It has always been customary to give babies pacifiers or bottles with honey, even placing honey on the mother’s nipple so that the sweet taste attracts the little ones, but this can be very dangerous. There are several reasons why honey should not be given to babies, and one of them is that it contains a bacteria that can cause botulism in children under 1 year of age.

Why shouldn’t babies be given honey?

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Honey is a very healthy natural food, not so for babies under 1 year old. These little ones still do not have a fully developed and strong digestive system to cope with the bacteria that this food contains.

Clostridium botulinum bacteria

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Honey can contain a bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum. If these spores enter a baby’s still immature digestive system, they can germinate and cause a rare disease.


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Botulism is a rare disease caused by toxins from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

Some symptoms of botulism in infants and children are:

Muscle weakness and paralysis
Vomiting and diarrhea
Respiratory problems
Difficulty sucking
Strange jaw
Tiredness and drowsiness
It should be taken into account that this is a very serious disease, in some cases, it can even be fatal.

Cooked honey or foods processed with honey

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Although some people may think that cooking honey (for example, making it into a dessert) is safer, this is a mistake. The heat can kill the toxins, but not the spores, they are much more resistant.

As for foods processed with honey. For example, cereals. These are safe because they have been processed at much higher temperatures than in a home oven, killing toxins and spores.

After the 1st year of age

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From the first year of age, babies can already eat honey without any risk. This is so because your digestive system and intestines have already fully matured to deal with these bacteria, preventing them from growing and developing.

The bacterial flora has already developed in its digestive tract that will not allow the honey spores to develop.

Can nursing mothers eat honey?

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Knowing the dangers of honey for babies, many nursing mothers decide not to consume this food themselves for fear of affecting their babies with their milk.

This is just a myth. Adults can eat honey without any risk. In the case of nursing mothers, they will not pass the bacteria to their babies, so there is nothing to worry about.

At what age can babies start eating honey?

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As we have already seen, babies can safely begin eating honey after 1 year of age.

Actually, since 6 months, their digestive system is maturing so they could eat honey without being affected, but it is best to wait until the 1st year to make sure that it is fully mature and there is no risk.

Likewise, honey is not recommended for children because it has a high sugar content, affecting their body weight and promoting cavities.


Image Source: Unspalsah