Can 6 month old have syrup?

Giving syrup to a 6 month old baby is generally not recommended by pediatricians and health experts. At 6 months, babies still have developing digestive systems and syrups can be difficult for them to process. Additionally, many syrups are high in sugar, which can lead to tooth decay and unhealthy weight gain in infants. However, there are some specific situations where a small amount of syrup may be appropriate for a 6 month old under medical supervision.

What is syrup?

Syrup is a thick, viscous liquid that is created by dissolving sugar in water. There are many different types of syrups, including:

  • Maple syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Fruit syrups (like raspberry or strawberry syrup)
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Cough syrup and other medicinal syrups

Some of the most common uses of syrup include:

  • Pancake and waffle topping
  • Sweetening agent in beverages like coffee or tea
  • Flavoring ingredient in desserts and baked goods
  • Cough and cold relief

Syrup gets its thick, viscous texture from the high sugar content. The sugar is dissolved at high concentrations into the water. The texture helps the syrup cling to and coat foods.

Nutrition concerns with syrup for babies

There are a few main nutrition concerns with giving syrup to babies under 1 year old:

  • Sugar content – Most syrups contain a high amount of added sugars. Maple syrup is over 60% sugar by weight, while corn syrup can be up to 100% sugar. Babies should not consume added sugars due to risk of tooth decay, poor nutrition, and unhealthy weight gain.
  • Choking hazard – The thick texture of syrup poses a choking risk for babies who are still learning to swallow thicker liquids and solids. Syrup can coat the mouth and throat and be difficult to swallow properly.
  • Allergens – Some syrups, like corn syrup, can contain allergens. Introducing allergenic foods too early can increase risk of developing food allergies.
  • Lack of nutrients – Syrups have little to no nutritional value. They provide empty calories without any beneficial protein, fat, vitamins or minerals.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, WHO, Health Canada, and other health organizations recommend breast milk or formula as the only necessary food sources for babies under 6 months old. Syrup provides no nutrition needed for infant growth and development.

Are there any benefits to giving a 6 month old syrup?

There are no direct health benefits to giving syrup to a 6 month old baby. Syrup does not provide any essential nutrition or ingredients that are needed in an infant’s diet. The only potential benefit is a small amount of calories from sugar, but babies already get calories from breast milk or formula.

In some cases, a doctor may recommend corn syrup or maple syrup to help relieve constipation in infants. The small amount of sugars can help draw water into the intestines and soften stool. However, this should only be done under close medical supervision due to risks.

For babies 6-12 months old who are eating solid foods, a small amount of maple or fruit syrup can provide flavor to foods like yogurt, oatmeal and teething biscuits. But honey should be avoided due to risk of infant botulism.

Are there risks to giving a 6 month old syrup?

Yes, there are several health and safety risks associated with giving syrup to a 6 month old baby. These include:

  • Tooth decay – Syrup’s high sugar content can lead to cavities, especially in new teeth that are more susceptible to decay.
  • Choking – The thick consistency makes swallowing difficult and poses a choking hazard.
  • Malnutrition – Syrup lacks nutrients for growth and can displace breastmilk or formula.
  • Unhealthy weight gain – Added sugars add empty calories and can lead to rapid weight gain.
  • Diarrhea – Too much sugar alcohol in some syrups can have a laxative effect.
  • Botulism poisoning – Honey can contain Clostridium botulinum bacteria that causes botulism in babies under 1 year.
  • Allergies – Early introduction of allergenic ingredients like corn can increase food allergy risk.

Giving syrup too often or in large amounts poses the greatest risk. But even occasional, small amounts may negatively impact an infant’s health.

Are there any syrups that are safe for a 6 month old?

No syrups are considered universally safe for babies under 6 months old. Breast milk or formula should be the only required diet at this age. However, some syrups may be safer options in small amounts if suggested by a pediatrician or healthcare provider.

Fruit syrups without added sugars may be the safest option. Look for kinds sweetened only with fruit juice. These provide vitamins and antioxidants from fruit with less risk of excess sugar consumption.

Maple syrup is another potential safer choice. It does contain sugar, but also has small amounts of minerals like calcium, potassium, and manganese. Of course, too much maple syrup still poses health risks.

Corn syrup is not recommended. It provides empty calories and poses allergy risks. And honey should be completely avoided due to risk of infant botulism, a form of food poisoning that can be fatal for babies.

Are there alternatives to give a 6 month old for flavor?

There are several healthy alternatives to provide flavor for a 6 month old without the risks of syrup:

  • Fruit purees – Well-cooked, mashed fruits like apples, pears, or bananas.
  • Vegetable purees – Blends of cooked, pureed veggies like sweet potato, carrots, or squash.
  • Cinnamon – A small pinch of cinnamon provides flavor without sugar.
  • Vanilla extract – Adds sweetness with minimal risks in small amounts.

These healthy whole food options provide nutrients along with flavor. Many pediatricians suggest introducing single-ingredient solids between 4-6 months old to help babies transition to solid foods.

Herbs, spices, fruit juices and other natural ingredients can provide safer flavoring than syrups. Focus on getting nutrition from core foods first, then use minimal seasoning for palatability.

What are signs your baby can’t tolerate syrup?

If you try giving your 6 month old a tiny amount of syrup under a doctor’s guidance, watch for any of these signs of intolerance:

  • Gagging, coughing or choking on the syrup
  • Vomiting or spitting up more than usual
  • Diarrhea or change in stool consistency
  • Abdominal pain or increased fussiness
  • Rash, swelling or other allergic reaction

Babies have sensitive digestive systems. Any change from their normal breast milk or formula diet can cause issues. Stop giving syrup and talk to a pediatrician if you observe any concerning symptoms.

What amount of syrup is safe for a 6 month old?

There is no established safe amount of syrup for a 6 month old baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no added sugars at all under 2 years old due to health risks.

If a doctor recommends syrup for constipation relief, they may suggest 1⁄4-1⁄2 teaspoon maple or corn syrup in 2-4 ounces of warm water. This small amount may help ease constipation in conjunction with other remedies.

Once solid foods have been introduced, a 6+ month old may be able to tolerate a 1⁄4 teaspoon or less of maple or fruit syrup occasionally stirred into foods for flavor. But amounts should be minimal and carefully supervised for reactions.

Tips for introducing syrup safely

If you plan to introduce a tiny amount of syrup to your 6 month old’s diet under medical guidance, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Only use recommended syrups like maple, fruit or corn syrup.
  • Avoid honey until 12+ months due to infant botulism risk.
  • Start with just a drop or two mixed into food or water.
  • Increase slowly while watching for signs of reaction or intolerance.
  • Aim for less than 1⁄4 teaspoon at first, gradually increasing to 1⁄2 teaspoon maximum.
  • Give only with foods, not on pacifier or straight from spoon.
  • Stop immediately if any concerning symptoms develop.
  • Brush teeth and rinse mouth with water after to remove excess sugar.

Proceed with extreme caution, especially if there are food allergies or sensitivities present. Any syrup poses risks for babies under 6 months.

What do pediatricians recommend?

The majority of pediatricians and pediatric health organizations do not recommend giving any syrups to babies under 6 months old. Their recommendations include:

  • Breast milk or formula only until 6 months old.
  • No added sugars in the first 1-2 years, including syrups.
  • Avoid honey until after 12 months due to botulism risk.
  • Only introduce single-ingredient solid foods between 4-6 months.
  • Focus on fruits, vegetables, cereals first before sugary foods.
  • Avoid force-feeding if the infant refuses the food.
  • Go slowly and watch carefully for any signs of reaction or intolerance.

Pediatricians emphasize getting nutrition from core foods first before worrying about flavor. Babies have very sensitive digestive systems and immature immune responses. Syrup’s risks likely outweigh any potential benefits.

What about organic syrups? Are they safer?

Organic syrups still pose many of the same risks as conventional syrups for infants under 6 months old. While they avoid pesticides and chemicals, the sugar content and choking hazard remain. Organic corn syrup is still corn syrup. And organic honey still contains Clostridium botulinum spores.

However, organic fruit syrups without added sweeteners may have slightly less risks. The main concerns are still choking and introducing new foods too early. But the Organic fruit sugars pose less of a tooth decay and weight gain risk than added sucrose or high fructose corn syrup.

As always, talk to your pediatrician before introducing any new foods or ingredients, even if organic. Get their input on appropriate timing and amounts based on your baby’s unique needs.


Giving syrup to a 6 month old baby is generally not recommended. While a tiny amount of certain syrups under medical supervision may be safe in some cases, the risks likely outweigh any potential benefits.

Syrup poses risks of choking, tooth decay, malnutrition, diarrhea, botulism and developing food allergies or intolerances. Babies’ digestive systems are still immature at 6 months old. Breast milk or formula should be the exclusive diet.

If syrup is medically advised, use extreme caution with type and amount. Watch closely for any signs of reaction or intolerance. Focus on getting nutrition from fruits, vegetables, cereals first. Then use minimal, safe flavor additions as needed for palatability.

For optimal health, exclusively breastfeed for 6 months when possible. Then slowly introduce single-ingredient solids one at a time between 4-6 months. Hold off on syrup and limit added sugars until 1-2 years old per pediatric guidance.

Leave a Comment