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Rooibos and its benefits for babies and toddlers

By Liezl Compion

As a dietitian I often get asked the question if it is save to give Rooibos tea to a newborn baby? And the answer is without a doubt, yes! Rooibos tea have many health properties and as a completely caffeine free herbal tea without any side-effects I feel confident to give it to my own children and prescribe it as a healthy alternative to water to babies and older children.

It is however important in the first 4 months not replace the Rooibos with any milk feeds but to use it in small quantities between feeds especially on very hot days. Do not add any sugar or milk as a baby’s sensitive gut cannot tolerate it. Your baby will soon love the natural sweet taste of Rooibos or flavoured rooibos teas i.e. Carmién Sleepy time Strawberry and Camomile tea.

From weaning time (around 4-6 months) you can feel free to give rooibos without milk and sugar as a drink between milk feeds. A tip of a teaspoon of xylitol ( low glycemic index and completely natural) or a small amount of apple juice can be added from around 6 months to sweeten it slightly. This is however not necessary as your baby will drink what he/she is introduced to, so keep the sugar away if possible.

For toddlers and older children, homemade ice tea or ice lollies is a healthy alternative to fruit juices. Make a milky rooibos and sweeten with xylitol or add a small amount of juice or fresh fruit like strawberries or lemon and xylitol to make your own ice tea.

Liezl Compion

Liezl obtained her degree in Dietetics from the University of Stellenbosch in 2000. She started her career in the UK as a clinical hospital dietician. She obtained a wide range of experience in medical and surgical wards and diabetes and paediatric clinics, but her main area of expertise was paediatrics where she worked in the neonatal unit and dealt with parents and children with obesity, ADHD, allergies, fussy eaters, malnutrition and gut related problems.

After returning from the UK in 2004 she joined a private practice in Somerset West and Stellenbosch and have been practicing there for 11 years. She has 3 sons, one which require a specialist diet and supplementation for a genetic disorder, which taught her tremendous lessons on the practical side of her passion, childhood nutrition.

Her specialist interests, which she has been working with in private practice for the last 11 years include; nutrition in pregnancy, healthy eating in children and babies, overweight and insulin resistance in children, ADHD, fussy eaters, gut related problems i.e. constipation and diarrhoea in children, nutrition support in underweight children and nutrition support in cystic fibrosis.

She also has a specialist interest in eating disorders and metabolic syndrome in adults including insulin resistance, dislipidemia(abnormal cholesterol levels), hypertension, central fat distribution, overweight or obesity and conditions associated with metabolic syndrome including fatty liver disease, hypothyroidism, hemochromatosis and polycystic ovarial syndrome. She recently completed a course in genetics and nutrition and is incorporating genetic testing in developing the best health plan for her patients.

She truly has a passion for nutrition and her patients and treat every patient and child as an individual to achieve optimal health through a healthy lifestyle which include nutrition, exercise and medical food.

Follow Liezl www.chocnutritions.co.za