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Can I Feed My Baby Honey?

Can I Feed My Baby Honey?

I've heard that I shouldn't feed my baby honey. Is this true?
Cait

Yes, babies younger than 1 year old should not be given honey. Clostridium bacteria that cause infant botulism usually thrive in soil and dust. They also can contaminate some foods — honey, in particular.

Infant botulism can cause muscle weakness, with signs like poor sucking, a weak cry, constipation, and decreased muscle tone (floppiness).

Parents can help prevent infant botulism by not giving their baby honey or any processed foods containing honey (like honey graham crackers) until after their child's first birthday. Light and dark corn syrups might also contain botulism-causing bacteria, but a link hasn't been proved. Check with your doctor before giving these syrups to a baby.

As kids get older, they can have honey because their mature digestive systems move the Clostridium bacteria spores through the body before they can cause harm.

Reviewed by: Madhu Desiraju, MD
Date reviewed: 2018-10-01