I've heard that I shouldn't feed my baby honey. Is this true?
It's true that honey should not be fed to infants younger than 1 year old. Clostridium bacteria that cause infant botulism usually thrive in soil and dust. However, they can also contaminate certain foods — honey in particular. Infant botulism can cause muscle weakness, with signs like poor sucking, a weak cry, constipation, and an overall decreased muscle tone (floppiness).
Parents can reduce the risk of infant botulism by not introducing honey or any processed foods containing honey (like honey graham crackers) into their baby's diet until after the first birthday. Light and dark corn syrups are thought by some to also contain botulism-causing bacteria, but no proven cases of infant botulism have been attributed to ingesting these products. However, check with your doctor before giving these syrups to an infant.
As kids get older, their bodies are better able to handle the bacteria.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2013
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|Zero to Three Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the health and development of infants and toddlers.|
|U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) The USDA works to enhance the quality of life for people by supporting the production of agriculture.|
|Feeding Your 8- to 12-Month-Old At this age, babies start to explore table foods.|
|Feeding Your 1- to 3-Month-Old Whether you've chosen to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, your infant will let you know when it's time to eat.|
|Feeding Your 4- to 7-Month-Old How can you tell if your baby is ready for solids? Learn how and when to get started.|
|Feeding Your Newborn How you feed your newborn is the first nutrition decision you will make for your child. Take a closer look at these guidelines for breastfeeding and bottle-feeding so you can make an informed choice.|
|Infant Botulism Infant botulism can occur when a newborn ingests bacteria that produce toxins inside the body. It's very rare and most babies who do get botulism recover fully.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2016 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com