Rooibos Tea For Babies and Breastfeeding Moms

Calling All New Moms!

South Africans have been using rooibos tea for babies for decades. Let’s find out why.

Mother with her newborn

Rooibos Tea relieves colic, nappy rash and allergies.  Rooibos safely and gently relieves many other problems common to newborns, infants and breastfeeding moms. It also improves milk production.

Rooibos tea is easy to make and easy to take. Apply it topically to treat rashes, cradle cap and other skin complaints. Take as a herbal tea to help relieve wind and cramping. It is so mild and so gentle on both moms and tots.

It is also very affordable.

The taste of black, unsweetened rooibos tea is unique. It has an astringent, yet slightly sweet taste and its aroma is refreshing and rejuvenating for the mind. It’s used to wean babies from the breast to the bottle, or onto solids.

But most important, Rooibos has zero adverse reactions. Zero!

This is especially good news for newborns. With newborn babies there is not much you can administer to ease common ailments, without side effects.

Rooibos Tea and Breastfeeding

The WHO (World Health Organization) advocates breastfeeding. The benefits of breastfeeding infants for the first 6 months are widely known. Breastfed babies receive all their antibodies via breast milk, they get optimal nutrition and the mother-baby bonding is priceless.

Why is Rooibos tea safe for newborns and breastfeeding moms?

Rooibos tea is caffeine free, low in tannins and loaded with phytophenolic compounds (key compounds in plants that give plants their beneficial properties).

Babies don’t have the necessary enzymes to process caffeine. Giving newborns regular tea is a big no-no. So breastfeeding moms, avoid any beverages or supplements containing caffeine.

Tannins inhibit iron absorption, another reason why moms should swap regular Ceylon teas out for a Rooibos brew instead.

How does Rooibos benefit breastfeeding moms?

  • Improves milk production
  • Reduces stress hormones
  • Relieves mastitis
  • Acts as a supplement to breast milk

Reduce stress and keep calm

Breastfeeding, although the most natural way to feed your new baby, is not always a stress free, simple procedure.

And a stressed mom inevitably leads to a stressed baby.

When we get stressed, whether it is mental or physical, our stress hormones send out adrenaline and cortisol. This means breast milk produced will contain these hormonal stimulants. Babies, being the pure, sensitive creatures they are, get anxious and over-stimulated. This often leads to a bad feed.

Babies may struggle to “latch” because they pick up that mom is stressed, which in turn leads to lowered milk production, which leads to more stress. And stress leads to poor sleep (for both moms and tots). So it becomes a vicious cycle.

Rooibos is known for its soothing, calming effect. Moms drinking 6 or more cups of Rooibos daily will pass on all the goodness in Rooibos, to their babies.

Give your baby a bottle of Rooibos tea and your little one gets the benefit of two phenols, unique to Rooibos, aspalathin and nothofagin. These compounds reduce levels of cortisol. This is great news for both baby and mom. Rooibos is also high in magnesium and calcium, both promoters of a good night’s sleep.

Rooibos stimulates milk production

If a new mom has problems with the amount of milk she produces, she can drink rooibos tea. Rooibos is a recognized galactogogue. A galactogogue is a food or drug that stimulates milk production in lactating mammals.

Scientific evidence that proves why galactogogues improve milk supply is still inconclusive, but mothers throughout the ages have used herbal galactogogues and swear by their effectiveness. Research has shown that galactogogues work, but more studies are needed to prove why they work. This is even more true for herbal galactogogues.

Rooibos is by far the safest of all the herbal galactogogues because no adverse side affects are ever reported.

Other herbal galactogogues include fenugreek, chamomile and turmeric. But all these herbs can produce adverse reactions. In the case of fenugreek, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and flatulence have been reported. In extreme cases liver toxicity has been reported. [1].

Apply Rooibos topically to relieve mastitis

Blocked milk ducts lead to breast engorgement as well as mastitis. It is a painful condition and can also result in bacterial infections. Because Rooibos is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, it works well in treating mastitis. By drinking the tea and/or applying topically swelling will go down and infection is avoided.

Chamomile and turmeric also get applied topically to treat mastitis. But with both herbs cases of dermatitis have been reported. [2][3]

Rooibos Tea as a supplement to breast milk

Rooibos contains a complex blend of antioxidants and flavonoids.

Supplement your baby’s diet with rooibos and you may find it will:

  • reduce symptoms of asthma and other respiratory ailments.
  • improve baby’s ability to digest breast milk efficiently, thereby reducing the chances of colic.
  • promote good sleep patterns.

Rooibos is given to babies as a supplement to breast milk, but not as a substitute.

And though it is not crammed with high levels of vitamins and trace minerals, rooibos does contain some nutritive value in the form of zinc, copper, manganese, calcium and magnesium.

Rooibos relieves symptoms of colic

Colic is probably the most common and the most frustrating condition babies get.

Colic babies cry uninterruptedly. A bout of colic can last for hours and leave both mom and baby exhausted, tired and hungry. Reasons for colic range from allergic reactions to milk protein (in formula fed babies), to sensitivity to breast milk (from mom’s diet). As a result babies experience bad wind, cramping and flatulence. And for newborns, these symptoms are painful.

Rooibos contains chrysoeriol, a flavonoid that packs a hefty punch. Studies prove it is an antioxidant, antispasmodic and bronchodilator, among other things. And it is these properties that ease the painful symptoms of colic.

Newborns, nappy rash and Rooibos

Newborns are literally brand new! Their skin is fragile and delicate. Something as simple as leaving a wet diaper unchanged or a bout of diarrhea can cause terrible “nappy rash”.

The anti-inflammatory properties in Rooibos, bring fast relief to most skin problems in newborns and toddlers. Whether it is cradle cap, slight sunburn, allergic reactions or eczema, a Rooibos solution applied straight onto the affected areas will bring instant relief.

Rooibos contains alpha-hydroxy acid and zinc. It is these compounds, along with various other active ingredients, that make Rooibos tea such an effective first aid remedy.

How to apply Rooibos topically on newborns and babies

It is very easy and safe to use Rooibos tea as a wash on newborn baby skin.

All you need to do is
  1. Boil water and let it go off the boil.
  2. Pour into a pot or mug (250ml).
  3. Add 3 organic rooibos teabags or 3 tablespoons organic rooibos loose leaves.
  4. Stir gently, cover and allow to steep until lukewarm.
  5. Remove bags or strain leaves.
  6. Dip a face cloth or cotton wool into the rooibos infusion and dab gently onto the affected areas.
  7. Repeat 3 or 4 times and allow to dry.
  8. Repeat every 3 hours until redness and swelling starts to lessen

How to topically apply rooibos on babies graphical instructions

How to brew Rooibos for babies and newborns 

It may take a few times before your baby acquires the taste of Rooibos tea but don’t be too quick to sweeten it or add milk. They will soon enjoy the taste because it also smells wonderful and leaves a refreshing aftertaste.

  1. Boil the kettle and pour water into a cup. Only then add the teabag. This is the best way to take Rooibos, according to the South African Rooibos Council.
  2. If using leaves, you can put a tablespoon of leaves into a pot, add a cup of water (250ml +) and heat slowly on stove. Just as it starts to boil, switch the stove off.
  3. Allow to steep, but only for about 2 minutes. If you are making a pot for you and baby then you can steep for longer.
  4. When you put it into the bottle, dilute with water. Start babies off with this weaker brew and increase strength over time.

If you give your baby rooibos regularly then a weaker brew is more than adequate. This is, again, because there are no adverse reactions from drinking or applying Rooibos.

What is the best Rooibos Tea for babies, newborns and breastfeeding moms?

Organic Rooibos is, without a doubt, the only kind to use when treating newborns. And that is the only requirement.

It doesn’t make any difference to the results if you brew an infusion made from teabags or loose leaves.

You can choose from the unfermented green Rooibos or the original fermented “black” Rooibos. Both types contain enough antioxidants to be effective.

Green Rooibos is quite a bit more expensive than the normal kind but is does have a higher percentage of antioxidants. In all honesty, unless you are rolling in greenbacks, the fermented regular rooibos will be just as effective.

But do make sure it’s organic.

Where to get Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea is widely available online and it’s also exported to many countries like Germany, the United Kingdom, the US and Japan. It is found in whole food stores and specialty stores in all these countries.

A book on Rooibos, by Dr Annique Theron, who developed an entire health and beauty range based on her research on Rooibos.

Bottom Line

Organic Rooibos tea is the ideal herbal remedy for newborns as well as pregnant and breastfeeding moms. Rooibos is 100% safe, caffeine free, low in tannins and bursting with antioxidants and other flavonoids.

It brings relief to babies suffering from colic, increases milk production in lactating moms. It brings relief to babies with allergies, rashes, eczema and sunburn. Rooibos makes an ideal supplement to breast milk and is used to wean babies off the breast.

Rooibos tea is taken orally as a refreshing tea, hot or cold. It’s also applied topically to treat inflammatory skin conditions and allergies. It promotes healthy sleep patterns, vital for overall health.

So remember moms – Keep Calm and Drink More Rooibos! 

And Yeah, don’t forget to spread the love by sharing this article with your love ones. 

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