Nearly One in 10 Infants Given Supplements and Teas

Maternal herbal use, longer breast-feeding, and being Hispanic linked with use of teas

TUESDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Approximately 9 percent of infants, including some as young as 1 month, are given dietary botanical supplements (DBS) and teas by their mothers, according to a study published online May 2 in Pediatrics.

Yuanting Zhang, Ph.D., from the Office of Regulations, Policy, and Social Sciences at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in College Park, Md., and colleagues used data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II to investigate the use of DBS and teas for infants. A total of 2,653 healthy mothers with healthy term or near-term infants were surveyed between 2005 and 2007.

The investigators found that 9 percent of infants, including those as young as 1 month, were given DBS or teas in their first year of life. In a multivariate model, there was a significant correlation between infants being given DBS or teas and maternal herbal use, longer breast-feeding, and being Hispanic. Many of the DBS and teas were specifically marketed and sold for infant use. The most frequent reasons for feeding DBS and teas to infants were to help with fussiness, digestion, colic, and relaxation. Commonly mentioned information sources included friends or family, health professionals, and the media.

"We found that ~9 percent of infants were given DBS and teas in their first year of life, although usually only for a short period of time. The wide variety of DBS and teas given to infants increases the likelihood that some are unsafe," the authors write.

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