Sugar Water for Babies: What are the Pros and Cons?

sugar water for babies

Sugar water is known for giving hydrating the body and giving it energy and even for its pain-relieving properties. While adults can drink it without any worries, it could be quite harmful to babies if not taken with precaution. Let’s see what exactly is sugar water and whether you should give it to your child or not.

Sugar water for babies is usually for certain medical conditions; children who get multiple shots are advised to be given sugar water for pain relief. Also, some pediatricians advise a spoon of brown sugar in one ounce of water for constipated babies. Sugar water has been reported to ease the discomfort caused by colic acid or gas in babies, though there is no scientific proof behind this.

What Is Sugar Water?

A solution created by combining sugar and water is known as sugar water. The sweet liquid that results from this is mainly used for two reasons: to improve hydration and as a sweet syrup in cooking and baking.

For centuries, people have used sugar water as medicine to alleviate dehydration or as a source of energy for workers or sports. It is frequently used in present society to quickly hydrate newborns or young children who are unable to consume water or other liquids on their own.

As a simple syrup, sugar water is often used in the culinary world to sweeten alcoholic beverages, mixed drinks, and baked products. When sugar is dissolved in boiling water and then allowed to cool, a simple syrup is produced that may be readily used in a number of recipes.

While sugar water can provide hydration and instant energy, it should only be consumed when needed. Too much sugar consumption can cause tooth damage, obesity, and diabetes among other health problems. In order to maintain a balanced diet that includes a range of fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich meals, it is crucial to balance sugar consumption.

Subsequently, sugar water is a straightforward yet adaptable solution that has been utilized for a number of things throughout the years. It should be used in moderation as part of a balanced diet, whether medicinally or for culinary purposes.

Should I Give Sugar Water to My Baby?

Sugar water should not be given to newborns, especially those under six months. Sugar water can be a rapid source of energy and hydration, but it can also be harmful to a baby’s health. They get the necessary nutrients, energy, and hydration from breast milk and rarely need anything else.

Sugar water is not advised for babies for many reasons, one of which is that it may upset the body’s delicate electrolyte balance. Electrolyte abnormalities, which can cause dehydration, diarrhea, and other health issues, are especially dangerous for infants.

Too much sugar water can also be bad for a baby’s teeth since the sugar can cause tooth decay and other dental issues. If not treated right away, this might result in lifelong dental problems.

In some circumstances, such as when an infant is dehydrated or unable to take other fluids, a healthcare professional may advise sugar water. But even in these cases, it’s important to follow the medical advice and use sugar water as instructed.

In general, it is preferable to refrain from giving sugar water to babies unless a healthcare professional clearly instructs it. As a substitute, the mother’s milk supply or formula should be given to newborns as their main source of nourishment and hydration, and solid meals should only be offered when the baby is developmentally ready.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Sugar Water in Babies?


  • Sugar water can be a rapid source of hydration for babies who are unable to ingest other liquids due to vomiting or diarrhea or other medical conditions.
  • Sugar water might give babies who are possibly feeling tired a rapid supply of energy.


  • The delicate electrolyte balance in the body can be upset by sugar water, which can result in dehydration, diarrhea, and other health issues.
  • Sugar water can damage a baby’s teeth; the sugars can cause tooth decay and other dental issues.
  • Excessive sugar can lead to obesity and other health problems, which can have detrimental long-term impacts on a baby’s health.
  • Possible allergic reactions: Certain types of sugars or other substances in sugar water may induce allergic reactions in babies, which can lead to further health issues.

Is Sugar Water Safe or Unsafe?

Depending on its use and dose, sugar water can be both harmless and harmful. Sugar water given to newborns safely in some specific situations and in relatively small amounts is generally not dangerous. Nevertheless, excessive sugar water drinking can be harmful, especially for young children and babies.

Sugar water can be safe and useful in some circumstances when used sparingly and under medical supervision. For instance, a medical professional could advise it to relieve dehydration in a newborn who is unable to consume other fluids because of sickness or other circumstances. Sugar water can, however, be harmful to your health if consumed in large quantities or if you don’t get the right advice. High sugar consumption can cause obesity, dental decay, and other health issues, especially in young kids and babies whose bodies are still growing.

Even though sugar water may be safe in some situations, it is still important to use it sparingly and under a doctor’s supervision. Parents also need to be aware of the possible health risks associated with consuming too much sugar and aim to provide a balanced diet for their kids.

How Can You Make Sugar Water?

Sugar water can be made by dissolving sugar in water. Here is a simple recipe for making sugar water:


  • 1 cup of water
  • One tablespoon of granulated sugar


  • In a small saucepan, heat the water until it boils.
  • Add the sugar to the heated water after turning off the heat in the pan.
  • Stir the mixture until all of the sugar has dissolved.
  • Before using, let the mix cool down to room temperature.

To prevent making the solution too concentrated or too diluted, it’s essential to use the proper sugar-to-water ratio. Less than one teaspoon of sugar per ounce of water is advised for newborns and only when directed to do so by a healthcare professional.

How Is Sugar Water Given to Babies?

Sugar water should only be given to babies when specifically instructed by a healthcare professional. Given below are some points to keep in mind while giving sugar water to your baby if your healthcare practitioner has advised doing so:

  • Choose the right concentration: When creating sugar water for newborns, it’s important to use the right sugar-to-water ratio. Less than one teaspoon of sugar per ounce of water is advised for newborns, and only use as instructed by a healthcare professional.
  • Use a clean container: Make sure the sugar water is free of any particles by mixing it in a clean container. The solution can be blended in a clean glass or a sterile bottle.
  • Administer little doses of sugar water: This is important, especially for very young neonates. To prevent overdosing and manage the amount of sugar water given to the baby, use a dropper or syringe. The amount of sugar water you use can have serious impacts on your baby.
  • Check the baby’s reaction: Following the administration of sugar water to your infant, it’s important to observe how they react and keep an eye out for any negative side effects. Call a doctor right away if your child vomits, has diarrhea, or exhibits any other symptoms after drinking sugar water.

Generally, it’s important to exercise caution and adhere to medical professionals’ recommendations while giving sugar water to infants. Sugar water shouldn’t be used as an infant’s main source of nourishment, but it can be a rapid supply of hydration and energy in some instances. Only when needed, should you give your baby sugar water.

Does Sugar Water Help Babies Poop?

Does Sugar Water Help Babies Poop?

When a baby is constipated, some people turn to sugar water as a home treatment. Nevertheless, the usefulness of sugar water in encouraging bowel movements in newborns is questionable, and there is little scientific evidence to support its use for this reason.

By attracting water to the intestines and promoting bowel movements, sugar water may be effective as a laxative for infants. Healthcare professionals do not, however, advise using sugar water to treat newborn constipation since it may not work for all babies and may have adverse health implications.

However, there are other factors that might contribute to constipation in babies, such as a change in food, a lack of fluids, an upset stomach, or medical disorders, including an intestinal blockage or an allergy to the formula. As a result, it’s crucial to speak with your healthcare professional if your kid has constipation in order to understand the underlying cause and the best course of action.

Healthcare professionals can suggest other secure and efficient treatments for newborn constipation instead of sugar water, such as boosting fluid intake, massaging the infant’s abdomen, or using a rectal thermometer to induce bowel movements.

While some newborns may benefit from using sugar water as a home cure to treat constipation, healthcare professionals do not advise it, and it may not be beneficial for all babies. To establish the underlying cause and the best course of action if your kid is constipated, it is crucial to speak with your healthcare professional.

Does Sugar Water Relieves Pain?

For newborn babies undergoing specific medical procedures, such as a heel prick or a circumcision, sugar water is occasionally administered as a painkiller. The use of sugar water as a therapy for effective pain management is supported by just a small body of scientific research, and healthcare professionals disagree over its efficacy.

By encouraging the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers, in the brain, sugar water may be effective as a painkiller. The baby can be comforted and distracted from the discomfort by the sweetness of the sugar water, and the sweetness could be used as one of the psychological pain reduction strategies instead of a physical one.

The effectiveness of sugar water as a pain treatment technique for newborns has been the subject of several research studies, with varying degrees of success. While some research has revealed that sugar water can help to lessen discomfort during medical operations, other studies have found no appreciable difference in pain relief between sugar water and placebo solutions.

However, healthcare professionals do not advise using sugar water as a stand-alone therapy for babies’ discomfort. The use of a pacifier, breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, or alternative safe and effective pain management techniques for newborns may be suggested by healthcare professionals instead.

It is also important to remember that giving babies sugar water to relieve discomfort might have detrimental impacts on their health, including an increased chance of tooth decay, diarrhea, and adjustments to their blood sugar levels. As a result, medical professionals could advise restricting the use of sugar water as a painkiller and only taking it as directed by them.

Therefore, while the use of sugar water as a stand-alone pain reliever for newborns during specific medical procedures may have some benefits, healthcare professionals do not advise it. A healthcare professional should be consulted before using any alternative safe and efficient pain management techniques.

Bottom Line

Giving sugar water to babies is not a safe option. Too much sugar water for babies can lead to excessive weight gain, water intoxication, imbalance of bodies’ electrolyte solution, and increased risks of heart disease and tooth decay. During a medical procedure, especially a painful procedure, glucose water or sugar water may be used to distract babies, but it should only be given if a doctor recommends it. Also, sometimes formula-fed babies or even breastfed babies can have allergic reactions to the water, which can affect the baby’s appetite. Thus, sugar water should only be used when advised by a doctor.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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