, agitated, gassy or even crying after ingesting cinnamon, stop use immediately and call your doctor to make sure the child isn’t experiencing any sort of adverse reactions; giving your baby cinnamon can seem like a harmless idea, but it might have negative consequences.
Cinnamon can also be added to foods like yogurt, oatmeal; breakfast cereal; or any other soft food that your baby likes to eat and already tolerates well. If you have any concerns about your child’s cinnamon consumption, especially if other allergies or reactions run in your immediate family, contact your doctor ahead of time to be made aware of possible side effects or other possible risks that might be involved with giving your baby cinnamon.
Reactions to Cinnamon
Spice allergies make up about two percent of allergies people will experience in their lifetime, and cinnamon is among the most trigger-sensitive spices available, perhaps because of the strong aroma. Because spice allergies most often can’t be detected through the skin or blood tests, it can be difficult to determine the allergy ahead of time.
If you suspect your child might be sensitive to cinnamon, watch out for these signs: trouble breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, hives, wheezing, itchy skin, or even anaphylactic shock in the more serious cases of cinnamon allergies. Symptoms most typically occur within two hours of eating cinnamon, so please keep a close eye on your child during their first times of giving your baby cinnamon.
Babies with a cinnamon allergy have a different genetic makeup than those without. Their bodies won’t recognize the spice as something safe to eat, which means the immune system will start producing antibodies and histamine, causing irritation and inflammation throughout their little selves. If giving your baby cinnamon is something you’d like to try, the smaller the dose, the better.
What Products Contain Cinnamon?
While cinnamon isn’t on the regular list of allergies that babies typically experience, giving your baby cinnamon should always be done in small doses and never without close supervision. Large doses can cause adverse reactions that might set your child up for allergies later on in life, too. Your child might also have an allergic reacting to giving them other spices if not cinnamon, so please be aware that cinnamon might be an ingredient in other foods that you might not be aware of, such as:
Cinnamon could also be included in certain spice blends, like pumpkin spice and garam masala, which is why it’s very important to always read the ingredients on labels before purchasing for your child to consume. The long and short of it all is, if you have concerns that giving your baby cinnamon might cause a reaction of any sort, try it a sprinkle at a time and only with your watchful eye on them at all times. Also, avoid spicier kinds of spices, like pepper and cayenne, as the reactions to these foods can be worse than a cinnamon reaction, especially if a child accidentally rubs it in their eyes.
As a parent, it’s hard at times to know what’s best for your child, especially when giving your baby cinnamon for the first time. Arm yourself with knowledge, read labels and ingredients, and you should be able to make the most informed decisions. A lot of food tastes in babies is trial and error, so try to err on the side of caution whenever possible. If your baby loves cinnamon, feel free to add it to whatever your heart desires (and they’ll eat!) but within reason.