Yum, Yum! Is it Safe to Give My Baby Honey?

Remember when you were pregnant, and it seemed like there was a never-ending list of things you weren’t allowed to eat? Sushi, lunchmeat, soft cheeses… the list went on and on. But then, you finally had your baby—and you thought for sure you were past the list of non-consumables.

Not so fast!

For the record, you are totally welcome to have all the sushi, lunchmeat and soft cheeses your heart desires! Go for it! But there are still a few things your baby should probably be avoiding. For safety.

High on that list is honey.

Yep, you read that right. Giving your baby honey is a bad idea. We know it seems safe enough, and honey has so many great uses, like being a natural sweetener, and working great as a treatment for coughs. So it makes sense you might want to give some to your baby.

But hold off!

Just like so many of those things you were advised to avoid during pregnancy, there is a small risk that honey could make your baby very, very sick. This is because honey sometimes contains the spores of a bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum. This bacterium can cause baby botulism; a scary form of food poisoning for little ones to get. If your infant contracts botulism, it can be fatal.

Signs of botulism in infants can include constipation, muscle weakness, trouble sucking, and crying. If your baby recently had honey by accident and you are noticing some of these signs now, call your pediatrician immediately.

Waiting until your baby is a year old, and has a stronger/more developed digestive system, can reduce this risk. To most children over the age of one, Clostridium Botulinum is harmless; their little guts have a buildup of microorganisms that keep the baby botulism from growing. But during that first year of life, you should be diligent about avoiding honey. That means checking labels, knowing that plenty of food items may contain honey as a sweetener or additive.

In the meantime, your baby is still in a stage of learning all about new foods. He or she is getting plenty of new flavors, and is enjoying the fresh and exciting options you are already offering. So don’t worry—they aren’t missing out on honey just yet. And it will be all the more exciting when they turn one and you are able to introduce it—in moderation, of course.

Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general informational basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.