Can Babies Have Vanilla Extract

For taste and sweetness, many recipes call for vanilla extract! However, apprehensive parents ask if it’s okay to feed it to their infant because it frequently contains trace levels of alcohol.
Overall, as long as you only use a few drops and the recipe involves some form of heating or cooking, vanilla extract is a safe flavor for babies. This mainly pertains to baked items and recipes and makes sure the alcohol is cooked out before your baby consumes it.
Let’s now delve more deeply into vanilla extract and your infant, discussing its probable alcohol level and the use of vanilla extract for teething babies. Learn more by reading on!

Is Vanilla Safe for Babies?

A spice known as vanilla is made from the pods of orchids of the Vanilla family. The Aztecs cultivated vanilla. The plant needs to be pollinated in order to produce the fruit, which is where the vanilla comes from. Belgian botanist Charles Francois Antoine Morren made this discovery, but Edmond Albius, a 12-year-old slave, made the discovery that the plant could be effectively hand-pollinated in 1841. This breakthrough made it possible to grow the plant anywhere.
The Bourbon vanilla, often known as Madagascar vanilla, is one of the most popular varieties of vanilla. It is grown in Madagascar, on islands in the southwest Indian Ocean, and in Indonesia, and 2/3 of the world’s supply is produced there. Despite being the second-most expensive spice (after saffron), it is widely used in baking, both professionally and at home, in aromatherapy, and in the perfume business.

Whole pods, vanilla powder, vanilla extract, and vanilla sugar are the four primary commercial forms of vanilla. When natural vanilla is added to meals, the food acquires a rich, aromatic flavor as well as a brownish or yellowish hue. Because real vanilla is too expensive, the majority of meals are either artificially vanilla-flavored or flavor them with low-quality vanilla.

Is Vanilla Extract Alcohol Safe for Babies?

In general, if vanilla extract is heated and the alcohol can evaporate, it is safe for newborns to consume.

Everyone is familiar with the flavor that is mistakenly imparted to baked goods when too much vanilla extract is used. It becomes sense to wonder if your infant can consume this potent ingredient in your recipe. Let’s discuss vanilla extract’s alcohol percentage.

According to FDA regulations, a product must contain at least 35% by volume of ethyl alcohol in order to bear the name “vanilla extract.” Because it is crucial to the extraction process, alcohol is required to make vanilla extract.
Therefore, there is some alcohol in the product itself. In the United States, there are, regrettably, no set rules regarding the administration of vanilla extract to infants. Therefore, simply use a modest amount of vanilla essence in your recipes—say, only a few drops—and save the rest for dishes that will be cooked.

Alcohol will be helped to leave the food by cooking, leaving a rich vanilla taste.

Can I Apply Vanilla Extract to My Baby’s Teething Gums?

While many parents believe that using vanilla extract to calm their teething baby is a good idea, it is crucial to refrain from doing so. This advice is given because vanilla extract applied topically to a baby’s gums to ease teething discomfort still retains the alcohol from the original extract.

There is no recognized safe amount or recommendation, even though the alcohol content is probably in negligible amounts when only a drop or two is used. As a result, avoid giving your baby vanilla extract that has not been boiled sufficiently to for the alcohol to evaporate.
Instead, you should stimulate your baby’s gums, use a cooled spoon or teething ring, or use an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen - but only those designed for babies or young children.

Let’s move on to the situations in which your baby can consume vanilla extract.

Can babies eat food that contains vanilla extract?

As long as they are cooked, which primarily refers to baked items, babies can consume meals containing vanilla essence. These meal choices make sure that the vanilla extract’s alcohol can evaporate during the heating and cooking processes.

When your baby starts eating cooked dishes with a spoon around eight to twelve months old, such as French toast or pancakes, feel free to add a small quantity of vanilla extract.
When mother’s milk has a high lipase level, adding vanilla:
All human milk contains lipase, although some women may produce more of it than others, which might modify the flavor of the milk.

This is particularly true for mothers who express their milk and keep it in a cold environment.

These low temperatures cause the lipase to accelerate the breakdown of milk lipids, changing the flavor of the milk.
Although a modest bit of vanilla can enhance the flavor of human milk with high lipase levels, be sure to do the following test first and get advice from your doctor.

  1. Check to see if some milk that has been expressed smells normal.
  2. Place it in the freezer or refrigerator.
  3. Wait a day or two.
  4. Check to see if the milk’s aroma has altered after removing it from the freezer or refrigerator.
    Your milk likely includes more lipase than usual if it currently smells like soap.

You can mask the “odd” flavor in your milk by adding a couple drops of vanilla essence.
Can Vanilla Extract Be Added To Infant Formula?
If your child won’t consume the formula as is, you can, in fact, add vanilla extract. Using a few drops of vanilla extract is secure.

Make sure to get genuine vanilla extract rather than the inexpensive knockoffs that are loaded with additives.

Even better, choose vanilla flavoring instead of vanilla extract if you want to completely avoid any alcohol residues.

And after your child turns 6 months old, you can just give them maple syrup in place of vanilla.

Can children consume vanilla extract?

The same type of alcohol found in beer, wine, and hard liquid is also included in vanilla extract, which is why the National Poison Control Center placed a warning about its risks on its website. Alcohol toxicity could occur in children who consume it, according to officials.

Is alcohol present in all vanilla extract?

By definition, vanilla extract contains alcohol. The FDA states that vanilla extract is a combination of the aroma and flavor of vanilla and alcohol. To be precise, the FDA defines a product as vanilla extract if it contains at least 35% ethyl alcohol.

How much alcohol does vanilla extract contain?

The FDA requires that pure vanilla extract have a minimum alcohol content of 35 percent, which is the same as Captain Morgan rum. Although it is not available in stores, many people consider it to be a household essential. It is sold at grocery stores.


Absolutely, especially if you choose the alcohol-free variety known as vanilla flavoring, vanilla extract is safe for newborns. When used sparingly and cooked alongside food to allow the alcohol to dissipate, even vanilla extract containing alcohol is safe to feed to infants.
To sum up:
Despite the fact that vanilla extract is safe for babies, remember the following:

  1. Avoid giving your kid more than a few drops of alcohol by choosing genuine vanilla extract instead of imitation, which contains a lot of ingredients.
  2. To entirely eliminate the hazards associated with alcohol use, either prepare the cuisine that contains vanilla extract or choose vanilla flavoring for added piece of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Is alcohol present in vanilla extract?

The key aromas and scents from the vanilla bean are extracted and suspended in a stable solution using alcohol, but vanilla extract is also required by law to have an alcohol percentage of at least 35%.

2. Can I flavor the formula for my child?

If necessary, you can flavor formula to encourage your infant to drink it, but only if your pediatrician advises you to do so. If they are already weaning, they can advise a tiny bit of non-alcoholic vanilla flavor or perhaps a tiny bit of fruit juice or puree.

3. What can I add to infant formula to mix it?

To mix your infant formula, use water from a reliable source. Contact your local health agency if you’re unsure whether you may prepare infant formula with the water from your faucet. Use the amount of water specified in the baby formula container’s directions. Always add the powder after measuring the water.

4. What can I combine formula with?

Never mix formula powder with human milk or manufacture formula with human milk rather than water. To ensure your child’s safety, the most popular varieties of formula (powdered and liquid concentrate) must be combined with water in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. When formula is unavailable, what can you give babies?

In an emergency, you can provide ■■■■ re hydration solution (such Pedialyte, Enfalyte, or a retail brand) for a few days if you run out of formula and can’t find any. Foods that have been puréed (finely ground) can be given to infants older than 4 to 6 months.

6. How did infants live without formula?

Breastmilk is still regarded as the finest source of baby nourishment, despite the fact that feeding infants artificial foods or formula is currently considerably safer than it has been in previous decades (Leung & Sauve, 2005). Animal milk was the most popular type of artificial food throughout history and up until the end of the 19th century.

7. Is vanilla extract’s alcohol harmful?

Ethanol, the same sort of alcohol found in beer, wine, and hard ■■■■■■, is present in vanilla extract (and other types of flavoring extracts, perfume, cologne, aftershave, and mouthwash, too). The amount of extract specified in recipes is not harmful.

8. Can vanilla extract be added to human milk?

By adjusting the flavor and odor of high lipase milk, you can encourage your infant to accept the milk more readily. Add one or two drops per bottle. If you are aware of a high lipase level, it is worth scorching to inactivate the lipase because freezing might not.

9. What occurs if a young person consumes vanilla extract?

Alcohol poisoning can result from ingesting vanilla extract, which is treated similarly to alcohol consumption. Breathing issues could result from the ethanol’s central nervous system depression. Hypothermia, dilated pupils, flushed skin, and digestive problems are all signs of intoxication.

10. Do teething babies benefit from vanilla extract?

Years of grandmotherly experience lead us to believe that home remedies may ease teething. Try massaging your child’s gums with clove oil, ginger root that has been peeled, or vanilla extract. These treatments could ease your child’s uncomfortable teething symptoms, even though there is no scientific proof that they work.


I hope this post was useful in laying out the information on whether or not your infant can consume vanilla extract and how to do so in a way that is safe for them. In general, it’s advisable to make sure the food with vanilla flavor is prepared and to stay away from utilizing vanilla essence as a teething aid.

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