Cinnamon and Babies: What Parents Need to Know

Cinnamon is a mild spice that can add new flavor to bland baby food. It pairs well with baby cereal, oatmeal, and pureed fruits. Cinnamon is not a commonly allergenic food and is safe for most adults, children, and babies. 

Cinnamon also has health benefits and has been found to have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

This article will list the potential health benefits of cinnamon and explain how to safely incorporate it into your baby’s diet. 

first meal dirty and messy Asian mother try to feeding first meal for her daughter (2-6 month) at home - stock photo

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Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Although the research is relatively limited, cinnamon seems to have some significant health benefits. It may protect against infection because of its antimicrobial properties. It has also been found to reduce inflammation in the body, which could protect against several chronic diseases. 

Cinnamon oil has been proven to help protect the body against infection from the following types of bacteria: 

  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Bacillus
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • Salmonella typhimurium
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Yersinia enterocolitica
  • Staphylococcus aureus

Cinnamon has several other potential health benefits, as discovered in animal studies. Further research is needed to understand if these benefits affect humans. These additional benefits may include protective mechanisms against the following chronic conditions:

  • Diabetes: Cinnamon may help to regulate glucose levels in the blood.
  • Dementia: Cinnamon contains phytochemicals that may boost the brain’s ability to use glucose and perform better. 
  • Heart disease: Components of cinnamon may have cardioprotective properties because they reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Cancer: Cinnamon may protect against certain types of cancer because of its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. 

At What Age Can Babies Have Cinnamon?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends incorporating solid foods into your baby’s diet at around 6 months old. It’s important for your baby to show signs of being ready for solid food before giving it to them. Signs include the ability to hold their head up on their own and showing an interest in food. 

It’s best to go slow with new foods for your baby and introduce one new food every three to five days. This helps to identify any potential allergens or food sensitivities. 

Once you have determined that your baby can safely tolerate a given food, feel free to add a dash of cinnamon to it. You may find that your baby enjoys the extra flavor. If they reject the new flavor, simply try again in a few days. 

While rare, it is possible to ingest too much cinnamon. Cinnamon contains coumarins, a chemical found in many plant products that can be toxic in high doses. Experts recommend limiting cinnamon use to less than 0.1 milligrams per kilogram of body weight to avoid toxicity. It’s encouraging to know that you or your child would have to ingest a very large amount of cinnamon to experience any ill effects. 

What Foods Contain Cinnamon?

Cinnamon can be found in some processed and prepackaged foods, so adding any additional spice to these products is not necessary. Always read food labels if you are unsure. Examples of foods that may contain cinnamon include:

  • Cereal
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Pureed baby food
  • Candy
  • Chewing gum

When choosing the right cinnamon for your baby, opt for a mild, organic form. There are four different kinds of cinnamon, including:

  • Ceylon (Mexican) cinnamon
  • Indonesian cinnamon
  • Vietnamese cinnamon
  • Cassia (Chinese) cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon is a great choice for young palates. It is mildly sweet and not bold. Look for organic Ceylon cinnamon that has a tan-brown color. Cinnamon with more of a red hue usually has a more intense flavor.

Signs of a Cinnamon Allergy in Babies 

A cinnamon allergy is rare but possible. Fortunately, cinnamon is not a common allergenic food. Foods that cause about 90% of all food allergies are:

It is helpful to be aware of the classic signs of a food allergy or intolerance. Possible symptoms of a food allergy include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Irritability and crying
  • Swelling and hives
  • Eczema patches
  • Trouble breathing

When introducing cinnamon to your child’s diet, take the "less is more" approach. Start with a small sprinkle of cinnamon on food that your little one already safely enjoys. 

Ways to Add Cinnamon to Your Baby’s Diet 

Cinnamon adds a mildly sweet flavor to food, so feel free to try it on a number of foods that your baby is already eating. Cinnamon can improve the flavor of several baby foods, including:

  • Baby cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Squash 
  • Yogurt

Summary 

Cinnamon is a common spice found in most kitchens. It adds a mild, sweet flavor to foods and can be safely enjoyed by most babies. Start by adding a small dash of cinnamon to a food that you know your baby tolerates. Cinnamon allergies are rare but possible. Signs of a potential food allergy include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, hives, eczema, and trouble breathing. 

A Word From Verywell 

If you have been curious about adding more flavor to your little one’s diet, cinnamon may be a great place to start. It is a sweet, mild spice that is well-tolerated by most adults, children, and babies. If you are nervous about adding spices to your child’s diet, know that there is no rush. Talk with your healthcare provider or pediatrician and only go as fast as you are comfortable. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What spices can babies have?

    It is safe for babies to try several different spices as they expand their palates and try new foods. Spices are not one of the common allergenic foods in babies. Avoid any spices that have a strong or spicy flavor. 

  • How much cinnamon is OK for a baby?

    When it comes to trying cinnamon with your baby, using a little is best. Start with a small sprinkle of cinnamon over one of your baby’s favorite foods and see what they think. It’s rare, but it is possible to ingest a toxic amount of cinnamon. This would require you to eat a very large amount, though. 

  • Is cinnamon healthy for a baby?

    Cinnamon can add flavor to baby food and has several possible health benefits. However, these benefits have not been studied in babies.

  • How do you properly store cinnamon?

    Store cinnamon in a cool, dark place like the pantry or a cabinet.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kawatra P, Rajagopalan R. Cinnamon: Mystic powers of a minute ingredient. Pharmacognosy Res. 2015 Jun;7(Suppl 1):S1-6. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.157990

  2. Parham S, Kharazi AZ, Bakhsheshi-Rad HR, Nur H, Ismail AF, Sharif S, RamaKrishna S, Berto F. Antioxidant, Antimicrobial and antiviral properties of herbal materials. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Dec 21;9(12):1309. doi:10.3390/antiox9121309

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Starting solid foods.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When, what, and how to introduce solid foods.

  5. Isaac-Renton M, Li MK, Parsons LM. Cinnamon spice and everything not nice: many features of intraoral allergy to cinnamic aldehyde. Dermatitis. 2015 May-Jun;26(3):116-21. doi:10.1097/DER.0000000000000112

  6. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Food allergies in children.

By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.