Helping parents make confident choices

Does sugar help calm babies during jabs?

Experts go behind the headlines to explore whether sugar can comfort your baby’s nerves during a jab

New reports suggest sugar drops can help comfort babies before they have a jab.


The Cochrane team looked over 14 studies, which took into account 1,500 infants who had had their routine childhood immunisations. Babies were given a sugary solution to suck and were said to cry for a shorter time than those given water, the BBC reports.

However, Dr David Elliman of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said sugary solutions were not used routinely in practice. David says, “If you do the usual holding and comforting, I’m not sure how much sucrose would add.”

Indeed, Dr Miriam Stoppard told us, “It may be a scary experience for you, especially if you yourself don’t like injections, but remember, your baby won’t realise what’s happened a few seconds later.”

If you are concerned about how upset your baby will be, try Miriam’s tips to make it a more seamless experience.

“If you’re calm and positive your baby will pick up on that happy vibe and before you know it you’re out of the surgery and it’s all done. Play games so he thinks it’s just a normal day, and sitting him on your knee with both your backs to the nurse will help. Reassure him like you would if he was crying because he’s hungry or wet,” says Miriam.

Dr Elliman adds, “Generally doctors recommend that you hold your baby and comfort him while he has his immunisation. If you are breastfeeding still, you might want to breastfeed him at the same time.”


See which immunisations your baby will have by the time they’re 13 months.


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