Giving honey to babies is not recommended. This is because giving honey to children under 1 year can cause health problems, ranging from tooth decay to serious poisoning.
Some parents believe that giving honey to babies can help prevent disease and increase endurance. In fact, giving any type of honey to children under 1 year is very risky for their health.
Adverse Effects of Honey on Infants
Never give any honey to children who are not yet one year old. If you consume honey, your baby is at risk of experiencing the following health problems:
Honey poisoning or botulism
Honey contains the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In children aged 1 year and above, this bacterium is safe for consumption. But for children under 12 months, the bacteria in honey can cause serious poisoning called botulism. This happens because children aged 1 year and under do not have the immune system and a strong digestive system to fight the bacteria.
Although classified as a rare disease, botulism can be fatal and life threatening. Clostridium botulinum bacteria can attack the baby’s nervous system, make his muscles become weak or even paralyzed, and threaten his respiratory system.
Mother needs to be aware of some of the symptoms of botulism in babies, which are difficult to defecate, look weak, difficult to breathe and swallow, and cry is not as loud as usual. This condition must be treated immediately to avoid fatal complications.
Another reason why honey should not be added to baby food and drinks is because honey is high in sugar and can damage new teeth.
Another impact of giving honey to babies is to get them accustomed to sweet taste. As a result, he will constantly want sweet foods, and reject other foods that taste less sweet.
This risks causing children to suffer from being overweight or obese as adults, as well as increasing the risk for suffering from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, to cancer.
The Right Time to Introduce Honey to Children
Honey can be given to children if they are more than 1 year old. You can add a little honey to your baby’s food and drinks, for example by rubbing honey on bread or mixing honey with warm milk.
Give the dish to the Little One only, then wait 4 days before giving it again. Observe whether he likes it or not, and whether there are symptoms that appear after he took it.
Baby food products that contain honey, such as baby cereals, are safe for consumption even if the child is not 1 year old. This is because the bacteria contained in honey have died due to the heating process. But if you are worried about its safety, you can consult with your pediatrician first.
To avoid botulism or other health problems due to honey, children under 1 year of age are not recommended to consume honey. As a natural sweetener for complementary foods for babies aged 6 months and above, Mother can use fruit juice.