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Are you wondering if maple syrup for babies is safe? I know exactly how you feel. As a new mom, figuring out what babies can and cannot eat can be a jungle.
So, let’s go into detail about when it’s safe for babies to have maple syrup, and what benefits it has.
Read next: 5 different baby cries – what’s your baby trying to tell you?
Can babies have maple syrup?
When you’re considering maple syrup for babies, the answer to this question is more complicated than you might expect. This is because it goes something like: no, then yes. There’s also a difference between when something is technically safe and when it is healthy.
If you are looking for a quick answer: yes, babies can have maple syrup, but not until they are around six months old and it’s safe to introduce both solid and sugary foods into their diet.
However, while six months is safe, it isn’t necessarily healthy, and I certainly don’t advise it. So, let’s look at when maple syrup for babies is safe.
What about honey then?
You may also be wondering: at what age can babies eat honey? This is a very different question because natural honey contains clostridium botulinum, a bacteria that can lead to infant botulism (more on that below). Maple syrup is far safer than honey because it doesn’t contain that same bacteria.
When is it safe to eat maple syrup?
It’s likely that a quick google search will bring up a simple answer like “maple syrup babies safe”. However, we’re not just looking at safety, but also good health for your little one.
To keep your baby healthy, maple syrup for babies should be eaten from 12 months, and not before.
You may find that your baby is ready to eat some solid foods at six months, and that means you can introduce maple syrup into their diet at this point. Like I mentioned above, maple syrup can’t lead to botulism so it’s safe. That said, maple syrup is sweet and sugary, and introducing something so sugary (even if it’s all natural) into your baby’s diet too early is never a smart idea.
Maple syrup is boiled for hours before being bottled, so bacteria and other contaminants are not an issue. The issue is the sugar content. But, once your baby turns one year, the acid levels in their intestines have matured and balanced out to the point that maple syrup is safe for them. The best way for them to consume it is as a sweetener for things like porridge and applesauce.
What is infant botulism?
As mentioned, one of the reasons maple syrup for babies is safe is because the process of sourcing and producing maple syrup can’t lead to infant botulism. However, babies eating honey can certainly be risky for that exact reason. Natural honey contains clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism. And what is that, exactly?
According to the British NHS, “Botulism is a very rare but life-threatening condition caused by toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria.” The effects of botulism are frightening and should be taken very seriously. The bacteria attacks the nervous system, brain, and spine, and can also cause muscle paralysis.
The reason honey is safe for toddlers, children, and adults, but not babies, is because any spores found in honey are easily fought off by our immune systems. That can’t happen until your little one is at least one year old, however. If your baby does experience botulism, it can be treated in hospital and any paralysis that has occurred should improve over the following months.
What happens if my baby eats maple syrup?
There is no immediate impact to your baby’s health if they eat maple syrup before they reach twelve months. However, the amount of sugar in maple syrup increases their risk of such things as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
However, as I’ve mentioned, honey is a different story because of the bacteria it contains. If you’re asking “when can babies eat honey?” the answer is also after they reach twelve months, because their immune system has strengthened enough to fight this bacteria as yours does.
What is the best maple syrup?
The best maple syrup for babies is one that’s organic and natural. Natural maple syrup has been sourced directly from the maple tree and boiled to remove any dangerous bacteria. Here is some of the best maple syrup for babies.
NOW Foods Certified Organic Maple Syrup
This is a dark, fully organic maple syrup with a rich flavor that is ideal for adding to porridge or applesauce as a healthy sweetener. Buy yours on Amazon.
Mansfield Maple Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
This maple syrup is 100% natural. You’ll find no extra additives, meaning it’s naturally sweet and the healthiest option for babies and adults alike. Buy yours on Amazon.
Pure, Organic Canadian Maple Syrup
This is maple syrup in maple leaf bottle, which makes it the most stylish and awesome-looking maple syrup on the shelves. It’s also organic and healthy to boot! Buy yours on Amazon.
Healthy alternatives to sugar
While we all know children love sugar, making sure they get a suitable amount of it, and in the right forms, is key to keeping them healthy.
Fruit and berries
The most natural source of sugar is fruits and berries, which should all be cut and sliced into safe, edible pieces (especially grapes) to avoid them getting stuck when eaten.
Considered the raw form of cocoa, used to make chocolate, cacao comes in many forms that can be healthier than processed chocolate, including cacao nibs and drinks.
Raisins or dates
Raisins and dates are great for kids. Especially dates, which are an incredibly sweet “natural candy”. You can also buy bars and balls made exclusively from raisins and dates that are a great alternative to candy bars.
Fruit smoothies are perfect for children who want to enjoy a mix of flavors, and great for you if you want to give them their five-a-day in a single drink!
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