Botulism: When Babies Can Eat Honey?



Babies and honey should never come together. The reason for this is the presence of a self-moving bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum, which can lead to the secretion of neurotoxin botulinum in the baby’s immature digestive tract. Do you know why honey and babies should not come together? So what does botulism mean? Honey is one of the healthiest and most nutritious food types in the world with its uniquely sweet taste. Wouldn’t our grandmothers put our soothers a little honey and give us to make us happy?



All of this may be true. However, scientific studies have shown that this is a dangerous thing. Doctors never recommend giving honey to babies under 12 months under any circumstances. People have been eating honey for thousands of years. Natural and nutritious food. It has a lot of benefits and is very famous. Since ancient Egypt, honey has become a material found in every recipe. The reason for this is the various features and sweetener it contains. Unfortunately, this natural product also contains a self-acting bacterium called ‘clostridium botulinum’. This bacteria releases a neurotoxin, which can be very dangerous for babies under one year old.

The reason is simple: a baby’s intestinal microbiota is still immature. For this reason, the spores of this bacterium can easily multiply in their intestines. Then they start secreting botulinum toxins. This substance is considered one of the deadliest substances known today. This is called baby botulism. This type of botulism basically affects children under 12 months and can be lethal. However, after turning one year old, it does not affect the same way. The reason for this is that natural defense mechanisms are developed and they can prevent the growth of this bacteria.

Honey, Babies, and Botulism


Botulism is a disease caused by a bacterium called clostridium botulinum. Since their immune systems are not fully developed yet, babies are especially sensitive to these bacteria. Clostridium botulinum is a bacillus naturally found in powder. So it can be found in all kinds of food, plants, and products of animal origin. These bacteria are organized in spores and can stay asleep until they find the ideal conditions for reproduction and growth.



It is especially found in home-made preserves as it prefers low oxygen environments. However, it usually does not tolerate acidic ones. Also, it cannot develop very well in solutions with high sugar density. For this reason, he usually sleeps in honey and waits for ideal conditions for breeding. Therefore, when a baby younger than 12 months eats honey, the sugar in this nectar is diluted in its gastric juices. This is because it is still a low-oxygen and low-acid environment.

That is why bacillus finds ideal conditions to start breeding in such an environment and secretes botulinum toxins. It then reaches the neuromuscular ends through the bloodstream and can lead to baby botulism. This is a very dangerous condition that requires immediate hospitalization.

Symptoms of Botulism


Baby botulism affects the nervous system. It can manifest itself with a wide variety of symptoms. It usually occurs 12-48 hours after contact with bacteria. The most common symptoms are:



  • Difficulty in slow breathing or exhalation
  • Constipation
  • General weakness
  • A weak cry
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased reflex arc
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Drooping eyelids
  • A general collapse
  • Eating very slowly
  • In extreme cases: Paralysis in the body, arms, legs or respiratory system.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Botulism


If you observe the obvious signs of botulism, you should take your baby to the nearest emergency room immediately. Due to the severity of this disease, the baby will need to be hospitalized. The pediatrician will consider the symptoms that their parents tell him to determine if the child has botulism. They will most likely perform a stool test to check for the presence of botulinum toxin.

Likewise, it is important to underline that it is imperative to be hospitalized immediately in baby botulism. Studies have proven that this disease affects the nervous system and can lead to a breakdown of the respiratory system. For this reason, it is imperative that the baby is hospitalized and kept under constant observation.



The success of treatment depends on the diagnosis and timely administration of botulinum antitoxin. In the most severe cases, mechanical ventilation or intravenous feeding may even be required for the baby. In most cases, baby botulism disappears within a few weeks or months, as long as the baby is treated immediately. Only in very severe cases, the activation of the toxin causes death as a result of the collapse of the respiratory tract.

Is Honey the Only Food That Causes Neonatal Botulism?


Honey is not the only food that causes baby botulism. In fact, as we mentioned above, the bacteria responsible for this condition is common in nature. Therefore, it is very difficult to find out what the source of sports is. Naturally, the only carrier of bacteria is not honey. Indeed, the botulism bacteria live in the dust and spreads through the dust moving in the air. Therefore, a baby can easily absorb this.



That’s why doctors recommend avoiding putting babies in environments with a lot of dust. It would also be best to keep them away from environments where people carry dusty or muddy things. Because of the severity of botulism and the elimination of this bacterium, you should be wary of this bacillus outbreak to avoid contamination and even possible epidemics. To this end, the World Health Organization works to ensure safety and support surveillance, screening, risk assessment, and disease limitation.

As you can see, although outbreaks of botulism are rare, they always have urgency and priority for public health. Local administrators should determine as quickly as possible whether the outbreak occurred naturally, by accident or independently of all of this. This is the only way to prevent these cases from reappearing and to effectively cure those who are already sick.

Recommendations on Botulism


The main measure to avoid botulism caused by honey is to keep your baby away from honey until they are one year old. However, you should also consider that the disease can occur due to other infections. Also, since there is no vaccine developed against this bacterium, it is always the best measure to prevent it.

To do this, pediatricians recommend:

  • Never give honey to any baby younger than 12 months old.
  • This bacteria can also be found in corn syrup. Do not give corn syrup to babies.
  • Do not let the baby be exposed to dust or mud. These substances may contain bacteria.
  • Boil homemade jars at high temperatures.
  • Maintain proper hygiene habits.


Babies should not eat honey. Despite its taste and wonderful nutritional properties, children under one year old have a high risk of developing botulism. This is because the immune systems are not yet sufficiently developed. Therefore, they are vulnerable to microorganisms that cause this disease. Finally, you should be careful and remember that honey is not the only substance that carries botulism. Therefore, maintain proper hygiene habits and listen to experts ‘advice to protect your babies’ health and safety.

When Honey Is Good For Babies?


Honey is one of the most unique flavors produced by nature. We cannot conclude by counting the benefits of this food, which is a complete healing source in terms of minerals and vitamins it contains. But experts warn! Mothers attention! Honey given to babies before the age of 1 causes a disease called botulism in babies. So when should babies be given honey? Are there any side effects? Here I have compiled all the curiosities about honey given to babies for you!

The transition to solid food should be gradual in baby feeding. Experts say that it is right to feed babies only with breast milk for the first 6 months, and then gradually switch to supplementary food. However, some additional foods should not be rushed. One of them is honey. The reason why honey is not fed in babies between 0-1 years old is the process of making honey.



When bees make honey, they leave a bacterium called “clostridium botulinum” to honey. This bacterium can cause a type of poisoning called botulism. Botulism is a health problem that affects the nervous system of infants and can cause death, although it is rare. The reason that Clostridium botulinum bacteria is not dangerous for adults is that the digestive system is more developed and prevents poison. Since these structures are not yet developed in the digestive system of infants, they leave babies between 0-1 years vulnerable to bacteria.

Babies diagnosed with this condition usually need to be treated in the hospital for 45 days. For this reason, parents should behave consciously during the supplementary food period and introduce their babies with useful foods. The first sign of botulism is usually manifested as constipation. In addition to this, other symptoms are observed with low eyelids, inability to hold the head steady, feeling of weakness, constant sleep, difficulty breathing, swelling in the abdomen.

Honey has many benefits. If we count one of these: honey, which is less sweet than the sugar put on the table, helps to soften the bitter taste in food. It is also used in the treatment of cough. Hyperactive children, that is, children who love to move in place, can fall inside the house and cause minor injuries to their bodies. It is precisely at this point that honey comes to our rescue. If you rub the honey on the injured area, you can speed up the healing process. Honey also strengthens the immune system in children. It is also an effective food in terms of anemia, blood clotting, and stress reduction.

Why Are Babies Not Fed Honey?


Honey has been used for healing for thousands of years. Honey, which is a great alternative to sugar with its flavor, is extremely important for children’s sweet crises. Most of the time, mothers find it appropriate to feed their children with desserts they prepare with honey instead of granulated sugar. However, it is definitely not recommended for babies to meet honey before one year old. Okay but why?



While bees collect nectar to make honey, they can unconsciously collect the botulism bacteria. This substance can be noticed in some honey. This bacterium will not harm people over the age of 1 unless they are allergic to honey. However, because the digestive systems of babies under one-year-old are suitable for breast milk, they may experience problems due to this substance. Especially in the first 6 months when the baby is given honey, the probability of poisoning is very high. For the health of your babies, it is extremely important to get honey from their diet for the first year.

While raising children, especially the support of family elders is received. Seniors often love to practice what they learn from their own elders. Many family elders give sugar to the newborn baby. In addition, some people add honey to breast milk or formula foods of tiny babies. If you are strict as a parent in this matter; You will behave beneficially for the health of your little baby.

How to Understand Honey Allergy in Babies?


You should try the 4 days method when your baby is over 1 year old, as you apply it while giving your baby new foods before the age of one. The baby who is 1 year old should be given very little honey and it should be observed whether the child is allergic or not. When you give your child a new food, they should never meet different new food for 4 days. The same goes for the white of the egg. The white of the egg should also be given less to the child and the 4-day rule should be applied.



Honey is a very popular food, both medically and as part of our daily diet. While honey has some natural benefits, it is also possible for some babies to develop an allergic reaction to it. When honey is produced, it may be contaminated with bee pollen and pollen from other plants and trees, including:

  • buckwheat
  • tulips
  • sunflowers
  • eucalyptus
  • willow
  • oak

A baby who is allergic to pollen may also be allergic to some types of honey. In most cases, the allergen is caused by pollen rather than the honey itself.

Honey Allergy Symptoms


Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. However, contamination of honey is due to common pollen and other plant allergens. Honey allergy symptoms may resemble common pollen allergy symptoms, such as:

  • runny nose
  • sneeze
  • swelling
  • watery eyes
  • itchy throat
  • rash
  • hives
  • swelling on the skin


Symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the allergy. Contact with honey or skin can cause allergic reactions. In more serious cases, symptoms can include:

  • headache
  • wheezy
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fainting
  • irregular heartbeat
  • anaphylaxis

Best Baby Food Without Honey That You Can Buy Online


  • Serenity Kids Baby Food, Wild Caught Coho Salmon with Organic Butternut Squash and Beets, For 6+ Months, 3.5 Ounce Pouch (6 Pack) (Price: $23.95)


  • Happy Baby Clearly Crafted Stage 2 Variety Pack Organic Baby Food, 2 Flavor, 10 Pouches (Price: $17.98)


  • Beech-Nut Naturals Baby Food Spinach & Zucchini – 4oz (Pack of 6) (Price: $15.28)


  • Sprout Organic Stage 3 Baby Food Pouches, Meat Variety, 4 Ounce (Pack of 18) 6 of Each: Root Veg Apple w/ Beef, Creamy Veg w/ Chicken & Garden Veg Brown Rice w/ Turkey (Price: $33.99)


  • Gerber Organic 2nd Foods, Fruit & Veggie Variety Pack Pureed Baby Food, 3.5 Ounce Pouch, 18 Count (Price: $15.72)


Savaş Ateş

I like eating honey a lot. We have a huge interest in bees and how they make honey. I have visited honey farms. I have talked to a lot of honey sellers. I read a lot of books about them. I want to share my knowledge with you.

Recent Content