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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. However, they can also contaminate certain 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 the child's first birthday. Light and dark corn syrups are thought by some to also contain botulism-causing bacteria, but a link hasn't been proved. Be sure to check with your doctor before giving these syrups to an infant.

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: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: January 2017

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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