baby

There's a very important reason you should not feed your baby honey.

Honey is a delicious, sweet and natural food full of nutritional value, so at face value it seems like a valuable addition to your child’s diet.

But did you know you shouldn’t feed it to babies?

Mamamia spoke to paediatric and women’s health dietitian Kathleen Halliday to find out why.

Why shouldn’t babies eat honey?

Honey may contain spores called clostridium botulinum that can germinate in a baby’s digestive system and cause botulism, a rare but serious illness that can cause paralysis.

Kathleen explains it is caused by nerve toxins made by bacteria and can result from eating foods that contain this toxin-producing bacteria.

“Infant botulism occurs when an infant ingests the spores of the botulinum bacteria that grow in the intestine and produce the toxin,” she explains. “The spores can be found in dust and soil, and raw honey has been shown to cause infant botulism.”

Older children and adults are not usually affected because they have natural defences in the gut, but babies under 12 months do not have this.

What are the symptoms of botulism?

Kathleen says the symptoms of infant botulism include “constipation, loss of appetite, weak suck, weak cry and muscle weakness including poor head control”.

If your baby shows any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.

At what age is honey considered ‘safe’ for children?

Paediatricians and dietitians recommend avoiding giving honey to babies less than 12 months of age as well as taking care when preparing, handing and storing solid foods for babies.

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
00:00 / ???