Is Honey Unsafe For Babies?

Most people have heard that there's a potential problem with giving honey to young babies, but they don't know exactly what the problem is. Doctors will advise pregnant women, not to eat honey during pregnancy. And they even tell them not to give honey to their children until they're at least a year old.

Honey is a natural product that is very healthy for people. Unfortunately, there have been some cases of a very serious illness that was traced to honey.

It's called "infant botulism", which is actually a type of food poisoning caused by a bacterium.

The bacterium forms spores which can start producing a poisonous toxin in the baby's intestines. This toxin is called botulin.

These bacteria are harmless to older kids and adults because their digestive systems can move the spores through the body before they cause any harm.

Babies can't handle the spores yet because their digestive systems aren't that developed. So when an infant ingests them, the bacteria germinate, multiply, and produce the toxin.

A baby who ingests this "toxin" can experience various muscles to be paralyzed. Symptoms of this paralysis may include, lack of facial expression poor sucking, a weak cry, and irritability.

The most dangerous thing that could occur would be for the babies' diaphragm muscle becoming paralyzed. The baby would then have great difficulty breathing. This would require an emergency trip to the hospital.

Some areas of the country have a higher concentration of "botulism spores" due to the soil. The flowers and plants that bees feed on, grows in that soil.

Honey is mostly consumed in a raw form and is usually not pasteurized, sterilized or radiated, but even pasteurized honey can contain bacteria and is not recommended for children under the age of 12 months.

Although "infant botulism" is very rare, it's better to be safe than sorry. This is the only reason, doctors tell parents and caretakers, not to give honey to babies less than one year old.

While the incidence of "botulism poisoning" in infants by contaminated honey is very rare, doctors still advise women not to use honey. You'll need to use your own judgment and comfort level when making the decision to introduce honey into your baby's diet.

There are many who don't believe that honey is a danger to infants. Honey has been fed to babies under 12 months old for centuries. Many cultures continue to give babies honey, from birth into the early stage of their diets.

A pregnant mom can safely eat honey with no danger to the fetus. No real threat exists from the mom eating honey or foods that contain honey. As an adult, her digestive tract is acidic enough, and will prevent a botulinum spore from growing; therefore, no toxin will be produced.

Author's Bio: 

Steve is a Naturopath, researcher, author and health consultant. Discover other helpful information about herbs, vitamins, drug interactions, parasites and much more at: