Once your baby begins eating solids, you may actually find yourself enjoying the process of creating meals for your little one and wondering how you can incorporate different flavors and spices into the mix. Cinnamon is just one of the many spices you can use to spruce up a meal and expand their developing palate.
It's generally considered safe to give your baby cinnamon once they are able to eat solid foods, but there are precautions you should take when giving your baby any spice, including cinnamon.
In this article, we'll explore the proper age for a baby to start consuming cinnamon, its health benefits, and ways to introduce it into your baby’s diet. We also give our favorite cinnamon recipes, and discuss signs of a cinnamon allergy and when you should seek medical attention.
Can babies have cinnamon? Learn when!
Yes! Once your baby is able to start eating solids, you can introduce cinnamon into their diet right away — in small amounts. This is generally around the age of six months, although it will vary based on the child.
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Adding cinnamon to your baby’s food can have a variety of benefits, and your little one may even enjoy the flavor. That said, cinnamon is a warming spice, so it may be too strong for some babies. It’s important to follow their lead while deciding how much cinnamon to give your little one.
Six-month-old: a unique age in babies
While every age seems new and exciting when you’re watching your sweet baby grow, six months is an incredibly unique age in babies. At this age, your baby is most likely making drastic leaps in their growth and development, including their motor skills, sleep, and communication.
This is also when most healthcare professionals will recommend that you begin introducing your baby to solid foods — until this point, all of your baby's nutrition has come from breast milk or baby formula.
Your baby may be ready for solid food once they are at least six months old and have demonstrated the five main signs of readiness.
- They can hold their head up unassisted.
- They show an interest in your food.
- They have at least doubled their birth weight.
- Their tongue-thrust reflex is gone.
- They aren’t battling any recurring illnesses.
Before meeting these signs of readiness, babies may not be able to safely eat and process solids. For more information on starting solids, visit The Ultimate Guide To Giving Babies Real Food.
All you need to know about the benefits of cinnamon for babies' health
Not only does cinnamon have a delicious sweet and warm flavor, it may also provide numerous health benefits to consumers, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibiotic benefits. These benefits will vary slightly depending on the type of cinnamon — Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon are the most common.
For more information about cinnamon and other fall spices, visit our article on The Health Benefits of Fall Spices.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon
The antioxidants in cinnamon are packed with anti-inflammatory benefits. This means that cinnamon may help repair organs and tissues in babies. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon may help reduce or prevent certain conditions, like asthma and eczema.
According to some research, cinnamon essential oil may also help accelerate the healing of skin wounds; however, you should always discuss any medical treatments with a healthcare professional.
Cinnamon boosts the immune system
Thanks to the benefits of antioxidants found in cinnamon, such as polyphenols and proanthocyanidins, cinnamon can help boost your little one’s immune system.
Cinnamon also has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that may help keep your baby healthy by fighting off respiratory tract infections and inhibiting the growth of bacteria, including Salmonella and Listeria.
Cinnamon improves the digestive system
In small amounts, cinnamon may improve the functioning of the digestive system and reduce issues with digestion, such as gas, constipation, diarrhea, and upset stomach. As babies begin to transition to solids, they may experience some discomfort as their digestive systems adapt — cinnamon may be able to help with these issues.
Too much, however, could have the opposite effect, so it’s important to stick with small amounts. Pay attention to your baby’s individual tolerance, as some will be more sensitive than others.
Cinnamon makes a teething baby's life better
Teething can really take a toll on your baby's mouth, especially if multiple teeth are coming in at once. Ouch!
Thankfully, this spice could help make this stage a little easier. Some parents find that giving their baby a cinnamon stick to gum on — supervised, of course — makes for great teether. You should discuss this with your doctor though and be cautious of small pieces that could potentially break off and create a choking hazard.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon may help reduce inflammation in the gums. This can help reduce swelling and soothe the pain as the teeth shift and poke through the gums. The added benefits of its antibacterial properties can also help kill any bacteria that may be causing gum pain.
How to introduce cinnamon into your baby's diet?
In small amounts, cinnamon has a mild and subtle flavor, making it easy to introduce into your baby's diet. No matter where your baby is in their journey with solid foods, you can incorporate cinnamon powder into their meals by including it in pureed baby food recipes, like sweet potatoes, or adding it to finger foods. A sprinkle here and a dash there — that's all you need.
You can easily add cinnamon to many of your favorite meals or you can try out one of these recipes for something new.
Fall Pumpkin Puffs Trail Mix
This recipe may be inspired by fall, but it’s a delicious and nutrient-packed snack for toddlers and parents, no matter the time of year. It can easily be tailored to fit your little one’s age and taste preferences. Simply mix our Grain-Free Pumpkin & Cinnamon Puffs with a variety of seeds, nuts, raisins, etc. and keep some on hand for a quick, healthy snack.
Visit our Fall Pumpkin Puffs Trail Mix recipe.
Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Seasoning
Nothing screams CINNAMON quite like a delicious pumpkin spice flavored recipe. And why buy pumpkin spice seasoning when you can make your own delicious recipe at home? Not to mention, nothing is worse than being half-way through a recipe, only to realize that you are completely out of pumpkin spice seasoning (trust me, it happens to the best of us).
Fortunately this pumpkin spice seasoning is simple and a great way to expose your baby to a variety of flavors and take advantage of the critical flavor window. All you need is some ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. To learn more about the importance of the critical flavor window, visit our article on Introducing the Flavor Window: Why Early Food Varieties are Important.
Visit our Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Seasoning recipe.
How to choose and store cinnamon for your baby?
As with any food that you’ll be offering your baby, it’s important to carefully select and store cinnamon. Purchase it from a reputable store and buy organic cinnamon when possible — spices often have unhealthy pesticides that you should try to avoid.
If stored in a suitable container, cinnamon can last six months to one year. Be sure to pay attention to the storing instructions and expiration date on the packaging.
When to get medical advice: cinnamon allergy
Cinnamon allergies may not be as prevalent as other common food allergies, but there is always the potential for an allergic reaction. For this reason, it’s generally recommended to only introduce one new food at a time. This will make it easier to identify which food may be causing a reaction.
When introducing any new food to your baby, it’s important to watch for signs of an allergic reaction. Common signs of allergic reactions may include:
- Skin irritation, like hives or a rash
- Itchy skin
- Inflammation of the throat and tongue
- Swollen lips
- Watery and itchy eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Wheezing and difficulty breathing
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
If your baby is showing signs of an allergic reaction to anything they have eaten, contact professional health services immediately. They will help treat your little one and determine the underlying cause of the reaction. They may recommend a skin patch test, followed by a blood test, to determine if cinnamon is the true cause.
It’s also important to know that too much cinnamon can cause additional risks and side effects, including diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and low blood pressure. You should only give your baby small amounts of cinnamon to avoid potential side effects.
Most importantly, you know your baby better than anyone — if you are concerned about how they’re behaving after eating, contact a healthcare professional for an evaluation.
As with any new recipe or flavor introduction to your little one, consult with a healthcare professional. All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.
Written by Jennifer Wirth. Jennifer is a professional health writer, leveraging her scientific background as a Chemical Engineer to uncover the most interesting aspects of infant nutrition, pregnancy, and parenting. As a wife and mother of three young children, Jennifer is passionate about providing the best possible nutrition for her family. She believes that developing healthy eating habits early helps build the foundation for a long, fulfilling life.