Published: 05/30/2012 - Updated: 06/30/2016
Although it has beneficial properties for the body, accompanied by a delicious and natural taste, honey from bee, cane or corn, is a harmful element to the health of your baby. Avoid giving it until your baby has at least one year of age.
Honey can contain spores of a bacterium known as Clostridium botulinum. These spores can germinate in the immature digestive system causing an infant botulism, a rare and potentially fatal disease, which has already caused havoc in the world.
It is extremely important to pay attention and avoid compromising your baby's life; it is not uncommon for many new mothers at the first digestive problems or constipation of her child, wishing to use the laxative remedy of honey.
Other mothers impregnate with honey the baby's pacifier to calm him/her down, fall asleep or just give a flavor, as it were a prize. That’s why the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) spoke and said that honey and its derivatives "should not be ingested, either alone or as sweeteners in another product, for children under one year."
Remember, to safeguard the health of the babies, you should not cook any of their food with honey, not even a bread, a cake or other baked product, because although the toxin present in honey is heat sensitive, spores are very difficult to kill. As a result, even today there is a controversy among some who suggest that commercial foods such as cereals are safe because they are heated to a temperature high enough to kill the spores and other specialists argue otherwise.
With just a little, nothing happens
It is absolutely false that the disease of botulism can be prevented if we give the baby just little quantity of honey, since the spore can be found even in very small portions.
When clostridium botulinum spores access to the baby's intestines, they have a suitable space to live and produce toxins. In the case of an adult, stomach acid and beneficial bacteria that inhabit the intestine prevent these spores thrive and botulism is avoided.
But in the case of infants, the released toxins enter the blood; they attack the nervous system and the neuroparalytic disease occurs, that prevents normal movement of the muscles.
Lookout for symptoms
If your baby has eaten honey, no matter the amount, these are the signs or symptoms that must alert you:
- Lack of appetite
- Weak crying
- Lack of facial expression
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Jaw drop
- Muscle weakness
- Occasionally, respiratory failure
If you see several of these symptoms, do not hesitate to go urgently to a health center.
Do not forget that the process of introducing foods to infants is a gradual and incremental process, after meeting the six months. Postpone the intake of honey at least until age of 12 months. Then, you baby can enjoy all the benefits that honey can offer.