Can I Give My Baby Maple Syrup?

Can I give my baby maple syrup?

What are pancakes without maple syrup? If your baby is having pancakes or waffles, you’ll no doubt wonder if you can top them off with a little maple syrup. These foods can be somewhat dry, and syrup helps moisten them up a bit and is basically delicious, and really completes the experience for us. But is maple syrup something a baby should have?

Can I Give My Baby Maple Syrup? After 12 Months

There are several concerns when it comes to this item. The first is its high sugar level. Babies should not be given foods that will spike their blood sugar levels, especially when just starting out on solid foods. They digestion is sensitive, and sugar can be hard to process until they are older than twelve months. Too much sugar when they are transitioning to solids can lead them to having a tendency to consume sugary foods in later life and lead to problems like obesity and diabetes.

How Is Maple Syrup Made?

Maple syrup is made from the xylem sap of maple trees. The trees typically used for sap harvest are sugar maple, red maple and black maple trees. These trees will store starch in their roots before winter and the starch converts to sugar which rises in the sap when spring comes. The sap is harvested by tapping the trunks and collecting the sap which drips out.  The collected sap is then heated to evaporate the water and leaves behind a concentrated syrup.

Definition of Maple Syrup

There are new laws which prevent misleading labeling of maple syrup and other similar pancake topping sauces. Canadian maple syrup must be 66% sugar and be made exclusively from maple sap to be classified as maple syrup. In the United States, maple syrup must be made almost entirely from maple sap.

What Do All The Grades Of Maple Syrup Mean?

Maple syrup is graded based on its density and how translucent it is. Maple syrup grades have nothing to do with quality or nutrition. The different grades of maple syrup, both American and Canadian, refer to the color of the syrup. Typically, the darker the maple syrup is, the stronger the flavor.

In Canada, there are three grades for maple syrup, and there are various color classes in each grade. You may find maple syrup graded as extra light, light, medium, amber and dark.

In the United States, maple syrup is divided into two grades, grade A and grade B and the grading system works on the translucence of the product. Grade A is divided further into three color grades of Light Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber. Grade B is a very dark syrup with a richer darker flavor, but is still a quality maple syrup product.

If a bottle of syrup is labelled as “Maple” and it has been produced in Canada or the United States it must have been produced according to strict standards. You are assured that you are using a quality product and the different shades and grades are a matter of choice and flavor.

Maple Syrup vs Pancake Syrup

Don’t confuse pure maple syrup with pancake syrup or other similar products. These are typically the sauces you would find at diners or other fast food restaurants and are generally not pure maple syrup. To be assured you are eating maple syrup you should see that the word maple syrup is on the packaging.

Alternative syrups are not made from maple sap, and are in fact made from high fructose corn syrup mixed with flavors to imitate a “maple syrup like” flavor and color. American labeling laws prevent these imitations from carrying the word “maple” on their labels. People can still find it confusing, but a good rule of thumb is that if the label doesn’t state “maple syrup” you are getting an imitation.

Where is Maple Syrup produced?

To produce maple syrup you require a cold climate. The Canadian Province of Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup; they produce approximately 80% of the world’s supply. In the United States, Vermont is the largest supplier of maple syrup.

When To Eat Maple Syrup?

You can add maple syrup to pancakes, waffles, French Toast, oatmeal, porridge… the list goes on and on. You can also use it when you are baking as a flavoring agent. Often the darker maple syrups are used in baking because they are a stronger flavor.

Health Benefits of Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is very sweet, so should always be given sparingly to small children. It is also a good source of zinc and manganese and has a positive effect on antioxidant and energy production in our bodies.  Both zinc and manganese play an important role in our immune health.

Difference Between Organic and Non Organic Maple Syrup

All maple syrup is typically produced in the same way; maple trees are tapped, the sap is harvested and then boiled to evaporate the water content. All maple syrup producers must have a license and the processing plants are routinely inspected to ensure safe, sanitary production.

An organic classification is issued by an organic inspector who determines that no chemicals or pesticides are used in the general area, records on the organic production are kept and checked and that tapping guidelines are met. When choosing organic or non-organic maple syrup products, it is important to remember that all producers are licensed and must adhere to production guidelines. Buying organic produce is simply a matter of choice.

When you are looking at giving your baby maple syrup you should be sure to check the label to make sure it includes “maple syrup”. Labeling laws prevent other types of breakfast and pancake syrups which are not maple syrup from including these words on their packaging. Once your baby is old enough, you can give them a little but be mindful that this is a sweet product and your baby’s digestion may find it difficult to process. While we do give the approval for real maple syrup on occasion, you’ll still want to verify with your doctor whether this is something that is OK for your specific child. Only your doctor has their complete medical history available, and can make suggestions accordingly.

Add Your Own Answer to Can I Give My Baby Maple Syrup? Below

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave May 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm

As a maple syrup producer, I’d like to comment on the section “100% real or Organic”. Organic also means that the producer paid to have someone come out so they could legally use the USDA Organic symbol. Nothing more. Typically, the only difference between certified organic syrup and other producers is what the producer uses to de-foam the sap as it boils and that they use sustainable forestry practices. In the US there is also the Truth in Labeling Act which requires that if the label says something is 100% or Pure, it has to be. So, if it’s pure maple syrup, its the same thing as one labeled organic with the exceptions that I’ve mentioned above.

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Klank July 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Agreed was wondering when someone like yourself was going to speak on behalf of pure maple syrup ty…..

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canigivemybaby July 31, 2013 at 2:13 am

Hi Dave,
Thank you for your comments on the production of organic maple syrup. I have done some further reading and agree that my article needed a review. Thanks for your feedback and sharing.
Amber

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Kisha February 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm

I am torn between two maple syrups. 100% Grade B maple syrup that is not organic and 100% Organic Grade A maple syrup. I have heard that Grade B is more beneficial to our bodies than Grade A, however the Supermarket that I shop at doesn’t carry it in organic, so again…100% Grade B, or 100% Organic Grade A? Thanks to anyone who has the perfect answer.

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Klank July 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Your best choice would be to go to your nearest local farm stand for both maple syrup and honey because your supporting local community income and there is more benefits in consuming local maple syrup and honey because the trees and bees are local as well…..

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canigivemybaby July 31, 2013 at 2:11 am

Hi Klank,
Thank you for your comments on our review of maple syrup for babies and your insight into the production of maple syrup. I have done some additional research and rewritten the article to better reflect the different grades of maple syrup and the production. Thanks again, Amber

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