Newborn Care: Is Honey Safe For Babies?

Feeding honey to children can be dangerous for their health. A special bacteria present in honey can cause fatal disease to the infant.

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograUpdated at: Feb 17, 2020 15:54 IST
Newborn Care: Is Honey Safe For Babies?

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Newborn baby care at home: In some Indian families, it is a custom to feed the newly-born with honey! But is it safe for the baby? Some people consider it as an omen for a new life, while some consider it as a home recipe to keep the baby healthy. But most people do not think how safe honey is for a toddler. According to science, feeding honey to a child (younger than 1 year) can be dangerous. The reason for this is a special bacteria present in honey, which can spoil the health of the child.

Humans started using honey (approx) 5000 years ago. Since then, honey is considered to be an excellent Ayurvedic medicine, which is full of natural antioxidants. There are many health benefits of eating honey, due to which in Ayurveda it is considered very beneficial food. But for a child (younger than 1 year) honey intake can be dangerous. Let us tell you the reason behind this.

Honey contains dangerous bacteria

Honey is harmful to infants because it contains a special bacterium, which is called 'Clostridium or Clostridium botulinum'. It is a bacterium that grows rapidly and produces a certain type of toxic (poisonous) substance, known as 'botulinum'. Since the immune system of small infants does not develop, the body of young infants cannot fight against this bacteria. Once the baby reaches the digestive system, these bacteria can cause great harm to the body.

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Honey can be fatal for your baby

These harmful bacteria present in honey can damage the baby's digestive system. Due to this, they may have a disease named infant botulism. Sometimes this disease can be so dangerous that the baby may have trouble breathing or his body may become weak. In severe conditions, this disease can also kill the baby.

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What are the symptoms of infant botulism?


Usually, the first symptom of constipation appears after the disease is affected by bacteria. Apart from this, some other symptoms can also indicate this disease:

  • Baby crying all the time and not being silent even after trying.
  • Problems in the abdomen of the baby. When this happens, the baby will move his hand repeatedly on the stomach and cry continuously.
  • The child does not drink milk and does not suck milk even after placing its mouth in the breast.
  • The body of the child begins to weaken rapidly and the weight decreases continuously.
  • In severe condition, the baby's eyelids fall and the eyes begin to sink.
  • The infant appears severely tired and weak.

Honey after 1 year?

It usually takes 1 year for a newborn baby to develop its immune system. Mother's milk protects the baby's body before the complete 1 year. Mother's milk acts as an immune system for the baby's body and protects it from harmful bacteria, viruses, and infections. That is why doctors believe that for at least 6 months, the infant should be fed only breast milk. Apart from this, no external diet should be given to him. After the age of 1, the baby's immune system develops, then you can give him honey. But keep in mind that children under 3 years of age should not give honey in excessive amounts.

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