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'Give babies sugary solution before jabs'


Babies given a sugary solution before receiving injections are less likely to cry, a study shows.

Sugar appears to comfort babies and has the potential to act as an analgesic.

A team of researchers from Brazil, Canada and Australia analysed 14 clinical trials involving 1,674 jabs for children up to the age of one.

According to the study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, some were given nothing before the injection, others were given water and some a solution with sucrose or glucose in. Infants receiving a 30% glucose solution were 20% less likely to cry following a jab, results showed.

Sucrose and glucose solutions also led to a 10% reduction in the proportion of time a baby spent crying.

The babies were only given small amounts of sucrose or glucose - between a few drops and half a teaspoon.

Researchers said health workers should consider giving youngsters a sugary solution before giving their jabs, although the best dose could not be determined from the study.

They concluded: “Infants aged one to 12 months who were administered sucrose or glucose before immunisation had moderately reduced incidence and duration of crying.

“Healthcare professionals should consider using sucrose or glucose before and during immunisation.”


Readers' comments (5)

  • I was reading this research 2 years ago. As a practice nurse I asked our community paediatrician and pharmacists if this could be done in general practice. Basically I was dismissed as it was" obviously just a placebo effect and would make the parents feel better!" So much for me keeping up to date and reading to be dismissed out of hand by my medical colleagues.

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  • Latterlife Midwife

    Yes, I agree with the first poster. This was published in the USA a good few years ago, but good to have it confirmed, I guess. However, having a nursing baby or toddler at the breast during newborn screening tests or jabs accomplishes the same thing. Nursing newborns barely respond to needles that way!

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  • We have been using sucrose here where I work in Melbourne Australia for over 2 years now in an acute setting for babies who are having procedures done ie iv insertion, catheterization, bloods etc. On the unit I was on, we found the Sucrose to be very effective in a high percentage of young babies, and it became part of preparing a baby for the procedure. Also agree with above comment that babies that are breast fed also were notibly less distressed if fed by the mother during the procedure.

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  • We too are using sucrose on our neonatal unit for pain relief during cannulations, blood sampling and lumbar punctures with great results. Obviously in the case of lumbar puncture's it's not possible for them to breast feed at the same time. However, research shows dummy's [in conjunction with sucrose] work well too, but are frowned upon by the 'breast feeding police' - I'm not convinced by the teat/nipple confusion theory - but don't tell anyone I said that!

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  • Could this "good "feeling be connected to the Limbic part of the brain and the afferent a/ slow nerve pain response.... I am a studying nurse in my first year.. so forget my comment if I am off mark!

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