When Can Babies Eat Honey?

image001 Honey is a natural substance produced by bees and popularly consumed by humans for health reasons. Aside from being useful as a remedy for asthma, cough, hay fever, stomach problems and diarrhea, honey is also delightful to the taste. Parents may want to allow their babies to experience new tastes, such as that of honey, but health experts warn that the proper time to introduce honey to young babies must be considered because serious side effects may occur when it is given too early.

When Can Babies Eat Honey´╝č

Many cultures believe in the health benefits of honey and allow their babies to eat it early in their lives. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents not to give their babies raw or unpasteurized honey if they are younger than 12 months old. It should not be added to water, formula or food, including processed or baked goods. This also includes beverages, bread or cereals that may be sweetened with honey. This may be a conservative guideline but it is worth considering and discussing with a pediatrician.

Why Is Honey Unsafe for Your Babies?

After knowing when can babies eat honey, which is after they are 1 year old, you gotta know why you should not give your baby honey before then. 

1. Why Is Honey Unsafe for Your Babies?

  • Infant botulism

Honey can cause infant botulism. This condition is caused by the ingestion of Clostridium botulinumsporesThis type of bacteria producestoxins inside the digestive tract and can lead to serious side effects including paralysis of the baby's muscles, which can also affect his/her respiration or ability to breathe. If not treated immediately, the baby can die from botulism. Signs and symptoms include constipation, weak cry, blank facial expression, weakness in feeding or sucking.

  • Damage babies’ emerging teeth

Babies may develop a liking for sweet foods (sweet tooth). To add more flavor to their food, parents can add pureed, mashed or dried fruit to the baby's rice, oatmeal or yogurt.

You can watch this video and learn more about the dangers of giving babies honey:

2. Why Is Honey Safe for Older Children and Adults?

Babies are not allowed to have honey because their digestive tracts are still immature. They do not produce enough stomach acidity to fight bacteria in their digestive tracts. On the other hand, older children and adults have a more mature digestive system that can handle bacteria and their toxins, defending the body from their side effects.

How to Treat and Prevent Infant Botulism?

1. What Can I Do If My Baby Has Certain Symptoms of Botulism?

See your doctor immediately if your baby develops constipation, muscle weakness, slack jaw, trouble sucking, lethargy and crying. No antibiotics are helpful in treating infant botulism. Prompt treatment consists of injection with botulism immune globulin, a substance that can prevent the life-threatening complications of botulism.

2. How to Prevent Infant Botulism

Infant botulism is rare but it is a serious condition resulting from exposure to C. botulinum toxins. You can take the following precautions to prevent infant botulism:

Precautions

Descriptions

Keep honey away

Do not offer honey to your baby, especially wild or raw honey, which is a potential source of bacterial spores.

Cook canned food

Reduce the risk of botulism when canning food at home. Pressure-cook your home-canned food to prevent contamination with botulinum spores. Boil home-canned foods for ten minutes before serving.

Store foods safely

Throw away any food that may already be spoiled. Discard bulging or suspicious food containers.

Avoid exposure to dust or soil

Dust or Soil is potentially contaminated with C. botulinumspores. These spores may be inhaled from circulating air, especially in California, Pennsylvania, and Utah, where there are high botulinum spore counts in the soil. Exposure to spores from contaminated soil is also most likely where soil is usually disturbed, such as agricultural areas or near construction sites.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Babies Eat Baked Goods Made with Honey?

Baked products that contain honey should not be given to babies. Botulism spores are not killed even with high temperatures, so cooked or baked foods containing honey should be considered off limits to babies.

2. Are Corn Syrup and Molasses Safe for Baby under 12 Months?

They may also contain botulism spores. These products are usually not pasteurized or processed to protect against harmful bacteria. Although infant botulism is quite rare, it is best to avoid it by delaying your decision to introduce it to your baby's diet.