When to start Honey to the baby?
Honey should never be given to a baby who is under the age of 12 months. The pediatrician advice and inform parents to wait for 12 months to start honey for your baby.
Reason is honey may contains spores of bacteria that is known as bacterium Clostridium. The bacteria can germinate in a baby’s immature digestive system of baby below the age of one year. This can cause infant botulism, which is very rare but potentially fatal illness.
What is infant Botulism?
Botulism is a rare and very infrequent disease but it is highly fatal disease. This is caused by a toxin produce by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Rare possibility arises if by chance honey is given to baby before they attain age of 12 months, which may very rarely lead to the Botulism.
As per European Journal of Epidemiology of November 1993 in which it is mentioned Botulism spores are found in soil, dust and honey. The adult or baby over the age of one year take honey likely chance is they have ingested the spores but they are almost never affected. If honey is given to the infant below the age of one year and if they swallow the spores. The spores may germinate in baby immature digestive system. This will result in producing toxin known as botulinum toxin. As per their finding they reveal this may have occur even in case when only pacifier is sweetened with honey.
We have to understand this and this do not mean honey available are contaminated. The bacterial spores of Clostridium botulinum are harmless to the children who are above the age of one year and in adults. The microorganism normally found in intestine will keep away bacteria from growing in the gut. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) refer AAP Pediatrician hand book states “Unpasteurized or Raw honey should be avoided at all cost, if infant is younger than 12 months“
Infant Botulism symptoms
Although around the world incidence of infant botulism is rare but still honey should not be started to baby before they attain the age of a year. If by chance baby fell victim, will be presenting various symptoms which includes:
- feeding will be improper and inadequate
- sluggish or lethargic
- a weak but continuous cry
Common & wrong thought about Honey for babies
Overall in general, many people feel and understand honey for babies is good at all ages and it has no real danger or threat. From centuries especially in SARRC countries and Middle East, where we know honey has been given to babies below the age of one year.
In certain cases they gave a drop of honey to newborn, later stages start regular honey usage. Around the world in many cultures they give honey to babies from the day one baby. Later on they incorporate honey as regular baby diet. Still we insist and request parents / care giver of newborn and babies under the age of 12 months kindly avoid giving honey to babies.
In the above paras we have briefly outlined a few facts about honey and the possible risk of Honey usage in babies under the age of 12 months. Though still botulism is very rare in babies under the 12 months, but if happened than it very fatal.
In this regard kindly consult your baby pediatrician and follow his / her advice and guidelines.
Article written by Mahmood Hussain for Baby First