Answer To The Often Asked Question: Can Infants Have Honey
It is one of the most common questions from most first time parents that want to give honey to their babies. Can infants have honey? The problem is that there can be so much confusion going around on the Internet whether it will be safe to feed little ones with it or not. When deciding to give him honey or not, check out the following for what you need to know about babies and honey.
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Is Honey Safe For My Baby?
Honey and babies are a search term online because many new mothers are seeking information regarding the safety of feeding their little ones this wholesome and nutritious food. So the answer, it is unsafe for babies less than one year old to consume honey.
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While honey is good for the health, it also contains a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium can germinate in the weak and underdeveloped digestive system of infants, leading to infant botulism – a rare but fatal illness when left undiagnosed and untreated.
For children at least one year old and adults, the spores of the bacterium can pose no harm, but they can for infants, who have immature digestive systems.
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Older babies and adults have microorganisms on their tummies, and such can stop the bacterium from growing. Infants don’t.
So if your baby is less than 12 months old, do not feed him honey. Do not even cook with honey, even on puddings and breads and feed baby with it. The spores can be difficult to kill even if they’re heat sensitive.
Commercial foods with honey are safe to feed baby because they’ve been heat-treated and the process has eradicated the bacterium. Some of these foods include cereals with honey. In addition, the FDA has tested some commercial foods and found out that they contain no harmful bacteria.
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Some of these foods, such as dark or light corn syrup, are declared safe. But then again, it would be advisable to consult your doctor about the safest foods to give baby before feeding him.
Why Can’t Babies Have Honey?
He can start eating honey when he reaches his first birthday. Do not feed it to him before this time, or else he might suffer from botulism due to the bacterium spores that his undeveloped digestive system cannot tolerate.
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While honey is nutritious, it should not be given to infants even those claimed as they have been processed to kill the botulism-causing bacteria. Any process cannot guarantee its total elimination.
What Is Infant Botulism?
The condition is potentially fatal that occurs when baby has ingested the bacteria producing toxins in his body.
What are the symptoms of infant botulism? Some to watch out for include difficulty in breathing, constipation, muscle weakness, trouble sucking, weak cry and excessive drooling.
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When baby is showing signs of botulism, you should take him to the emergency room right away. You must also take a sample food that contains honey and show it to the doctor.
Don’t worry because botulism is treatable and your little one can recover from it provided that it is diagnosed and treated right away. The baby will need mechanical ventilation for breathing assistance during treatment.
I Am Breastfeeding. Will It Be Okay If I Consume Honey?
Upon learning when can babies have honey, you must also know if it would be safe that you consume honey while breastfeeding. While you should be aware of the dangers of feeding honey to baby, you also have to know for yourself if consuming it is harmful – and if it will lead to your infant suffering from botulism.
According to the experts, it is safe for breastfeeding mothers to consume honey, as it won’t be transmitted through nursing. But then, you must be careful. Wash your hands after eating honey to prevent its contact to the mouth of your little angel.
Honey and Babies: 3 Common Mistakes
- Never rub honey on your baby’s gums even if you believe that it is a natural remedy in relieving teething pain.
- Do not use honey to treat the cough of an infant less than one year old. It might lead to infant botulism. Also, remember that some cough syrups contain honey. Consult your doctor before giving cough medicine to your little one to stay on the right track.
- You should not coat his pacifier with honey just to make it enticing and sweet. It is a mistake that many new mothers make.
When baby is concerned, it is always best to play it safe. Always keep honey away from him until he turns one year old.
There you have what to know about can infants have honey. Again, never give him honey until he is one year old. Otherwise, he might contract botulism, which can be fatal when undiagnosed and untreated. Always be on the safe side on matters concerning baby’s health.
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