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Baby's health

14th Feb 2024

This why babies shouldn’t have honey until they’re over the age of one

Jody Coffey

HONEY

When a baby starts weaning around the six-month mark, finding flavours and textures they like is all trial and error.

Honey, while it may be a guaranteed winner for older children, should not be fed to babies under the age of one.

The consistency of honey can range from thin and runny to thick and creamy, often used as a drizzle over meals to sweeten them.

For this reason, some parents may believe this is the perfect weaning food for their baby or remedy to soothe a cough, but it should be avoided.

If an infant consumes honey, they can be at risk of developing botulism.

According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, botulism is a “rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves and causes difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis, and even death”.

The botulism toxin is made by ‘Clostridium botulinum’ and sometimes ‘Clostridium butyricum and Clostridium baratii bacteria’.

Honey is at risk of being contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland echoing the advice that infants under the age of one year should not be fed honey or have it added to their food.

These bacteria are harmless to older kids and adults because their more mature digestive systems can move toxins through the body before they cause harm.

Infants are unable to do this yet, so botulism usually affects babies who are younger than six months old.

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