Maple syrup tastes good on everything. You can’t help but feel tempted to lick them clean on your spoon and put them on your pancakes.
We’re sure you’re excited to have your little ones try this sweet pancake syrup, but…
Maple syrup for babies? Is it already safe for them to try it out? When should I introduce maple syrup to my baby?
These are some questions we’ll be answering today.
Is Maple Syrup Safe for Babies?
At some point, mothers will start asking themselves: “Can babies eat maple syrup?”
In general, most pediatricians DO NOT recommend babies eat maple syrup just yet. Why?
It’s the same idea of when it’s safe for your baby to start consuming solid foods.
At such a young and tender age, babies still can’t digest maple syrup. The same goes for other syrupy products like:
- Corn syrup
- Cane sugar
Research also shows that allowing young children to consume honey increases their risk of botulism.
Although infant botulism is present when ingesting maple syrup, we still recommend staying on the safe side.
Also, note that not all babies can have maple syrup. Some may have allergies to maple sap and have harmful effects on your baby.
When Can Babies Have Maple Syrup? — A Brief Timeline
Let’s take a look at the timeline or stages of development of children.
Birth to 4 Months
Your child’s diet during this time period generally comprises milk.
The reason is simple — your child’s digestive system isn’t fully developed just yet, and the acids in their intestines can’t digest the syrup yet.
Breastmilk and formula milk are the ONLY FOOD SOURCES your babies should have. Water isn’t even that necessary for babies at this point yet.
Four to Six Months
On your baby’s fourth to sixth month, you can slowly start introducing solid food, in the form of soft baby food, of course.
The solid food needs to be soft and mashed for your baby to consume, considering they don’t have full-grown teeth yet.
Thus, solid foods are introduced with caution. Babies can’t chew yet, and giving them solid foods can pose a serious choking hazard and risk infant botulism.
12 Months and Above
By the time they reach 12 months, you can start and let your babies eat maple syrup. They’re MORE COMFORTABLE with eating other foods and have more balanced acids in their intestines.
With proper guidance and timing, your baby will eventually develop the stomach to digest syrup and other solids!
What Is Maple Syrup?
Everyone is familiar with its golden amber color, silky liquid texture, and deliciously sweet and delicate flavor.
We’re sure that every time you think of maple-flavored syrup, you get flashbacks from the days when you’d wake up to hot, freshly cooked pancakes topped with butter.
But what exactly is maple syrup? Is it just used as an extra topping to your pancakes?
Is it just something best described as a word that evokes nostalgia and a wave of emotions?
OF COURSE NOT!
The Science Behind Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener derived from a maple tree.
The maple sap is collected from maple trees to produce this thick syrup, a healthy alternative to sugar that packs the same sweetness and flavor.
Today, maple syrup has a lot of uses besides topping them on your pancake. Now, they’re incorporated into a lot of dishes.
More importantly, maple syrup has some significant nutritional benefits. We’ll get to these in a bit!
What Are the Health Benefits of Maple Syrup for Babies?
In exceptional cases, babies CAN consume maple syrup. That is, of course, with the approval and advice of your family pediatrician.
We can’t emphasize enough how crucial it is for you to ALWAYS let your pediatricians know what’s going on with your baby’s help.
After all, only they will know what the best course of action is.
Here are some health and nutritional benefits of letting babies have maple syrup.
Many mothers today use maple syrup as a natural way of addressing constipation in their babies.
As a caveat, make sure your pediatrician approves of this remedy. Plus, make sure you know what you’re doing.
Maple syrup proves to be beneficial in helping constipated babies. Mixing this concoction is also easy because it only requires a tablespoon of maple syrup.
All you have to do is dilute the syrup with five ounces of water and transfer the mix to your baby’s bottle. Allow them to drink it and observe what happens next.
NOTE: This remedy should only be a ONE-TIME THING. If your baby’s constipation still hasn’t gone away, or it keeps recurring, go to your doctor.
Rich in Antioxidants
Believe it or not, this sweet pancake syrup contains MANY antioxidants that help fight any disease, which is beneficial for our body.
It has up to 24 antioxidants and minerals such as zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, and more!
That said, maple syrup is a MUCH HEALTHIER and BETTER overall option for you than your regular table sugar.
Not only do you satisfy your sweet tooth when you consume maple syrup, but you’re also consuming a lot of antioxidants.
Is It Safe for Babies to Eat Maple Syrup?
YES, but like what we’ve mentioned above, give maple syrup ONLY IN MODERATION.
It shouldn’t be given as a treat or health remedy for your baby. Even though maple syrup has an impressive list of benefits, it still has HIGH sugar content.
Babies ARE NOT well equipped to digest sugary foods, which may lead to developing bacteria and result in food poisoning and other diseases.
Not to mention, infants under the age of one don’t need to consume processed sugar nor processed food in their diet.
Instead, parents should focus their attention on giving the child nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables.
You’ll be setting the standard for your baby’s diet, so if you introduce processed and sugary foods at such a young and tender age, they might end up only wanting to eat those in the future.
What Type of Maple Syrup Can You Give Your Baby?
Maple syrup isn’t all the same. Sure they’re collected as a sap, but their flavors vary depending on their color and classification.
If you’d look at the maple syrup in your grocery aisle, you’ll find that it comes in different colors like amber, golden brown, and more.
Each color represents a certain kind of flavor that’s not always ideal for your baby’s palate.
- Maple syrups that are amber or golden brown have a nice mild flavor.
- Dark-colored maple syrups have a much stronger maple flavor, which adults generally like.
Between the two, golden brown and amber-colored maple syrups are SAFER OPTIONS for your baby. It’s sweet and mild, just enough for them to enjoy.
Are There Alternatives to Maple Syrup?
There are many sweet foods and syrup out there that you can safely give to your baby and kids. You may want to check them out for your baby and even for yourself!
Rest assured, they’re healthy alternatives that pack the same sweet flavor.
Honey and maple syrup are great natural sweeteners.
But unfortunately, maple syrup contains clostridium botulinum, a set of bacteria that increases the risk of your baby having infant botulism which attacks the nervous system.
If you don’t want to expose your baby to this disease, Agave is a great alternative. It’s sweet and flavorful and comes with a lot of health and nutritional properties.
The only drawback of using Agave is that it has a relatively HIGH SUGAR CONTENT. We highly recommend limiting the amount of agave you give your child.
2. Brown Rice Syrup
An alternative to agave is brown rice syrup. Although it’s LESS SWEET than agave, it nevertheless packs a nice and sweet flavor.
Plus, brown rice syrup DOES NOT give your kids that sugar spike, unlike maple syrup and regular sugar.
Fruits always make an excellent treat for your kids. It’s naturally sweet, contains different vitamins and minerals, and generally makes a great snack!
THE BEST PART: They’re safe for your little one to consume, even if they’re under 12 months.
Here are some of the best fruits you can let your baby have.
They make a delicious and refreshing fruit drink minus the sugar, of course!
Do note, however, to be sure your baby SHOULD NOT consume any seeds from the fruit. It may pose a choking hazard later on.
Stevia has gained a lot of popularity these days as a great alternative to sugar. It has all the tasty sugary sweetness, despite being SUGAR-FREE. That’s awesome!
Today, you’ll find many food items and recipe books that use stevia instead of sugar, which is an excellent testament to what it is.
Besides being a sugar-free sweetener, stevia also has some benefits because it is rich in vitamins and minerals! And if you ask us, it sounds like a win-win for you and your baby.
Can I Give My Baby High Fructose Corn Syrup?
Unfortunately, you can’t give your baby corn syrup. While both maple and corn syrup share the same flavor, they’re nevertheless made entirely of different things.
- Corn syrup is usually composed of many artificial sweeteners and chemicals to derive the flavor.
- In comparison, pure maple syrup is naturally derived from a maple tree.
We’re certain you don’t want your baby to consume chemicals, bacteria, and artificial substances at such a tender age. Anything with chemicals is always a BIG NO!
Some of these foods can also cause diaper rashes for your baby, so it’s best to steer clear of anything artificial and not risk it.
Is Honey a Good Alternative to Maple Syrup?
You SHOULD NOT give honey to babies because of how it is created. As we all know, honey is naturally produced. Bees make it, and voila, you’ve got honey.
But this sweet concoction isn’t entirely safe for babies because of how it is stored. The raw product contains botulism spores, detrimental to the condition of infants.
That said, pure maple syrup is still better than giving your baby honey since the sap is sourced directly from the trees.
However, there are some cultures where they give babies honey while they’re still babies. However, for your baby’s safety, always ask your doctor.
Are Grade A Syrups Safe for Babies to Consume?
Grade A syrups are conventionally used to top pancakes and all other food types. Whether it’s corn or maple syrup, it’s the same.
We DON’T recommend giving them to babies, especially if it’s not maple syrup. It can contain a lot of artificial flavors that are not safe for infants.
It’s better that you leave this syrup for pancakes than infants.
The choice of giving babies maple syrup is your choice as the parent. As Mother Gothel reminded Rapunzel in Tangled, Mother knows best.
You should be aware of the benefits and consequences that come with babies having maple syrup.
Maple syrup may come with health benefits, but it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for going to your doctor.
Remember, as the parent, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to give your child’s best interest!
PRO TIP: Similarly, you should also know more about how to deal with expired food for your baby. Our short guide on it has all you need to know!
July 22, 2021 – updated article links