Can babies have syrup? What are the arguments in favor, and what exactly do experts say about giving maple syrup to babies? Is it safe?
People still think that babies should not have any type of sweetener. Many people rationalize it by saying that this will instill a lifelong preference for higher-sugar foods.
Truth is, once babies are old enough to try something other than breastmilk or formula, it is not uncommon for parents to wonder, among other things, can babies have maple syrup.
In this piece, I’ll walk you through the maple syrup ingredients, sugar content, and primary considerations about incorporating this sweetener in a baby’s diet!.
Is Maple Syrup Sugar: What Exactly is Maple Syrup?
I know as a fellow parent, that we want only the best for our baby – and be it by luck or not, delicious maple syrup is one of the best healthy syrup for pancakes. Yum!
That said, is it suitable for stage 2 and stage 3 baby recipes? Can you give it to your baby? Let’s find out!
Maple syrup is one of the most popular sugary treats to date. This delicious treat has been around for quite a lot of time.
Native Americans use the maple tree sap to produce edible products – and this includes none other than ‘Sinzibuckwud’, which is Syrup Algonquin (maple syrup) directly drawn from the wood.
In its essence, maple syrup is a natural sweetener for desserts and stews made from several species of trees in the USA and Canada. The delicious sweetener has spread around the world and is now common in many households across the world!
It contains a lot of sugar, but still, the content is less than high fructose corn syrup.
You may be interested in: Corn Syrup in Baby Formula
Let’s take a look at the most common ingredients of maple syrup, making process, quality, and its different varieties!
Every bottle of maple syrup contains xylem derived from the sap of maple trees. Xylem is the natural mixture comprised of water and sucrose.
Maple syrup fructose is another major ingredient in these products created in the manufacturing process and the taste is similar to that of honey.
Process of Manufacturing
There are a few steps in the syrup manufacturing process. The first one includes collecting sap from the trees. In most cases, people drill a hole in the tree and collect the sap in the bucket.
Once the sap is collected, it goes to boiling. The process of boiling the sap isn’t as simple as you would think.
A correct temperature and humidity need to be achieved.  In industrial manufacturing, Reverse osmosis (RO) saves time and helps with water evaporation. The sap is boiled until the content left is about 67% sugar.
Next, maple syrup is filtered, packed, graded, and finally distributed and sold to shops, stores, and restaurants.
The color and the taste of syrup are essential factors for maple syrup grading.
There are grades A and B, and several subgrades. Grade A syrup has a light color and mild taste.
The three subgrades are light, medium, and dark amber.
The grade B syrups are darker and have a distinct and strong taste.
Most people think of liquid when maple syrup is mentioned. However, there is also dehydrated syrup, or – powdered maple syrup, known also as maple sugar. It is often used for cookies, soups, and can be used as a healthier alternative to regular powdered sugar.
Can Babies Eat Maple Syrup?
Most parents know honey isn’t safe for young babies due to the risk of being exposed to the Clostridium Botulinum bacteria.  It causes nervous system disease in babies and can cause severe health issues in babies if left untreated.
Honey is stored in bees, while sap for maple products is collected directly from the inside of the maple tree. There is a lower risk for contamination if we’re talking about comparing giving maple syrup vs honey to babies.
For further peace of mind, the sap is boiled – meaning all bacteria and microorganisms are killed in the process.
However, experts advise against giving maple syrup to babies younger than 12 months because of the naturally high sugar content. Babies’ digestive systems are still developing and may have trouble digesting complex sugars.
Another argument against giving syrup to babies is that too much sugar at an early age can increase the risk of obesity at a later age. A sugar-rich diet is against dietary guidelines for babies and toddlers. 
To teach a baby good eating habits from an early age, parents should try to put a limit on sugar intake in babies, including cutting down on syrups and refined sugar products.
So, When Can Babies Consume Maple Syrup?
Before we talk about the amount, understand that maple syrup for babies isn’t safe for those younger than 12 months. The same applies to high fructose corn syrup.
You can start by introducing it as a sweetener in recipes and baby finger foods. Syrup also makes excellent sweeteners in smoothies and sauces.
My favorite trick is drizzling a few drops of maple syrup in the applesauce! My kids loved it and it was their favorite snack for a long time!
However, when introducing syrup to babies, keep in mind the quality of the syrup. Pick one with exceptional clarity and always, always start with lighter syrups! It will be easier on your child’s digestive system.
You can also use dehydrated maple syrup in cookies or sprinkle it on top of the sauces.
Notes on Maple Syrup Freshness
If you worry about how long is maple syrup good for or what happens if you eat bad maple syrup, here is what to know.
When tested for quality, packed, sealed, unopened, and stored well, maple syrup lasts indefinitely. Before you give syrup to the baby, check the smell. That’s how you can tell moldy maple syrup apart from fresh ones.
Maple syrup canned has a longer shelf life and can also be given to babies. Once you open it, keep it in the fridge. It can last for about two years.
Is Maple Syrup Healthy?
Now, it is time to discuss general health considerations about syrup. Does maple syrup have sugar? What is the healthiest maple syrup? Is organic maple syrup healthy? Can diabetics eat maple syrup? Let’s see!
Maple syrup is often believed to have more health benefits than refined sugar. In reality, what sets maple syrup apart from sugar is its mineral and antioxidants content.  A commercially produced bottle usually contains calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and manganese.
However, the percentage of all minerals is low, except for manganese. So, if you wonder is pure maple syrup healthy, the answer depends on the amount you take.
Because the sugar content of syrup is not low, you should be careful about the amount you consume. The same applies to the amounts you give to your baby! Too much maple syrup can lead to obesity and harmful cardiovascular health.
So, is maple syrup bad for you after all? Not necessarily. The bottom line here is that small amounts and occasional use of maple syrup are perfectly harmless!
What You Should Know
People with diabetes should approach maple syrup as they do any other sugar source in their diet. 
Like any other source of sugar, maple syrup can spike blood sugar levels and there are no proven health benefits of replacing sugar with natural sweeteners..
If you want a healthy substitute for maple syrup on pancakes or french toast, or if you want to reduce the sugar in your toddler’s diet, choose fresh fruits!
Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries with a small drizzle of raw honey can be a healthy treat for the whole family! In essence, maple syrup is a healthier option than high fructose corn syrup.
If you want to treat yourself with healthy syrup (with no guilt after), try pure, organic syrup. It has a more authentic taste and is grown without artificial ingredients and genetic engineering.
Best Maple Syrup for Babies
Mansfield Maple Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
- Mansfield Maple Half Gallon Pure Vermont Maple Syrup Golden Delicate (Vermont Fancy)
- Perfect for pancakes and waffles, ice cream and cooking.
- 100% natural with nothing added.
Maple Grove Farms Pure Maple Syrup
- That's why our Grade A maple syrup is renowned for its wonderful flavor, color and consistency
- Most use it on pancakes, waffles or French toast, but the possibilities are endless
- Each serving of Maple Grove Farms Pure Maple Syrup contains no high fructose corn syrup, fat, sodium or cholesterol
Escuminac Maple Syrup
- Extra Rare is classified as a Canada Grade A Amber Rich Taste. Harvested at the beginning of the season, it is delicate, subtle, velvety and silky. Our most delicate syrup, a delicious fine pure taste of maple. If you like a dark, thick and strong maple syrup, we recommend our Late Harvest.
- 100% pure and unblended maple syrup. It comes from a single forest and has never been blended with any other maple syrups from other maple farms. Estate bottled in Escuminac, Quebec, Canada by the maker, Martin Malenfant.
- Brilliantly designed modern gift bottle. The lid was carefully waxed by hand by a proud Escuminac team.
How Much Maple Syrup Should You Give a Baby?
After the baby’s first birthday, it is time to gradually include more ingredients in their diet.
Before we discuss the amount of syrup for babies, avoid it if your baby has problems with constipation. Instead, try baby foods that help with constipation and save the syrup for when the baby’s bowel movement normalizes.
Aforementioned, you should always start by gradually introducing maple syrup through baby purees and sweets. Take baby steps instead of huge leaps!
Toddlers over two can have half a cup of syrup mixed with other ingredients in their sweets, snacks, or on top of their pancakes. But in the case of younger babies, you are strongly encouraged to reduce that amount and slowly increase it as the baby grows.
This natural sweetener is concentrated and sweet, so it is best to start with small amounts and give the baby time to get used to the taste. Then, you can increase the amount.
You may start with one half a teaspoon after passing the first birthday hallmark.
Also, drizzling a few drops of syrup on top of pancakes is excellent for baby-led weaning. It will boost the baby’s motivation to self-feeding! But, keep in mind to only add a few drops, and save generous drizzling when the baby is over two.
If you mix your syrup with other ingredients, such as yogurt, fruit, and veggies in smoothies, limit the amount to two teaspoons maximum per serving.
You can skip dark maple syrup at this point as it has a stronger taste. Use it for baking instead, and serve only light syrup with pancakes or french toast!
Go through the following section to find the answers to the most common questions about maple syrup and its use in a baby’s diet.
Is Pancake Syrup Maple Syrup?
No, maple syrup is made from tree sap and it is a natural sweetener. If you have a maple syrup VS pancake syrup dilemma, always go for the former! Pancake syrup is often high fructose corn syrup with an artificial maple extract.
Can Babies Have Cooked Maple Syrup?
Babies over 12 months can be fed with small amounts of cooked, pure maple syrup. After the second birthday, parents can increase the amount of syrup and other sweeteners.
Is Maple Syrup a Common Allergen?
No, maple syrup is not a common allergen. Nonetheless, people with oral allergy syndrome are at greater risk of experiencing a reaction to unprocessed maple syrup.
There are even smaller chances of an allergic reaction for people who consume cooked maple syrup.
Related: Milk Allergy VS Lactose intolerance
Can Maple Syrup Cause Botulism?
It is possible, but the chances of causing this severe disease are small. Real maple syrup is cooked, and spores that cause botulism cannot survive the high temperatures. The risk is greater with raw honey and raw unprocessed maple syrup.
Which Has More Health Benefits, Maple Syrup or Honey?
We’ve already established that maple syrup and honey are healthier alternatives to refined sugars. Maple syrup, in particular, contains minerals, antioxidants, and greater content of fats.
Also, maple syrup is richer in vitamin B1 and B2. On the other hand, honey is a better source of carbs and proteins and contains more vitamin C, B3, B5, and B6. Maple syrup has a lower glycemic index than honey. 
It is why some people believe it is a healthier option than honey.
How Should Maple Syrup be Introduced to Babies with Baby-Led Weaning?
You can use it with homemade granola and on top of pancakes or yogurt. You can also add it to sauces, smoothies or use it in cookies.
Is Real Maple Syrup Healthy?
Pure or real maple syrup is a better choice than refined sugar or even just regular maple syrup. Despite being healthy for a fact, you should still use it scarcely as it contains minerals, antioxidants, and a high percentage of sugar.
So, is maple syrup bad for you and your baby? Can babies consume these sweeteners?
A few drops of maple syrup is a great way to sweeten a baby’s food! However, use it only when your baby is over 12 months. Keep in mind to stay away from raw, unprocessed maple syrup and start with small amounts!
Because of the sweet taste, your baby will most probably enjoy it. However, it is better to limit the sugar intake in babies to lower the risks of some diseases later in life.
I hope you found this article useful!
If you have more concerns about maple syrup and babies’ nutrition, pop us a question! Don’t forget to follow our Pinterest account @babyjourney0183 for more ideas, tips, and inspiration!
Last update on 2023-06-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API