When Is It Safe to Give Honey to My Baby?

The Short Answer from a pediatrician

Q.: When is it safe to give honey to my baby?

A.: Honey is a tasty natural sweetener, but it isn’t safe to give to your baby if she is less than 1 year old.

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This sweet amber treat may contain spores from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. While not a problem for those of us with more mature digestive tracts, in babies, the spores can cause botulism.

It’s important to note that botulism is rare, but when it occurs, it can sometimes be life-threatening. It affects nerve function and can cause weakness and paralysis. Symptoms of botulism in infants can include constipation, difficulty sucking and a weakened cry.

I generally recommend avoiding all honey (processed or raw) for babies, even if honey is an ingredient in baked and processed foods. This is because Clostridium botulinum spores are relatively heat-resistant.

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— Pediatrician Kimberly Churbock, MD

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