Is honey good for babies? Or it unsafe? The fact is, both of these are true statements. Using honey for babies below one year of age can be dangerous. It can result in a medical condition known as infant botulism.
This condition is called by the Clostridium botulinum spores that are abundant in honey and honey products. After consumption, these spores turn into bacteria, which can be harmful to the human body. It can lead to severe muscle weakness(1).
Did you know that in the ancient world, honey was considered a divine and godly substance?
Seventy percent of the babies that end up getting infant botulism could die. They need ventilation for an average of twenty-three days. Some babies might have to stay hospitalized for over forty-four days. Less than two percent of the babies can end up dying due to the condition.
Honey may result in weakness and lethargy in the children. Another symptom that may occur is constipation. Usually, it occurs in babies less than six months of age(2).
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However, the are multiple benefits of honey for babies over twelve months is beneficial. It contains modest amounts of vitamin C and the B vitamins. At the same time, it is rich in enzymes, amino acids, and minerals.
These components can help nourish the growth and development of the baby. At the same time, antioxidants present in honey can boost the natural immune system of babies.
Honey for babies can also provide a soothing feeling for cough. Honey for babies cough treatment can coat the throat, reducing the symptoms. All these make honey for babies over 12 months of age, an effective homemade remedy.
Honey for Babies
There are many ways to introduce honey to a baby. Some of the recommended methods are as follows.
- Do not rush in with the intake of honey. You may begin by incorporating honey in the favorite foods of babies. You may add small amounts of honey with new foods.
- One prominent method is called the four-day-wait method. This approach is best to check if your child reacts to honey. Give honey to a baby above one year of age and wait for four days. If there is no adverse reaction, then you may add honey to different foods to be given to the baby. However, if there is any reaction, the pediatrician must be contacted immediately.
- You may mix the honey in the baby’s oatmeal. Similarly, you may give them honey spread on toast for breakfast. Another option is to mix honey with your baby’s favorite yogurt. You may squeeze honey in homemade lemonade. Additionally, honey acts as a great substitute to maple syrup for pancakes and waffles.
[Also Read: How to Cure Pacifier Rash in Babies]
Substitute Sugar with Honey
Another method is to use honey is to substitute it with sugar. Instead of using sugar, you may use honey in the recipes. Add half a cup of honey for every cup of sugar that you previously used for baking. Make sure that you reduce other liquids used to one-fourth of a cup for every cup of honey that you use in a mixture.
Moreover, you may add one-fourth teaspoon of baking soda to every cup of honey to reduce acidity. Furthermore, you must reduce your oven temperature to 25-degree Fahrenheit. You may also check carefully that the baked items don’t turn brown.
For mothers, it is recommended that they may continue to feed their child as per routine incase of infant botulism. However, as mentioned before, Infant botulism can be a severe issue.
It can result in death if not treated properly. Moreover, honey may result in aggravation of any other disease that your child is facing.
[Also Read: Benefits of Using Lavender Oil for Babies]
An added issue is that if the child has juvenile diabetes, the baby can increase blood glucose levels too. It is highly recommended to consult a pediatrician regarding when and how to start giving honey to your child.
Honey Provides a natural health booster for babies who are more than a year old. Using honey water for babies can be especially useful in boosting their health with antioxidants.
However, the same honey can prove fatal for a child who is less than a year old. It is recommended that you consult the doctor. If the doctor gives you a green signal, honey can become one of the most comfortable and most effective remedies for your child.
It is preferable to ensure that you consult the doctor regarding the best dosage for your child. Some authorities like Food and Drug Administration and USDA does not recommend honey for children less than two years of age.
[Read: Probiotics for Babies]
1. Why Is Honey Bad for Babies?
Babies are in the process of developing their immune and digestive systems. Exposing them to honey can result in a condition called infant botulism, which can be fatal.
2. Can Honey Be Added with Essential Oils for Babies?
You may add essential oil to honey while feeding babies over two years of age. These children have developed their proper immune system, which allows them to accept the oil intake and honey.
3. Which Honey Is Best for Babies?
For children over the age of two years, it is recommended to use manuka honey or any other raw honey. For children younger than this, use processed and reduced honey.