There are a few types of cinnamon. The two most common are called Ceylon and Cassia, but cinnamon is rarely identified by type on packaging. Cinnamon is frequently used as a spice in recipes and sprinkled on foods such as oatmeal, but it is also available in supplement form for medicinal purposes. Supplements usually are taken in doses totaling between 1 g to 1.5 g per day.
Cinnamon has been used for medicinal purposes since 2,000 B.C., according to Drugs.com. The most widely known modern medicinal use of cinnamon is by diabetics to help control blood sugar. Cinnamon is also used for gastrointestinal issues, including nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas and diarrhea. Menstruating women sometimes use cinnamon to relieve premenstrual symptoms and cramps. Cinnamon may also have antimicrobial activity.
While cinnamon -- at least in the amounts used in food -- is generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether higher supplemental doses are also safe. Nursing mothers who are using the herb fenugreek to boost milk supply should avoid using cinnamon at the same time because both can cause a drop in blood sugar. As such, taking both together may be dangerous. Cinnamon, like all other spices and herbs, is not regulated by the FDA, so the effectiveness, risks and benefits remain unknown.
Some babies develop a sensitivity to foods or spices that the nursing mother has ingested. For babies who are sensitive to cinnamon, symptoms typically appear soon after the mother consumes the spice. Sensitive babies may become fussy at the breast or gassy shortly after nursing. Some babies may also react negatively to the taste or smell of cinnamon in the mother's breast milk. Other babies, however, may ignore or enjoy the flavor. Babies who experience different flavors, including cinnamon, through their mother's breast milk may be less picky eaters when they are introduced to solid foods.
Because the safety of cinnamon in supplement form has not yet been sufficiently studied in regards to nursing mothers, women who are breastfeeding should talk to their doctors before taking it. A woman who enjoys eating cinnamon in doses found in foods can continue to eat it this way without concern unless her baby develops a reaction.