Being responsible for a whole new life can be scary, especially when it comes to your baby’s health and well-being.
You might be considering supplementing your baby’s health with maple syrup since it’s known for a wide range of health benefits like protecting the skin’s health and aiding digestion.
But, can babies have maple syrup? Well, the answer is yes, but not for children under 12 months old. Let’s get into more detail below.
Is Maple Syrup Safe For Babies?
Maple syrup is safe for babies since it poses no risk of botulism. To understand why, let’s talk a bit about how maple syrup is made.
The syrup is made from the sap from the inside of the maple tree. They drill an opening into the tree to let the fluid sap leak out of the plant and collect it to make the syrup.
Then they boil the sap for quite a while until it turns into a thick syrup, after which it will be filtered to remove any unwanted substances.
The result will be a thick sweet syrup with different colors depending on the tree and harvested time.
Unlike honey, the maple tree sap is not exposed to the air until the point when it’s tapped out of the tree trunk. So, botulism spores can’t grow inside the tree. That’s why it’s safe from botulism.
Plus, the process of making the syrup involves a lot of boiling, which means if any spores do get in when the syrup is tapped, they won’t be able to stand the heat.
However, the digestive system of children under the age of 12 months won’t process maple syrup.
Before their first birthday, children don’t have the right balance of acids in the stomach, plus their little bodies haven’t figured out how to balance blood sugar levels appropriately.
So giving them maple syrup at this young age might throw their blood sugar out of whack, which is terrible for their health.
Once you introduce solids, their bodies will take a while before they can adjust to sugary foods, so maple syrup (or any other syrup or honey) is a definite no-no at this stage.
When Can Babies Have Maple Syrup?
Most babies can start eating maple syrup from 12 months onwards. As mentioned earlier, their digestive systems will have matured enough by then to process maple syrup.
That said, your baby doesn’t need any sweeteners at this point. It doesn’t make much difference for babies less than two years old if the food is sweet or salty. Most babies can’t tell the difference.
In fact, some studies have said that not giving them sweetened food can help set the foundation for healthier eating habits in the future.
Experts say that the more your child likes sweet food from an early age, the higher the chances that they will develop a sweet tooth, leading to unhealthy food choices in the future.
That’s why the American Heart Association recommends that you shouldn’t give sweet foods to your baby before their 2nd birthday.
While there’s no hard and fast rule about maple syrup for babies, you can wait until your child turns one or give it another year up to their second birthday before they have maple syrup.
It’s important to remember that maple syrup should only be given to babies in MODERATION. An excess amount of sweet stuff is bad for health, even for adults.
Is Maple Syrup Beneficial To A Baby’s Health?
It may be sweet, but it does pack a punch when it comes to health benefits.
For one, maple syrup is very rich in antioxidants which play a significant role in dealing with free radicals.
Free radicals are the substances that are produced when the body digests food or when exposed to harmful substances.
Second, it’s full of nutritious vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12 and Calcium, which help develop the baby’s immune system. The fact that it’s packed full of nutrients makes it a better alternative to refined sugar.
Thirdly, it helps the smooth flow of the digestive system with maple syrup; you can enjoy sweet food without the worry of indigestion or other digestive issues.
Finally, maple syrup has been known to fight inflammatory diseases and improve the health of the skin.
With all these health benefits in mind, maple syrup is an excellent addition to the diet for good health. However, as we mentioned before, remember it’s not recommended for your babies before their 12th month.
Which Is The Best Type Of Maple Syrup?
Depending on the time of year the maple syrup was harvested, it comes in different colors. The darker kinds of syrup, also known as grade B, have much stronger flavors.
The grade A syrup is the lighter type, which was harvested at the beginning of the season.
There’s not much difference in the various types of maple syrups; the only difference lies in the flavors. The darker versions are flavorful, and your baby may not like them as much.
The lighter versions, how much milder it can be more palatable for your little one. But the choice is ultimately yours. You can introduce the flavors that you like and feel are best for your baby.
How Much Maple Syrup Can I Give The Baby?
Now that we know what age can babies eat maple syrup, how much maple syrup can we offer them?
While it’s perfectly fine to give your older babies (after one year) maple syrup, avoid giving large quantities of the syrup.
Maple sauce has a strong sweet flavor, so a little bit of syrup added to applesauce or any food of their choice can help to sweeten it. While there’s no exact measure, a drop or two at most will generally do.
You can also add maple syrup to the baby’s pancakes. However, don’t drizzle the syrup over the pancakes. Instead, it’s better to pat the tiny bite-size bit that you cut for your baby over a bit of syrup. That way, your baby won’t eat too much of it.
Remember, the goal is to introduce a bit of sweet flavor and some health benefits without overdoing it.
Also, one crucial tip is to look for the kind of maple syrup that doesn’t have any extra ingredients.
Some maple syrup products have added high fructose corn syrup. So make sure to read the labels on the product carefully before you buy.
High fructose corn syrup isn’t half as healthy as maple syrup, and you should avoid feeding it to your baby.
Giving it to your baby can lead to a higher risk of diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Plus, high fructose corn syrup may have mercury which may affect babies badly.
Does Maple Syrup Have Any Side Effects On The Baby?
Under normal circumstances, it shouldn’t have any adverse effects, especially if you don’t give your baby A LOT of it. The syrup isn’t known to be a common allergen.
However, for people with pollen food allergy syndrome, it may cause a slight reaction. People with this syndrome will show symptoms like burning in the mouth or itching, which doesn’t last for long.
To be on the safe side, as with any food you introduce to the baby, wait for a few days to see if the baby reacts to it.
If your little one shows no signs of a bad reaction, slowly increase the number of times that you give them the syrup and continue to watch for adverse reactions.
Remember, if the baby does have a bad reaction, it’s best to consult your doctor to be on the safe side
Can My Baby Choke On Maple Syrup?
The texture of maple syrup makes it an unlikely choking hazard. However, because it’s sticky, it my make other foods somewhat of a choking risk. To avoid that, ensure you cut the baby’s food into tiny pieces.
It’s also essential to ensure that you only put maple syrup on soft foods that are easy for the baby to swallow. Plus, as mentioned before, only use a tiny bit of maple syrup with your baby’s food.
You can add maple syrup to soft food like bananas, soft pancakes, sweet potato, or yogurt. Other foods like cornbread, provided it’s soft enough, can work just fine for older babies.
If your baby is can eat meat, use maple syrup to compliment the flavors of the small pieces of meat you give to your baby.
Remember to stay very close when you’re feeding your baby to be extra safe.
To Wrap It Up
Can babies have maple syrup? Maple syrup is safe for babies but wait until your infant turns a year old. Then, if your baby is old enough, go ahead and try a variety of recipes and different foods with maple syrup for your baby.