Many parents have heard that honey products can be dangerous for babies but don’t know the reason behind it. This article will help clear up the confusion for the parents, especially those that might’ve given honey to their baby and are now extremely worried.
If you give honey to your infant by mistake, there can be allergic reactions, so you should monitor your baby’s condition closely. Your baby may develop infant botulism 18 to 36 hours after eating honey. Some signs of infant botulism are:
- Loss of appetite
- Low head control
- Breathing problems
- Muscle weakness
- Weak cry
Babies less than a year old are more prone to falling victim to infant botulism. For more information, continue reading the article.
What happens if you give a baby Honey?
You have probably heard from pediatricians or doctors that honey is bad for babies, especially when they are less than twelve months old. When parents hear about infant botulism, they immediately become aware and stop giving their children honey.
However, accidents can happen; maybe you are eating out, and you order something that contains honey for your baby. When you realize that you’ve made a mistake, you would be tempted to call the doctor; however, there is no need to panic.
First, infant botulism is rare, and the United States has 250 cases annually. Only 15% of the cases occur due to honey consumption. The majority of the cases are in these states:
Nonetheless, C.botulinum has been found in about 25 % of honey products. The CDC also recommends that babies less than twelve months old avoid eating honey.
This means that the risk of getting botulism from honey is still low, especially if you follow the guidelines established by the CDC. It is also important for caregivers or parents to know the symptoms and signs of botulism.
Your baby can also become allergic to honey because of pollen. It is best to introduce your baby to honey slowly and monitor the progress. You can also alert your doctor after you’ve given honey to your baby, who will guide you and help you take the right course of action. Swift treatment is essential in this situation.
What is the difference between regular and raw honey?
Raw honey is not processed; it is just strained and stored in a container or a bottle. Once the honey is strained, it loses all its nutrients. This also means that raw honey has a far greater chance of causing botulism than regular honey.
On the other hand, regular honey goes through several stages and is heated, but these manufacturing processes vary from brand to brand. When the honey is heated, all the pollen is removed, and the enzymes are broken down.
However, this process doesn’t necessarily remove C.Botulinum. The bottom line is that parents should not give honey to their babies before their first birthday.
How much Honey can cause infant botulism?
Although only 25 % of honey-related products contain C.Botulinum, even a small quantity of honey can carry enough Botulinum to cause botulism. This happens because the C.Botulinum spores multiply once they are in the intestine.
This process of multiplication releases toxins that can cause botulism. However, once the baby is more than a year older, the digestive system matures and can suppress or kill the spores in the intestine before they become dangerous.
How do I know if my baby has botulism?
The symptoms of the disease are:
- Reduced weakness and limbs
- Breathing issues
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of head control
- Weak cry
Can babies have cooked Honey?
The cooking process can kill bacteria; however, C.botulinum can only be killed when exposed to extreme heat. Cooking cannot provide the heat necessary to kill the disease, so parents cannot give cooked honey to their babies.
What about Honey nut cheerios?
Unlike other commercially processed food or homemade foods, honey nut cheerios are processed at high heat and are less risky. However, as always, there are no guarantees; it is best to keep these products away from your baby and wait until he is at least a year old.
When can infants have Honey?
It is best not to give honey to babies before they turn a year old. This will enable the digestive system to mature. The acids in the digestive system are typically able to kill C.botulinum spores and stop them from multiplying and spreading infection.
As with other honey foods, it is best to introduce them slowly to the baby and wait for a couple of days, see if everything is fine or the baby has developed some allergy. Also, if your baby has gastrointestinal problems, it would be wise not to give him honey to eat until the issues subside.
Health benefits of Honey for babies
Once your baby is past the age of twelve months, he can eat honey, and you can also make it a regular part of his diet. Adding honey to the diet will provide several benefits to the baby, such as:
- Protecting the liver
- Providing antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins
- Helping in digesting food
- Soothing a sore throat, tooth, and stomach ache
- Helps heal allergies and asthma
How to add Honey to your baby’s diet safely?
Like other allergens, it is recommended to introduce honey to the baby’s diet slowly. Once you have added honey to the diet, you will need to monitor the baby’s progress and see any signs of allergy or illness.
Since pollen in the honey can cause allergy, the baby might be comfortable eating just a handful of honey varieties. One more thing you need to keep in mind is that honey is incredibly rich in sugar, so you should reduce the quantity before giving it to your baby.
Feeding your baby too much honey will lead to obesity and dental issues. However, honey is still healthier than most processed varieties of sugar.
Other foods to avoid for babies
Try to avoid giving your baby foods that are rich in saturated fat, such as cakes, biscuits, and crisps. Check the nutritional information before choosing a product.
Babies should avoid salt, as it is not healthy for their kidneys. Don’t add salt to cooking water or the food you’re preparing for the baby. You should also avoid gravy and stock cubes, as they are also rich in salt.
When you are cooking food for the plan, and you plan to give a small portion of it to your baby, avoid the following foods because they have a high salt content:
- Ready meals
Peanuts and Whole Nuts
Peanuts and whole nuts shouldn’t be given to kids below the age of five, as they can cause choking. However, you can give six-month-old baby peanuts and nuts to eat, as long as they are properly minced or grounded. A replacement for peanuts can be peanut butter; you can also give that to your child.
Some Varieties of Cheese
Cheese can be part of a healthy and stable diet, as it provides vitamins, proteins, and calcium. Babies can eat pasteurized cheese when they are six months old. Some cheeses that babies can eat are:
- Cream cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Cheddar cheese
Babies should avoid soft cheese such as camembert, brie, blue-veined cheese, and ripened goat milk cheese. Soft cheese may have a high content of bacteria, such as listeria. Some cheeses are also made with unpasteurized milk, but you should avoid such cheeses because of listeria. You should check the label and nutritional information before purchasing cheese.
Lightly cooked and raw eggs
Babies can start eating eggs after they are six months old; however, you need to ensure that the eggs have a red line marked on them; however, if you feed your baby eggs that don’t have a red line that you will need to cook them thoroughly. You should cook the eggs until both the yolk and white are solid.
The same is for duck, quail, and goose eggs; you should cook them thoroughly if they don’t have the red line on them. However, you need to avoid raw eggs and try not to add them to dishes meant for your baby.
Children below the age of five should not consume rice drinks as a replacement for formula, cow or, breastmilk. Rice drinks are generally rich in arsenic, also found in rice. Arsenic is also found in the environment and can be absorbed in food items and water.
Rice has a higher content of arsenic than grains; however, this does not make rice safer for your baby. The European Union that are strict levels of arsenic allowed in food, especially those that are made for kids. However, don’t be scared if your baby has had a rice drink; he is in no immediate danger.
This article will be incredibly helpful for you, especially if you think your baby has had honey recently. There is no need to panic; just discuss it with your doctor and follow the guidelines. Towards the end of this article, there is a list of other food items that babies should avoid, so go through them as well.