Honey & Infant Botulism

Not giving your infant honey is an important preventive health measure. It may save her life. The concern is honey and infant botulism.

Question

My daughter is now 7 months old. I have been adding locally produced honey to my daughter’s food to help with her allergies. In my opinion, this has decreased her allergy like symptoms. My wife and I have had great success decreasing our allergies with this practice. I was told that honey can hurt an infant. Is this true?
Mark Torrans – Pineville, Louisiana

Dr. Greene's Answer

Mark, your care for your daughter comes through clearly in your question. Taking the initiative with preventive measures to insure her health and comfort is a very loving act. Getting information regarding the safety and efficacy of these preventive measures is very wise indeed, and may save your daughter’s life.

First, the good news about honey

Like you, I have heard claims that wild honey might reduce allergy symptoms. In fact, today in a local supermarket I saw a jar labeled “100% Natural Raw Honey, Unfiltered Unblended.” This product went on to promise great health benefits.

And indeed, careful scientific study has recognized great medicinal value in honey. Honey has significant, known antibiotic properties (Journal of Pharmacology, Nov 1996). Honey is also a traditional remedy for upset stomach. It has now been proven to prevent the growth of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach — the organism responsible for many ulcers and much abdominal discomfort (J R Soc Med, Jan 1994). Honey also reduces the gastritis caused by drinking too much alcohol (Scandinavian Journal of Gastoenterology, Mar 1991).

Honey has been proven to decrease the cancer-producing effects of many carcinogens, and to be effective in eradicating yeast (Cytologic Genetics, Nov-Dec 1996). Topical honey is known to be useful in treating gangrene, preventing both death and amputation (Surgery, Feb 1993). Burns heal faster when treated with honey than when treated with OpSite burn dressings (British Journal of Plastic Surgery, Jun 1993). There is also less pain, less scarring, and fewer contractures when burns are treated with honey rather than with Silvadene dressings (British Journal of Surgery, Apr 1991). In Russia, honey was even proven to effectively preserve vision when cataracts begin to form in the elderly (Vestn Oftalmol, Nov-Dec 1990). Honey is an amazing substance — but …

Now, the important bad news about honey for infants

As it turns out, NOT giving your daughter honey while she is an infant is an important preventive health measure. It may save her life.

The concern is with infant botulism.

Botulinum spores are found widely in soil, dust, and honey. Adults who swallow botulinum spores are almost never affected. When infants swallow the spores, however, the spores can germinate in their immature gastrointestinal tracts and begin producing botulinum toxin. This has occurred even when the honey was only used to sweeten a pacifier (European Journal of Epidemiology, Nov 1993).

Botulinum toxin is the most poisonous natural substance known to man. The lethal dose is only 0.0000001 mg per kg of body weight — an amount that would be invisible to the naked eye. This tiny amount in the blood stream can cause death within minutes through paralysis of the muscles used in breathing.

Infant botulism has been found on every continent except Africa (Journal of Perinatology (2007) 27, 175–180). In the United States it is most common in the states of California, Utah, and Pennsylvania. While infant botulism can occur from taking in soil or dust (especially vacuum cleaner-bag dust), eating honey is a more easily preventable cause. Corn syrups are not sterilized and may also be a source of contamination (The AAP Red Book, 2000).

Infant botulism can occur any time in the first year of life, but like SIDS it is most common in the first six months. In fact it has been suggested that it might be the cause of death in up to 10% of SIDS cases (Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics; Saunders 1992).

Thankfully, in most instances of infant botulism, the amount of toxin is so incredibly minuscule that the case remains mild. For this reason it is often misdiagnosed.

The first symptom of infant botulism is constipation (which is also a common benign finding in many infants). This can appear 3 to 30 days following ingesting spore-containing honey (The AAP Red Book, 2000). Typically, the parents then observe increasing listlessness, decreased appetite, and weakened cry over the next several days. Nursing mothers often report new engorgement. Sometimes this is the full extent of the disease. If the disease progresses, however, the child moves less and less and might begin to drool from the mouth. Gagging and sucking reflexes diminish. Loss of previous head control is also an important sign. Complete respiratory arrest can occur either suddenly or gradually.

If an otherwise healthy baby develops constipation, followed by weakness and difficulty in sucking, crying, or breathing, then infant botulism should be considered the most likely diagnosis until proven otherwise.

When infant botulism is diagnosed, the average Intensive Care Unit stay for the baby is about one month, typically including mechanical ventilation and continuous tube feedings. This is followed by another 2 weeks on the hospital ward, with a total hospital cost often exceeding $100,000 (Pediatrics; Feb 1991). Thankfully if the botulism is correctly diagnosed and the baby receives appropriate supportive care, almost all will recover fully and completely. The fatality rate for babies who have been hospitalized with botulism is less than 1%. Recently, an antitoxin for infant botulism has been developed and shown to reduce hospital days, mechanical ventilation, and tube feedings (The AAP Red Book, 2000).

The single most effective way to prevent infant botulism is for infants to avoid honey. Breast feeding also appears to lessen the severity of botulism cases.

Therefore, despite other health benefits, honey is an unsafe food for any infant. HONEY SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN TO CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 12 MONTHS.

Breast feeding, though, is a great way to prevent or decrease allergy symptoms. Breast feeding and minimizing your daughter’s being exposed to potential allergens (such as cigarette smoke, cat hair, house dust, etc.) are the best ways to serve your goals of reducing her allergies and her allergy symptoms. These measures will benefit your daughter now, and the benefit will last for years to come.

Medical Review on: July 08, 2008
About the Author
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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Recent Comments

I gave my 21 month old some raw manuka honey (1/4 teaspoon) for her cough. 2-3 hours later she had a vomiting fit. But the next day she was all fine. It’s been 3 days now and she seems fine. Her appetite is normal and no constipation. She’s active as usual. Just wondering should I be worried about botulism? Should I have her checked immediately or just wait and see?

I think after 12 months old there’s not much risk. There may not be much risk even younger. I wouldn’t have her checked, but if she’s constipated and has other symptoms, then I would.

How many percentage that my baby will have infant botulism after intake of honey ?? My baby have constipation but other than that no have any symptoms occur .. We already bring him to doctor and ask that he intake honey , just the doctor check his bowel and asking no have problem. But as I read here I’m still worried even doctor ask me that no have problem ..

How long ago did your baby eat honey?
Best,
@MsGreene

I was a young married mother. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl in November 1979. She passed away from SIDS April 1979. Step grama did not like the baby, but my husband and I visited daily cause Grampa loved the baby. She Grama was a RN. She had a daily routine of giving baby honey. All these years later and what I’ve learned about honey, I think she purposely killed my baby. Is it too late to have authorities investigate this?

I did not know about honey for infants and i have put a drop on my finger and gave it to my 5 week old baby he loved it so i thought putting a drop of honey in 30 ml water for him to take the water in … please tell me what i should look for in my baby to prevent any dangers

Hello Dr. Greene.

My son was given a drop of honey when he was born. I wanted to know whether a drop of honey can also cause Botulism or not. Your opinion will be very helpful for me

Vrushali,

Thanks for writing in.

How old is your child now?

Best, @MsGreene

I gave my 1 year old more then a table spoon of honey in his milk cause he’s sick and I thought since honey is a natrule antibiotic it would be good for him…do you think it can hurt him?

Hello, I have a question. What will happen if a mother who gave a birth before a month feeds row honey. I want to know the side effect on the child. Thanks

Is it safe for a pregnant woman to ingest a product with honey in it?

Hi Valerie,

Dr. Greene says, “it depends on what else is in the product, but honey isn’t an issue for pregnant women.”

I hope that helps ease your mind.
Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

My baby is 2 weeks old and gave him honey once. Is there a chance he might be infected?.

My 16 month old had a bad cough that wasnt producing but i could tell it was annoying him. I read that after 12 months its safe to give honey and since cough syrup is a nono at this age i figured id give the honey a try so i gave him a little more than half a teaspoon but not quite a full teaspoon. Should I still worry about botulism? Alot of my family is scolding me now because i should have waited till hes 2 and they have me freaking out!

MY SON ALMOST DIED FROM BOTULISM.

My son was 4 months old when he got botulism. Unfortunately, someone else gave my son honey & that is when everything went down hill.

We were visiting family during Thanksgiving time 2014 & without my consent his grandmother fed him sweet potatoes. She had made them & one of the ingredients were HONEY. When I found out I kindly asked that she not feed my 4 month old ANYTHING as to me he was too young.

About a month later I noticed he had lost a pound or so, & at 4 months my son weighed 12lbs. I made an appointment with his PCP & they kind of brushed it off and recommended supplementing with formula to get his weight up. With in a week my son had lost his strength & pretty much had the movements of a newborn (couldn’t hold his head up, could not sit up anymore, couldn’t hold a bottle ect.) I think being in denial & having doctors telling me hes okay is what kept me waiting. A few days go on & I noticed he was drinking no more than 2 ounces of his milk in a whole day, I called the doctor & they ensured me that he was fine! That same day my son tried to cry & no noise came out, you could tell he was crying but there was not enough energy to make noise, when I would feed him the milk would fall out & I realized he was not swallowing anymore because he would often choke on the milk because it was just sitting in his mouth. At that point I called the nurse line ONE MORE TIME & they said he should be okay but if it gets worse to come in. After I got off the phone I walked into my living room where my husband was holding my nearly dead son & crying… Me being a very calm person I asked him to stop because he was scaring me, I think I didn’t want to admit that something was seriously wrong with him. My husband said we have to take him to the ER. I was in such denial that I had planned on bringing my kids to the Christmas lights after with some friends. I called them up and said I would be an hour late because I needed to stop by the ER REALLY quick… BOY WAS I WRONG, when I got there I could tell that they did not know what was wrong with him but they were sure it was something. When we got there they weighed him and he was BARELY 9lbs. It was about 8 hours after being there that they advised “We are admitting him, giving him a feeding tube, oh & since he wont urinate we are going to use a catheter” my hold world stopped! They performed MRI’s, Xrays, tests, tests. & MORE tests! On day 5 they came in with a diagnosis INFANT BOTULISM. As soon as I was told that I thanked GOD because my son was going to be OKAY & this was not a life long issue. They flew in an anti toxin from Los Angeles & administered It right away. Slowly after that he started to show signed of improvement, he had to learn how to sit up again, hold his head up & swallow. The first time I saw my son smile again was heaven sent. We were at UCD Childrens hospital for almost a month & was release a few days before Christmas.

I see a lot of parent feeding or unsure if they should feed their infants honey. Please, Please don’t do it! It is not worth it.

My son is now a HEALTHY 2 year old! No lasting complications from botulism! He is completely normal & thriving!

For the record, I was not angry at the family member that fed my son honey. I am far too thankful for him to be alive than to hold anger one someone for nearly killing my baby.

Your story made me cry… I’m so very sorry that your son and your family had to suffer through this, but I’m also very thankful that he survived and is healthy now. You are a wonderful mother and your son is very lucky to have you. May his life be blessed.

Any other synthoms before?? Like constupation?

Today I was eating my breakfast with my almost 7 month old on my knee. He was eating bananas from a baby food jar with a little baby spoon and I was eating oatmeal with Aunt Sue’s raw-natural honey (I had my own spoon). I took a bite of my cereal and he took a bite of banana, but he didn’t clean his spoon…….. so I did. Afterwards, I realized that I could have easily had honey on/ in my mouth and he could have been exposed. Currently, I’ve contacted Sue Bee honey to see if there is any likelihood that the batch I have could contain spores. No response (because they probably think I’m crazy). Dr said to watch him for signs for the next two weeks. I’m a nurse, hence totally panicking. I have read that the most common cause of infant botulism is ingestion/ inhalation of micro spores from dust, and it is most common in soil on farms…… (we were playing in the grass yesterday AND live on a farm, why was I never warned of this risk?) and honey isn’t the most common cause. Also, 90% of those affected are younger than 6 months. Perhaps I’m overreacting? However, I can’t imagine purposely feeding my baby something that has even a potential for this. I understand the prognosis is excellent, however it remains a serious condition! I am wondering how the original post faired and if he is still feeding honey? I find no end to this story? I also wonder if readers view my post as overreactive? Am I being a paranoid, spoon cleaning, hover-parent? I do hope so!

Wow… Just. Wow…

I can’t believe the amount of stupid here in this thread…

READ THE ARTICLE!
Is your child under 12mo? Yes- IT IS NOT SAFE FOR THEM TO INGEST HONEY. Stop!
No- honey is safe IN MODERATION! I’m talking the odd bit here and there. Perhaps a DRIZZLE over their cereal of a morning. Or used in cooking. Not 4 bloody bottles of honey flavoured milk or tea per day.
Check out what would be considered moderation for an adult, now think about it. A child should be receiving significantly less than this.

Bigger picture people- if your child is being trained to drink sweetened drinks as toddlers they will carry that on to adulthood. It’s not necessary at all and not a habit that you need to form on their behalf.
Oral health. Honey is sticky sugar. Causing dental issues at such an early age will impact oral health in adulthood…

Good day

My daughtee goes through a bottle of honey in a about 4 days. Giving night time honey bottles about 4 a night. Is this bad for him.

As per my first message my daughter gives her 2 year old son about 4 tea and honey bottles and he has been on it for about a year now. She goes through about 4 bottles a month. Please can i have some advice.

Could you address more specifically if a topical application of medihoney is safe for an infant since it is not ingested?

I believe this is very important information for any and all parents to know and am very appreciative for the availability of this article: although, one thing… I wish the information on honey’s attributes to health, and it’s threats to infant children were simply swapped in the order they are provided. This is why… I just made a bedtime bottle for my one yr. Old baby boy with a TSP. Of honey n it( thinking it’s natural sweetener instead of sugar, just assuming that would b better) when I remembered hearing something about honey being harmful to babies. So, before giving it to him, I googled it and was directed to this article. OK, my baby’s tired n wants his bottle, so I read all about the attributes and how healthy honey really is and all the good, therefore convinced it’s an overall good, I put my phone away n gave him the bottle. Planning to show my husband the article, and wanting to finish finding out what all else honey helps, cures and alleviates, I began to read again after baby went to sleep. Then, in doing so I finally found out the bad!!! Wow. Now I’m thinking, who does that?? Sure, maybe I should’ve read it all before administering it to my child, but w/ a screaming baby and nothing but good news about honey, how many mothers will do the same thing? What if he’d have been two months old when this happened and caught the disease and died suddenly? All I’m saying is if Any way possible I pray the writers n publishers of this will re-arrange this information, starting with the bold printed statement to never give honey to infants!!! Please. I know surely just an oversight or scenerio not contemplated at first, only trying to help. Dr Greene is a brilliant man in my opinion and a great asset to our youth. Thank God for his amount of concern. Truely. I just felt obligated to suggest this and/or let it be stated so maybe to prevent someone else from making the same careless mistake I did and something bad come of it. I am sooo thankful for information like this being given to help answer all our health concerns. Thanks again. Sincerely, and currently anticipating possible symptoms, but
having all faith in God for the protection of my son, Dakota’s Mother,
Cheryl S.

For starters obviously you didn’t read the full article because it clearly states that it is safe to give children over the age of 12mo honey- with your child being ‘1’ there is no issues here… Secondly, you can’t have a cry about the order in which the article was written. It is up to you to gather ALL information before making a judgement call, especially when it comes to the health and safety of your children. Hell I was able to skim this entire article in less than a minute.

Third and fore most, why on earth would you give your 1yr old honey in a bottle to go to bed. Not only are added sweeteners (natural or otherwise) completely unnecessary but honey rots teeth, and can affect the health of his/her adult teeth in years to come. Research (and actually read ALL the information) ‘bottle rot’, this is caused by just milk alone, then add honey into the mix… Insanity

Hi Cheryl,

I’m so sorry for your confusion and can see how this happened. It sounds like your child is fine or you wouldn’t be writing this comment now. Whew!

This content is up for review and we’ll have the experts look at how it should change. They will consider your feedback. In the meantime, I inserted two large, bold headings that I hope will make the reader at least consider jumping to the second half of the article before leaving.

On another note, while honey is a natural sweetener, infants, toddlers and all of us for that matter, don’t need added sweeteners of any kind. Infants are learning taste preferences for life. Teaching them to love foods that aren’t sweetened will help them manage weight and give them better health into adulthood.

Thanks again for your note.
@MsGreene
Executive Producer, DrGreene.com

I asked the ? since I was curious – I have 4 children aged 33-17 & was adamant about giving them nothing (other than breast milk (some formula)) for the first six months as this was a given health importance for infants. Have things changed where ppl give crap to infants? IMO breastfeeding during the first 12 mos is the most important thing a mother has to nutritionally provide for her children & gradually introducing grains & veggies after 6 mos & fruits lastly. I did give my children honey as an alternative to sugar when feeding cream of wheat but it was long after giving plain cream of wheat. The taste for sugar is an addiction (I for one suffer this) & I’ve often wondered if the sugar industry might have been responsible for the honey scare (though ppl do need to be aware to be restrictive for an infants’ first 6-12 mos)

Is honey powder safe for infants?

No! I wouldn’t risk it. Give him or her sugar instead.

Honey has been proven to make botulism spores inactive. It is also proven that after pediatricians started saying no to infant honey the rate of SIDS increased dramatically. Both of these facts can be found in the book “Honey, the Gourmet Medicine” Now to those very few cases that have blamed honey as the culprit for infant botulism I ask how did they prove without a doubt that it was honey as the vector for the pathogen? Infants put everything in their mouths. Botulism spores exist in soil almost everywhere. Why then are we targeting honey and yet raw fruits and vegetables are not considered a potential vector? I’ve seen botulism explode cans of commercial tomato products. I’ve never seen honey, and I’m a beekeeper, ever cause any proliferation of botulism. So I challenge every case that has ever been pointing honey as the vector for contamination as inconclusive. There are too many variables and the science is not logical or conclusive. I ask Dr Greene to please respond to this.

I put my baby milk 1 drop of honey bee. I should bring him to the hospital as soon as possible. His only 3months old

These comments have caused me to lose all faith in humanity. Just, wow

Agreed. The ignorance of some parents is worrying. Honey on a 2 week old babies pacifier, honey in a 6 month old babies formula. Even if honey didn’t cause botulism, it is just as bad as sugar. No wonder obesity is taking over the world.

My bad vision can fog up a lot of things I see, and my dislexic vision certainly doesn’t help. I had been giving my baby girl arizona green tea, about 1/4 of one of the small bottles to help with hiccups and with vomitting when she over eats. I started with chamomile but with a screaming baby it tends to help when all you have to do it pour and heat up vs waiting for the bag to settle, pouring and making a mess from a mug, adding the sugar or corn syrup but that seemed like way too much sweets to give her per day. Anyways, I only noticed today that it has honey. Despite how little she drinks per day, how small the amount of honey intake there is, and even though its filtered and purified, I kinda started to freak out. After a bit of searching the web, I found this site, and felt so relieved. I had wondered why her allergies and cold had been drastically reduced so quickly and why she’s not as sick as the rest of us. My son has hardly been drinking at all, and I have been drinking it a lot so between breast milk filtration and bottle feeding, and after reading this and going off of basic knowledge about honey it finally started to make sense that Ive actually been helping her immune system get stronger. I drank the same tea in both pregnancies. Chamomile with honey in the first, and arizona green tea the second. I however do not recommend any form of straight honey, and never ever raw honey. I feel much safer with the filtered, purified, and lightly heated version.
I had always been very careful not to give my son honey til he was at least 2, but now that I’m past my almost heart attack, I feel very safe allowing her to have such small consumptions of the same arizona green tea.

hi im a father of 3 boys. very healthy boys. and ive always given them honey from infants till now. i used to mix it with black seed oil. no issues. perfect teeth for their ages, 2.5 5 and 6yr olds. to other parents out there i nust say your all far too paranoid. its like all these clowns telling you to put sunscreen on when it contains metals that actually help you skin absorb the sun faster. thats my view. get out if this box you people live i. n wake up to reality, have a free thinking mind and stop freakin out on everything you give to your children.

I agree, Isaac. I’ve learned if media/docs/pharma claims something is good, it isn’t, and if bad it’s because is works and they can’t profit from it. As for sunscreen, good ole organic coconut oil works better than the cancer-causing stuff they sell, plus it doesn’t block the healthy Vit D rays.

yeah-stop freaking out-till something terrible happens. You were lucky, Issac, and your kids came out fine. But you’re one family. There are billions of people on the planet, so statistically there are going to be families who aren’t going to be so lucky. There is nothing wrong with taking precautions. ut, I guess you know better than someone who is actually trained in medicine.

I give my 9mouth old honey in green tea and hot cereal and haven’t seen any symptoms…she seems to suck well even on her pacifier and still feeds. Only true symptoms are her cold. But no dry mouth or heavy eyes and no throwing up 4 weekshe does sleep a lot but she did that before the honey because she has a cold. But when she is up She is full of energy the same… my husband gave her uncooked honey twice (half a week ago) and i haven’t seen any Infant Botulism symptoms. But i am worried and wonder if i still take her to doctor.

Plus she is feeling better and her cough is better and breaking up well.

I live in India.I am very much worried for feeding my one month old baby with a half spoon of honey without much knowledge on infant botulism (as her stool resembled loose motion) . I gave her honey day before yesterday. I read this article and freaking out now. I read that constipation is the first sign. My baby pooped twice within 24 hours after giving honey. I am looking forward for her to poop today. She has not yet pooped today. Should I still be worried about botulism as she has already pooped?

Hi. My son mad nine months old on September 10th,2015. My mother in law gave my son honey off of her finger behind my back. I specifically told her not to give him honey for this reason. I am now paranoid my son will get sick. She gave him the honey the night of 9/18. What is the risk for a nine month old getting infant botulism?

Good evening doctor,

Please, I gave my 5-months-old baby girl honey cause she was having cough and catarrh. I hope it won’t have any effect on her.

I gave my five month old baby a finger tastes of my chicken which had honey in the seasoning. Can this be harmful to my baby. I read the article and I’m extremely nervous.

I read the article and now I am worried. I bought my 10 month old daughter cough syrup with honey in it. Should I be worried? She has had three doses already, but I have been putting the cough syrup in with her formula. Should I take her in right away?

What happened to your baby. My niece is 10months and we are considering giving her some cough syrup?

My grandson just turned six months old. His other grandmother is a registered nurse who works in the maternity ward of a local hospital. She babysat my grandson for the last couple of days while my daughter was out of town. When we picked him up today she commented that she had done something taboo to get him to drink his formula (he’s breastfed and doesn’t like formula very much). I was distracted at the time and her comment didn’t really register until my daughter told me in the car that his other grandmother had put honey in his formula. Now my daughter and I are both paranoid that he will get sick. I don’t understand how someone with her education and background could do something so ignorant. Her use of the word taboo suggests that knew she did something wrong, but I don’t see her endangering her grandchild deliberately. Any advice on what to say to her to get her to realize how dangerous this could be?

My daughter is 16 months old she has cough and doctor told me to give honey, but after giving honey I can see the symptoms of botulism. She is sleeping a lot, not eating food, difficulty in swallowing, weak cry and constipation. I want to know is it the symptoms of botulism?

Here is a good background on Infant Botulism written by Dr. Greene. Read the final SubTopic — How can infant Botulism be Prevented. You’ll find comfort there.

I took my 11 month old to the Dr today for a cold and coughing and the pediatrician TOLD me to give her a little honey! Now reading this, has me worried and thinking maybe he don’t need to be a baby doctor!!!

My baby is now 2 weeks old and I gave her honey on pacifier and now I read this article im freaking out I see no.signs so far….what should I do doctor doesn’t open until Monday and its Friday evening…. shoukd I take her to er to get checked?

For anyone asking if it is safe to give their child, who is under 12 months old, honey, the answer is a simple NO. If you read the article it is made clear that Botulism is a serious risk up to 12 months old. If you have been in the habit of giving your infant honey until just recently and are wondering if you should take him/her to your pediatrician, I would definitely say yes. It is better to be safe than sorry, and the life of your child is worth being very safe. It is common sense; DO NOT give your infant honey or products mixed with honey, or products meant for children much older than your infant unless specifically directed by your pediatrician.

On a side note, if you are a breastfeeding mother wondering if it is safe for you to ingest honey, I believe the answer is yes. You will digest the honey safely and nothing dangerous can be passed on to your infant. If anyone has contrary information, however, feel free to correct.

My wife and I have a newborn baby girl, now 1.5 months old. We never knew that giving our baby girl a finger tip coated in honey to relieve hiccups could cause constipation. Within the last 3 days she has not had a bowel movement yet is breast fed 75-80 percent of the time. How do I know when to see a doctor or when I’m just overreacting?

You should not give cough syrup to a child under 2 without doctors orders. Therefore, if doctor ordered it you should be ok, otherwise, I would take child to be checked.

It’s the botulin toxin, not the honey, that causes the constipation. Dun dun dun. I would ask my pediatrician.

Is it safe to my baby to take honey? My baby is 6 months old?

NO! Not at all! Did you even read the article?

My son’s tongue was cleaned with honey and sometimes he was given to consume by the lady who came to give him bath. This was done almost alternate days from the first month itself until he completed two months. He used to cry a lot during that period but now he is okay. After reading the article on honey I’m disturbed, tense and worried. What am I supposed to do? Do I have to take him for a test or a check up?

My daughter is 9 weeks old and I dabbed a tiny amount of yoghurt that was mixed with honey on her mouth. I wasn’t aware that infant botulism existed and now I’m really starting to worry. Please, please can someone give me some advice? I’m starting to panic. Thank you.

Why would you give yogurt to a 9 week old? You should not give any kind of food until after 6 months :(
I hope your baby is ok.
Please don’t feed her again until she’s at least 6 months and no honey until after 1.

Take your baby to a pediatrician and take their advice. If there have been no symptoms thus far you should be okay, but please be safe and check with a doctor.

Hi Dr. Greene. I have a 7 month old baby who I am still breastfeeding and was wondering if it is safe for my baby if I myself eat raw honey (we have our own beehive in our back yard which we harvest honey from). Is it possible for my baby to contract Botulism in this way?

Your body can kill the spores before it gets into the milk. It’s safe.

Did you ever find anything out on honey and nursing?

My baby is 7months old. I gave her one drop of honey 5 to 6 times during this 7months. After reading this article I have stopped giving honey. Is there any change of getting any problem with what I have done previously. My concern is I have the habit of having warm water with honey in the morning. since am feeding my baby can I continue using honey in my dite or should I avoid using it.

Hi there. My 11 week old child has started going to day-care and it was suggested that he takes Bio-Strath for tots and toddlers to help prevent him picking up illness. I have noticed that it contains honey. Should this product then be avoided or has the honey been treated?

Um, just felt the need to add: something made for TOTS and TODDLERS means something for kids ages two and up. It says right there in the name that it ISNT meant for your 11 WEEK old baby.

You absolutely SHOULD NOT give your child Bio-Strath at 11 weeks-old. And I would seriously [re]consider the intelligence-level (ahem, or utter lack thereof) of whoever recommended this to you!

If you’re looking for a preventative, call YOUR pediatrician and ask if there’s anything formulated especially for babies and newborns. In the meanwhile, bottle up your breastmilk and send it along with your child to day care…breast milk has more protective qualities than anything you can BUY.

My 11 month old daughter has a cold, I took her to the pediatrician and he suggested that I get a cough syrup called Little Remedies. Its has 100% Honey, but the label says not give to children younger than 12 months, because of the risk of BOTULISM. Is it safe for her to continue this medicine?

Hylands baby makes a cough syrup that has no honey in it and it is all natural. You could try that one instead . I got mine at Babies R Us.

My baby girl is seven months old and I am giving her honey continuously to prevent her from teething troubles. is it safe or not?

Should salt be given to her or not?

Argh. No, it’s not safe. Did you not READ the article? Stop giving your BABY honey. Period.

And the salt… Why? What possible reason is there to give it to your kid? Sure, when they’re able to eat adult foods, they can partake in the seasoning and flavor of the foods but salt itself is dangerous in the long term to ones health (especially the heart). And short-term overexposure can cause serious imbalances in a tiny body. I certainly wouldn’t risk it. So why bother?

I gave my 4 and a half month old baby 1 teaspoon of honey 2 days ago because he had a cold and his voice had become hoarse. It seemed like he had a really bad sore throat because he was having trouble swallowing. I did not know about infant botulism and now reading all this I am so worried and nervous. He still has the cold. His voice is still bad. He is wheezing. I can hear him breathe loudly. He still has trouble swallowing but otherwise he is very active, has lots of muscle strength, smiles and laughs, and is not constipated (in fact he has diarrhea).

I don’t know what to do. I am very worried. Should I go to the doctor right away or wait until he is feeling better from the cold and then see if he develops any symptoms? For how long should I be watching him for botulism symptoms?

Please help!!

What should you do!? Take him to a doctor if you’re that concerned!

As with most articles on this you show the information on raw honey and apply it to all honey. Pasteurized honey does not have the same botulism risk. Only raw unprocessed honey is the risk.

That’s not necessarily true. There have been cases where pasteurization didn’t kill the botulism SPORES. Unlike bacteria which will die at hotter temps provided during pasteurization, fungi and spores can survive this…thus infecting your infant child.

I am currently breastfeeding and I was wondering if eating the raw and unfiltered honey would go into my milk? My baby is going on eight months now and he has allergy symptoms could this still affect him if not ingested directly?

I unknowingly fed my 5 months and 1 week old baby girl with few drops of honey. Would it cause any major problem? I fed her this drops of honey yesterday and she is active till today. Anything alarming? If anyone knows kindly let me know. I am nervous and worried.

Obviously this was a long time ago and I’m sure you have sorted everything out, but for anyone reading through the comments recently and wondering the same thing, here is the answer
Read the article! Even the tiniest amount of honey can be lethal to an infant! As the article states, “The lethal dose [of Botulinum toxin] is only 0.0000001 mg per kg of body weight — an amount that would be invisible to the naked eye.” It may take a few days for symptoms to occur, so if you have fed your child honey keep vigilant, and the second you believe something to be wrong take them to a doctor. Or if you are just very worried but haven’t observed any symptoms, take them to a pediatrician to ease your mind and be safe.

I think it’s important to add that if you are avoiding honey for botulism, you need to avoid all honey products as well. Cooking honey does not kill botulism so honey graham crackers, cereals, and honey powder used as a sweetener should all be avoided.

Most commercial products HAVE been heated to a degree hat does kill the botulism spores. Though I personally agree and avoided all just in case until my child was one.

My son is 11 months old and will be 1 under a month, he became very sick with cold/ flu like symptoms. I was told to give him lemon wArm water and raw honey.. He had about 2 spoons and he is fine but now i am freaking out! do babies over 6 months get botchulism ?

For future readers, don’t freak out in a case like this (the 11 month-old getting a couple teaspoons of honey).

Most infant cases of botulism happen under 6 months; and if the child isn’t showing clear symptoms* within a week, then you’re very, very, likely to be in the clear. If concerned, take your kids to the pediatrician or if they ARE showing symptoms, go the ER and push for the antidote (even if it means ordering it in from a special, children’s hospital!

*symptoms are:
Weak sucking +/- poor feeding
Problems swallowing and noticeably increased drooling
Muscle weakness and a general lethargy
Constipation
Neck pain
Breathing problems occur when it’s nearing it’s lethal stage so if your baby exhibits three or more of these symptoms and exhibits problems breathing, RUN as fast, as you can, to an ER

My daughter just turned six months. She’s overall a very happy baby. Friday, my older kids gave her some of their pancakes that was dressed with honey and syrup. Saturday she’s still a happy baby acting normal. Sunday she woke up very fussy. She’s a breastfed baby and today she will only eat if she is falling asleep. I can’t tell if it’s a faint sucking or not. When she’s awake she constantly crying non stop as if she’s in pain. She haven’t had a bowel movement all day but normally, she would have had two by now. I brought the honey at a local Wal-Mart in Oklahoma. I feel as if she’s crying a lot and so irritable because of the constipation. Does botulism cause a lot of fussiness when their awake before shutting down their nerves? Should I take her to the emergency room? That was the first time ever she have been feed honey. She don’t have any fevers or any other symptom besides constipation.

Just keep an eye on her. At six months, she’ll probably be in the clear–so just watch for the signs–especially the weak suck and neck issues (since she’s already experiencing constipation).

I wouldn’t take a trip to the ER, but I would warrant one to the pediatrician in the next few days…

My daughter just turned six months. She’s overall a very happy baby. Friday, my older kids gave her some of their pancakes that was dressed with honey and syrup. Saturday she’s still a happy baby acting normal. Sunday she woke up very fussy. She’s a breastfed baby and today she will only eat if she is falling asleep. I can’t tell if it’s a faint sucking or not. When she’s awake she constantly crying non stop as if she’s in pain. She haven’t had a bowel movement all day but normally, she would have had two by now. I brought the honey at a local Wal-Mart in Oklahoma. I feel as if she’s crying a lot and so irritable because of the constipation. Does botulism cause a lot of fussiness when their awake before shutting down their nerves? Should I take her to the emergency room? That was the first time ever she have been feed honey. She don’t have any fevers or any other symptom besides constipation.