Can a child consume honey?

Published on
Updated

in collaboration with

Olivia Beziat (Pediatric dietitian nutritionist)


Honey, a 100% natural product, but not safe for the health of babies and small children! From what age can a baby eat it? Why you should not give it to children, what if your baby has consumed honey? We took stock from a dietician.

Honey, a 100% natural product, known for its health benefits, is nevertheless without risk. In fact, it can show a health hazard to young children and especially babies, because of the presence ofa poison. Therefore, it has no place in the diversity of babies’ food. Explanations.

No honey in food before 1 year

If your baby is under 12 months old, honey is available a microbiological hazardbecause it can contain spores, i.e. the dormant form of a toxin that is dangerous for a very young immune system like that of a baby“, referred to Olivia Beziat, dietitian nutritionist, before adding: “This powerful neurotoxin is secreted by a bacterium, Clostridium botulinumresponsible for a rare childhood disease, infant botulism. These spores are present in dust and some soils, and thus can be carried by bees and then end up in a jar of honey. he explained. If swallowed by the baby, the spores germinate, bacteria thrive in the gut and releases toxins.

Know that all natural honey, even labeled organic, is concerned and regardless of shape, origin, raw or cooked. The heat, moreover, does not make it possible to ignore the risk of botulism. According to Olivia Beziat: “Theis spores are resistant to heat, heating honey in your recipes, when preparing a compote or a cake is not enough. It takes a very high temperature process like industrial sterilization to destroy them in food, but this process will also remove all the valuable vitamins and properties of the honey.“.

In summary, no honey for a baby, ie from birth to 12 months ago, according to the official recommendations of ANSES (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety). An opinion shared by Dr. Pierre Popowski, homeopathic pediatrician in Paris.

What is infant botulism?

Baby botulism is a rare disease, a bacterium that affects the nervous system that can cause paralysis and is sometimes accompanied by severe breathing problems that require hospitalization. The symptoms are quite common at first, hence the difficulty in diagnosis: constipation, general fatigue, weak sucking reflex, then loss of head control, etc. However, rest assured, despite these alarming symptoms, fatal cases are extremely rare.

From what age you can give honey to your child

Over 12 months, the child’s immune response is considered sufficiently effective to allow it to eliminate germs on its own. “However, honey, although natural and rich in interesting properties, is a product that contains a lot of sugar, and it should be avoided until 3 years in children’s foods, even if it is organic, for health reasons. Therefore, it is not recommended to dip your baby’s pacifier in it so that he accepts it, so to speak, as well as adding it to his bottle.“, advises the specialist in child nutrition. We also do not give honey against cough to a child of this age. Over 3 years, always taking into account the sugars that make it up, you can offer small in a dairy product or in a slice of butter, so that the child can experience the taste of honey.

What to do if you accidentally give your baby honey?

infant botulism remains a rare disease. So in most cases, rest assured, nothing will happen. However, avoiding honey in the baby’s diet is a precautionary principle.
If your baby has eaten it, simply stop giving it to him and monitor his general condition for 12 to 36 hours after exposure to this food. According to the pediatrician, it is also cautious seek medical advice from your doctor doctor or pediatrician. And of course to consult, in case of doubt.

Breastfeeding and honey: what are the risks for my baby?

You like honey-based products and are you breastfeeding your baby? Do you usually taste or use it against cough or to sleep? So you’re wondering if there’s a risk that the toxin will pass through your breast milk and infect your baby? The answer of our two experts is formal: no the spores of Clostridium botulinum do not pass through the milk ducts and therefore in mother’s milk. So, good news, there is no danger in continuing to breastfeed, if you always drink honey or even different kinds of honey.

Can special baby biscuits containing honey be given before the age of one year?

Actually, there really is baby cereal or mini crackers labeled for babies under 12 months, sold in supermarkets or specialty stores, and contains breadI. The question arises whether or not to give it to your child. Asked about this point, our two experts want to be sure: These products are safebecause baby food regulations require extensive microbiological analysis to ensure the absence of Clostridium botulinum“. Tips you can follow without risk to give your children a taste of honey.

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