Honey Should Not be Fed to Infants Under 1 Year of Age
Your baby's first year is an exciting time, and part of the fun of raising a new-born is being able to introduce them to all the great foods and textures available to us. You may be thinking about introducing honey into their diet early but we’re here to tell you that you should hold off until they’re at least 1 year old.
We all know that honey tastes amazing. As a great alternative to plain sugar, honey offers numerous health benefits. Unfortunately for your baby though, honey may contain spores of bacteria that, though harmless to adults and children over one, can make them seriously ill!
When one hears that honey should not be given to an infant, it’s easy to assume that it is to avoid a choking hazard or a potential allergy. As long as you’re keeping a close watch over your baby while they eat it and have tested to make sure they’re not allergic, they should be okay, right? Wrong!
Babies immune and digestive systems are not fully developed, which makes them more likely to fall ill from various bacteria that would be harmless to us. In the case of honey, it may contain spores of bacteria which can cause infant botulism. Infant botulism is a rare but serious condition of the gastrointestinal system where spores grow and multiply in an infant’s intestines and can produce a dangerous toxin.
In order to avoid the possibility of infant botulism, avoid giving honey to your baby in any form, be it raw, pasteurized, or even in baked goods.
Signs & Symptoms
If you mistakenly gave your infant honey they’ll likely be fine but it’s a good idea to observe them carefully in order to spot any potential symptoms of botulism.
The first sign that is normally noticed is constipation which may be accompanied by weakness, difficulty feeding, and/or floppy movements. It is important that you seek medical attention immediately if you suspect your infant might have infant botulism!
Symptoms of botulism may not become apparent until up to 14 days after exposure but typically, signs will start to show within 12 to 36 hours. Some of the symptoms may be mistakenly attributed to conditions such as meningoencephalitis or sepsis, so be sure to let your baby’s doctor know if they may have consumed honey.
Honey is a tasty treat for young ones and adults alike and with its many uses and beneficial effects, it’s easy to see how one might want to just put it on everything! Hold off on giving it to your infant until they’ve reached 1 year of age, just in case. Before long, your child will be able to indulge in a great new treat; Honey!