You want to do everything to perfection for your newborn. From old techniques to experimenting with new ones, you are always up for testing things that can benefit your baby’s health. However, you may be in doubt after giving your baby a taste of honey.
So, what happens now?
The first thing that you must remember is that you shouldn’t put things like honey in your baby’s mouth if he/she isn’t yet a year old. Honey has excess sugars and toxins that may cause intestinal infections. In case you have given the baby honey unknowingly, you need to be vigilant watching for a reaction. ,
Of course, taking care of this situation is still in your hands. So, brace up and read on.
Food and Babies
Babies are dependent upon you, especially when it comes to feeding. No surprises there, right? It’s expected that you would be extremely vigilant when feeding your baby. During the early days following birth, everything is more straightforward as breastfeeding and formula milk are the only two options. However, the baby eventually switches to solid foods and that’s where your real test begins.
Babies need food that is high in nutrition and lighter on the tummy, as the stomach and intestines are still too small to deal with heavier meals. Boiled potatoes, soft-boiled rice, baby foods, and different vegetable purees are ideal.
Babies happily consume sweeter foods. This is where honey comes in. While honey consumption has unlimited health benefits, if you are not taking your baby’s age into account, your good intentions will go down the drain. A baby must be at least 12 months old before you feed honey to him.
Feeding honey to your baby at an early age can result in infant botulism, which can cause a combination of baby issues.
Cooked Honey vs. Raw Honey
Raw honey has uncountable health benefits even though it’s not processed. This is a good thing that it is unprocessed as it keeps the nutrient concentration intact. But lack of processing also puts it at the risk of containing toxins that may cause infant botulism.
Usually cooking honey at a high temperature kills most bacteria, but the bacteria causing infant botulism is extremely resistant to heat. Even if you are cooking at above normal temperature, you can expect Clostridium Botulinum or C-botulinum spores (i.e., the bacteria responsible for infant botulism) not to be eliminated. So, even the cooked honey may have a hint of toxins left in it. Therefore, the safest approach is to avoid giving your newborn honey.
What Happens If You Give Honey to Your Baby?
If you accidentally ended up giving your baby honey, you need to keep your eyes open for any signs of reaction for the first 36 hours. The baby may develop subtle symptoms of infant botulism.
Infant botulism is a condition caused by bacterial infection. It directly affects the muscles, causing muscle weakness. In severe cases, it can result in paralysis.
The primary culprit behind this disease is the toxin called Clostridium Botulinum bacteria, which can cause a life-and-death condition for the baby.
Symptoms of Infant Botulism
Infant botulism has multiple severe symptoms, such as paralysis, breathing difficulties, a weaker cry, absence of proper vision, constipation, loss of head control, and loss of appetite.
Lack of breathing is due to the infection’s direct attack on breathing muscles. The weak cry is also due to problems breathing that don’t allow the babies to cry with full force. This is the most prominent and alarming sign so far.
Other than that, blurry vision and loss of head control also make it clear that your child is suffering from infant botulism and should receive urgent care.
Treatment of Infant Botulism
C. Botulinum is a rare yet deadly bacterium that must be removed from the baby’s body as soon as possible. The treatment of infant botulism must be in the intensive care unit.
Ideally, Doctors put the baby on a ventilator to fully monitor their condition and treat them better. Only immediate treatment can save the baby from an unfortunate outcome.
Can Babies Have Honey?
Babies can have honey if they are a year old. There are innumerable benefits of eating honey. You can let your baby eat honey separately or mix it with other things if he has started solid foods.
Other than infant botulism, the risks caused by honey are discussed briefly below.
Honey toxins cannot be tolerated by the baby’s small body. The immune system is unable to deal with such bacteria, and the baby suffers from an infection. Therefore, you should always avoid feeding your baby honey until he/she is old enough.
- Nausea and Vomiting
Like all food-borne diseases, the toxins in honey directly attack the baby’s stomach. This can lead to nausea and vomiting accompanied by a diarrhea-like condition. Such a condition should be quickly dealt with to remove any health risks to the baby.
- Upset Stomach
Infant botulism also spreads in the large intestine. Honey is heavy on the tummy, causing loose stools. This can lead to diarrhea, weakness, and even loss of immunity in the long term.
When Can Babies Have Honey?
Babies can have honey once they are older than 12 months. Before that, they do not bevelop develop their body enough to fight off the toxins in the honey.
You should wait until your baby is one-year-old to feed him/her, honey. After that age, honey has many health benefits.
Benefits of Honey
As mentioned earlier, there are health benefits of honey consumption, and some of those are shared below.
- A Healthier Alternative to Sugar: Refined sugar can lead to diseases and obesity. Honey is not merely a natural sweetener, but it keeps you healthy due to its rich nutrient content.
- Beneficial Enzymes: Enzymes are the natural catalyst that speeds up the body’s reactions. Their primary job is to break down the food into its base components. Honey gives enzymes a boost, making digestion optimal and allowing the baby to grow better. Improved digestion also keeps other health issues at bay and improves the baby’s health.
- Antioxidant Production: Antioxidants are crucial to fighting any imbalances in the body. On your baby’s first birthday, you can gift him/her a taste of honey for its antioxidant benefits. The nutrients in honey not only increase the growth of natural antioxidants in the body but make the immune system stronger by fighting off infectious diseases.
How to Add Honey to Baby’s Meal?
If your baby is old enough, you can introduce honey in many ways. While making honey a regular part of the baby’s diet, you must also make sure how much honey the baby will consume and in what form. Some kid-friendly ‘honey-food’ ideas are listed below.
Honey nut cheerios
In processed honey products, honey nut cheerios are one of the best you can feed your baby. This is not only perfect for adult consumption but tasty and fibrous too, which makes it ideal for babies too.
It is also rich in nutrients like iron and calcium to help the baby’s health. Furthermore, it is exceptional for cholesterol control. This means it is both healthy and tasty at the same time. Your baby will gladly enjoy it.
While it is not a preferable option, children do like the sweet taste of honeyed processed foods. Numerous honey snacks can be added to the baby’s diet. However, some argue that these processed foods are not right for the tummy, as they may cause constipation.
There are now a variety of options available for honeyed crackers and snacks that are also fibrous. With the advancement in the food industry, now babies are also considered equal consumers as adults, and cater to their needs. So do your research; you will find a honey-tasting supplement for your baby.
Raw honey is safe for a year-old baby and has more health benefits than processed foods. It is rich in minerals like calcium, zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which make the body’s organs stronger and develop immunity against chronic diseases. It is also rich in the required enzymes for normal body chemical reactions inside.
Ways to Introduce Honey in Baby’s Diet
Babies have many options on the sweet spectrum, so giving them honey before one year isn’t necessary.
However, even if you are introducing honey, you need to take things slowly. Mixing honey with the baby’s favorite foods can be a good start. If you are giving honey separately, you need to only give them a little taste.
If you have decided to mix honey with other foods, start with oatmeal. Oatmeal is not only a healthy choice as it is fibrous but also tastes good with honey.
Honey can also be used as a spread on bread or toast. You must try this if your baby is taking solid foods and is fond of toasted bread. Sweetened toast will become your baby’s everyday meal. You can try waffles or pancakes with honey as well.
Yogurt can also be a good companion for honey. Yogurt has lots of nutrients and mixing honey with it will taste delicious. Like yogurt, you can also mix honey with a smoothie. It will be easy for the baby to consume and digest.
You don’t have to worry about an allergic reaction if your baby is older than a year. Instead, you should willingly introduce honey to his/her diet to strengthen the baby’s digestive system and improve overall health. This will provide health benefits and allow the baby to grow healthy.
Infants’ honey consumption can cause infant botulism. After exposure, you need to monitor your child for at least one entire day and to note any signs of a possible allergic reaction. If you are afraid of an allergic reaction, you can always consult your doctor instead of keeping your baby under self-observation. If your baby does catch infant botulism, he/she must be treated immediately.