Can Babies Eat Honey?

In a previous blog post, 5 Reasons Why I Keep Honey in My Medicine Cabinet, I explored all the reasons why honey can be so beneficial in your daily life. Science has shown that honey can be better than many over the counter medicines for burns, sore throats, coughs, and upset stomachs! However, I’ve always heard that babies under the age of one year shouldn’t consume honey. Now that I am pregnant, I decided to dig a little further to learn more–is this a wive’s tale or solid advice?! 

Turns out, the recommendations do hold some weight.  While the risk is very low, babies under the age of one year that consume honey are at risk of contracting botulism, a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves and causes difficulty breathing and muscle paralysis.

Raw honey may contain a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum), which in the right environment can lead to botulism spores. The CDC explains this bacteria occurs naturally in many environments, and very rarely causes harm. Other places the spores may be found is in contaminated soil, dust, and home-canned goods. In order for the bacteria to survive, it produces spores which provide a sort of protective coating. Fortunately, if ingested, the Botulism spores rarely cause harm. It is only when the spores have a comfortable environment to grow in and multiply that the bacteria can affect nerves in the body, weakening muscles.  This condition is very rare in adults because most adults’ digestive systems are strong enough to defend against the botulism spores, preventing them from multiplying. But for infants it can be a different story. 

Though most cases of infant botulism are from contaminated dust and soil, doctors still recommend that parents avoid giving babies under the age of one raw honey, as their digestive systems are not quite strong enough to fend off the bacteria.  
The verdict is that though the risk is clearly very low, this is one recommendation that I will be following. (And y’all know no wants a honey-loving baby more than me)!  It is worth noting that doctors do not advise against eating honey while pregnant, and honey is not on the list of foods to avoid from the  Mayo Clinic and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  Plus, studies have found that by week 16 of pregnancy, a mother’s diet can be tasted by the baby via the amniotic fluid. You better believe this little guy is getting all the flavors of the honey rainbow! He will be primed for his first taste for his first birthday. Honey cake anyone?!


Are you are least 13 months of age and ready to try some of our honey?  Check out our online shop!

4 Comments

  • Laura @ The Pergola says:

    Congratulations! What a welcome surprise! Start shopping those toddler bees suits! 🙂

  • LOVE this, LOVE the newsletter! So excited about Baby Boy Moser-Chapman!!!

    Two stories:
    I would NOT take a paci as a baby, AND I was very colicky. My dad would put honey on my paci, I would suck it off, then literally spit/throw the paci at them when it was all gone! I still love honey to this day.

    Second story, I know someone who had botulism as an infant. She is now in her 20s & perfectly healthy, but she was in the NICU for several weeks. She did NOT get it from eating honey; there was a construction site down the road from their house, and the dirt was contaminated. It was pretty scary for her parents.

    Did I say how excited I am for baby?!?! Congratulations again!

    • Gina McCool says:

      Trinity,
      Thank you for all the love and support!
      Your dad got you started young on the honey addiction! That second story, wow,that is so scary! So glad to hear she recovered.
      Thank you for all the well wishes! -Tara

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