I've heard that I shouldn't feed my baby honey. Is this true?
It's true that honey should not be fed to infants younger than 1 year old. 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 an overall decreased muscle tone (floppiness).
Parents can reduce the risk of infant botulism by not introducing honey or any processed foods containing honey (like honey graham crackers) into their baby's diet until after the first birthday. Light and dark corn syrups are thought by some to also contain botulism-causing bacteria, but no proven cases of infant botulism have been attributed to ingesting these products. However, check with your doctor before giving these syrups to an infant.
As kids get older, their bodies are better able to handle the bacteria.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2010
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