Sugar Bug (Blue Vein Between Eyes): Causes And How To Support The Baby

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You may observe that in babies, certain veins are quite prominent on their foreheads and noses. These veins are referred to as a “sugar bug,” and sugar bug babies are those with such veins. Although their appearance is considered completely normal, it may create concerns in some parents.

Read on to know about sugar bug babies, including if it will disappear and whether it is normal or abnormal.

In This Article

Is Sugar Bug Vein Normal?

It is entirely normal for babies to have sugar bug veins. Although we all have veins, some veins are more evident in babies. There are various theories about sugar bug veins. Traditional Japanese medicine believes that sugar bug veins indicate a syndrome called “kanmushi”, which causes a weakened immune system, sugar sensitivity, and irritability in children.

Some other theories claim that sugar bug veins signify mutations in the MTHFR gene, a condition that might cause health problems. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. Since there is no conclusive evidence, we can say sugar bug veins are not a cause for concern.

protip_icon Did you know?
In Japanese traditional medicine, Kanmushi (Kan-no-mushi) is a mythical illness that causes parasites (3).

What Does It Look Like?

Sugar bug vein in babies
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Image: Shutterstock

Sugar bug veins are usually blue. It may be about 1.5-2mm thick and usually appears on the bridge of the child’s nose or between the eyes.

Ashley Linn, a mother of three, had been unaware of her daughter’s sugar bug. She shares, “At her birth, my very knowledgeable lay midwife said that the blue spot was probably a bruise from the birth canal and that it would fade and disappear. I soon realized it wasn’t going away, and I have since considered it normal. Apparently, my daughter was born with a ‘Kanmushi,’ as it is referred to in Chinese medicine, otherwise known as a sugar bug, which is indicated by the bright blue vein exposed on the bridge of her nose (i).”

What Are The Causes Of Sugar Bug In Babies?

The cause of sugar bug veins is not known. There is no scientific evidence to prove why sugar bug veins appear in some babies. However, here are a few characteristics that may make sugar bug veins more noticeable in babies.

  • Fair skin: The veins of babies with fair skin are more prominent.
Sugar bug in fair skin babies
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Image: S: iStock

  • The thickness of the skin: Babies usually have thin and delicate skin. Some babies’ skin may be more transparent than others, allowing light to pass through more easily. These factors make sugar bug veins more visible.
  • Size of the veins: The size of the baby’s veins might also impact the visibility of sugar bug veins.

protip_icon Quick fact
Lower subcutaneous fat and genetics might also cause a baby to have prominent veins on the forehead or nose.

What Are Some Foods To Avoid When Having Sugar Bug Vein?

Although traditional Chinese and Japanese medicines recommend certain food restrictions for babies with sugar veins, there is no research to prove these claims. However, restrictions on unhealthy foods may be beneficial for babies. Here are a few foods that traditional medicines recommend avoiding.

  • Sugar: Avoid sweet-tasting foods that contain added sugar, such as a cookie, candy, cotton candy, and cakes. You should also monitor the intake of foods containing natural sugars, such as fruits, honey, and maple syrup. You should limit the consumption of carbohydrate-rich food.
Monitoring sugar content in the baby's food
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Image: S: iStock

  • Cold food: Cold foods, such as ice creams, may cause nasal congestion and cough. Therefore, Chinese medicine recommends restrictions on cold foods.

What Are Some Foods To Include When Having Sugar Bug Vein?

Healthy diet for babies
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Regardless of whether there are sugar bugs, it is always good to maintain a healthy diet for babies. Traditional medicine recommends providing clean food for babies.

  • Fresh food: Give your baby freshly prepared whole food every time.
  • Nutritional diet: Traditional medicine recommends a diet rich in water-soluble B vitamins, zinc, essential fatty acids, and amino acids.

Does A Sugar Bug Go Away?

As the baby grows, the veins of sugar bugs are less visible. The aging process causes a lot of changes in the face and body. The face and the body grow, fill out, and the skin thickens. During this process, vein drainage may also change. All these changes may make sugar bug veins less evident. Although medical science is yet to make any conclusions on why sugar bug veins disappear, they mostly disappear or become less noticeable after the first year.

How To Support A Baby With Sugar Bug Vein?

Besides providing sugar bug babies with a healthy diet, Chinese medicine offers other methods to support babies with sugar bug veins. All these are excellent ideas for little ones’ health, so implementing these practices will benefit them.

  1. Create a structured environment: Prepare an appropriate schedule for the baby. Try to fix a time for sleep, bathing, meals, and playtime. Following a timely routine may help your baby make better adjustments and reduce crankiness.

To establish a more organized environment for her daughter, Linn admits, “Truth be told, until this last year or so, I’ve wasted a lot of time being rather unorganized and unscheduled in my parenting, lacking a natural knack for routine myself, and I know it’s affected my daughter. I know we could have avoided a lot of trouble, frustration, and worry had I known about the sugar bug sooner or perhaps had I been more organized.”

  1. Take cues from the baby’s behavior: Observe the baby’s behavior and act accordingly. Keep track of when the child seems uncomfortable. Put the baby to bed early if the baby gets upset at noon. If the baby appears irritable after consuming specific foods, remove the foods from the diet plan for some time.
  1. Avoid exposure to excessive stimuli: Excess stimulation can overwhelm the baby. They cannot bear exposure to too many sensations or activities. Overstimulation can make them cranky and tired. Therefore, it is best to limit their exposure to loud noises or flashing lights(1). If they seem unsettled by TV sounds or loud music at parties, take them to a quiet place to calm them down.
Calming a baby down
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Image: S: iStock

protip_icon Quick tip
Avoid exposing babies to bright lights or sunshine to protect their delicate skin in and around the eyes and on the eyelids.

When To Call The Doctor?

Typically, sugar bugs will disappear automatically without medical intervention. However, if you notice the following symptoms, you should seek medical advice immediately.

  • A strange lump
  • Presence of dents, scars, or a bunch of hair on the bridge of the baby’s nose
  • Any swelling or uneven appearance of the skin in the area
  • The throbbing of the vein
  • Blue-purple swelling or any other color change around the nose

Sometimes blue-purple swelling may indicate the presence of hemangioma, a birthmark made of extra blood vessels and is benign. Although most of them disappear without medical treatment, some may cause scars, sores, infection, or difficulties in breathing, seeing, or eating, depending on the location (2). Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is massaging the blue vein between a baby’s eyes safe?

There is no scientific evidence that reports the safety or lack of it in massaging the blue vein between a baby’s eyes.

2. Can the blue vein between a baby’s eyes signify a birth injury or trauma?

The blue vein between a baby’s eyes is normal in most infants and is not generally associated with a birth injury or trauma.

3. Can the blue vein between a baby’s eyes indicate a congenital condition?

A blue vein is usually not associated with any congenital condition. If your baby has a blue vein between the eyes and shows signs of a problem, consult a doctor.

4. Can the blue vein between a baby’s eyes cause discomfort or pain?

The blue vein between a baby’s eyes is not typically associated with discomfort or pain. However, seek medical advice if the vein is swollen, red, or tender to the touch.

Sugar bug babies have a bluish line commonly called a sugar bug on their bodies. Although harmless in most cases, it is natural to be concerned about your baby. So be rest assured that the appearance of such a line does not essentially pose any threat to your baby and will disappear as your baby grows without requiring any medical intervention. You may support them through it by providing them with a healthy diet, calming them, and preventing them from exposure to loud noises. However, if the sugar bug presents with additional symptoms such as scars, pulsating pain, or a lump, consult your child’s doctor as it may indicate an underlying condition.

Infographic: More Details On Sugar Bug Babies

Sugar bug veins in babies might sound harmful, but it is normal. However, you may need to take specific precautions to avoid any potential future complications. This infographic provides more information about the conspicuous sugar bug vein between the baby’s eyes.

anecdotal information about sugar bug vein in infants (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

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Key Pointers

  • The exact cause of the sugar bug vein is not identified. However, it is prominent in babies with fair or thin skin.
  • Traditional medical practices recommend avoiding certain food items such as sugar and eating only fresh food.
  • Changes in sugar bug veins such as a throbbing vein, swelling, and the presence of scars should be evaluated by a pediatrician.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Overstimulation: babies and children; Raising Children Network
2. Hemangioma; Nationwide Children’s Hospital
3. ; Common Phototherapy Mistakes & How to Avoid Them; Journal Of The American Osteopathic College Of Dermatology

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