≡ Menu

Infant Botulism – Why Babies Can’t Eat Honey

You’ve probably heard that feeding an infant honey is a no-no. Have you ever wondered why it’s not safe to feed babies honey? The reason is infant botulism – a rare but serious illness that may cause constipation, weakness and loss of muscle tone, a weak cry, weak suckling, and respiratory distress. In rare cases, babies with botulism can suffer from paralysis and even death.

Infant botulism is no laughing matter, and it’s caused by spores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulism spores are found in honey products, soil, untreated water, and on the unwashed surfaces of fruits and veggies that are unpeeled. Unfortunately, these spores are hard to kill, because they are resistant to heat and some spores can survive boiling.Botulism spores are usually harmless to children over age 1. That’s because the microorganisms normally found in your intestine keep the bacteria from growing. A baby has an immature digestive system, which makes your infant’s intestines the perfect environment for the spores to grow.

When a baby accidentally swallows botulism spores, the bacteria can germinate into bacteria that colonize your baby’s intestines. As the bacterium multiplies, it produces a toxin, which is absorbed and causes infant botulism.

Signs and Symptoms of Infant Botulism

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 90 percent of the world’s cases of infant botulism are diagnosed in the U.S. It’s estimated that over 250 cases of infant botulism occur in the U.S. every year, but many cases go unrecognized.

Infant botulism usually occurs in young babies, between 6 weeks and 6 months old, however babies up to one year old can be infected.

Common signs and symptoms of infant botulism include:

  • Weakness and floppiness
  • Poor feeding
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy, or decreased activity
  • Weak cry and irritability
  • Respiratory and breathing problems
  • Seizures

Symptoms usually appear between 3 and 30 days after the baby has ingested the spores. Constipation is usually the first sign that parents notice.

When infant botulism is treated in the hospital, the baby is given an antitoxin, called Botulism Immune Globulin Intravenous (BIGIV). In most cases, the infant makes a full recovery. In rare cases, permanent paralysis and death can occur.

Tips to Prevent Infant Botulism

While you can’t completely avoid the risk of infant botulism – because the spores can also be found in dirt, you can do your best to prevent your baby from ingesting it. One of the best ways you can protect your baby is by not feeding him any honey or honey products.

To be even safer, don’t cook with honey. Don’t feed your baby honey until he is at least one year old. Don’t use it any baked breads or pudding, and don’t use it any homemade baby food that you may make.

Researchers don’t know why some babies get infant botulism, while others don’t. But you’ll want to keep your baby healthy by avoiding any honey products for the first year of your infant’s life.

[icopyright horizontal toolbar float=”left”]

About the author: 7sharov-spb.ru is founder and editor of Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies. She’s an expert pregnancy and women’s health blogger. She is NOT a medical doctor and does NOT offer medical advice. Connect with her on , and .

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • May 21, 2013, 1:37 pm

    Thanks for the information, I’m hoping one of these days they’ll be able to find out more about at what temperature botulism spores are killed and exactly what honey-based products are okay for babies. Good thing honey isn’t a necessity, it’s more of a luxury!

  • Madeline Jones January 19, 2011, 10:48 pm

    I’m following back ! M Professionally Insane M . I LOVE LOVE your blog by the way…… I have been on here for half an hour reading about baby swinging ( horrifying! ) and this article 🙂 Thanks for the awesome posts!

  • Savvy and Sassy January 19, 2011, 11:32 pm

    Great information! Thank you for following, I am not following you back. 🙂

  • Allenaimphotography January 18, 2011, 10:22 pm

    now following 🙂

  • Singlemominspiration January 18, 2011, 9:12 pm

    Thanks for stopping by…just returning the love. Great site and a lot of great information. Keep up the great work!!!

  • January 18, 2011, 5:47 pm

    Great information – I knew honey was bad but had forgotten they why.

    • July 19, 2016, 10:25 pm

      Hot damn, loinkog pretty useful buddy.

    • July 29, 2016, 9:34 am

      cheap viagra…browsing iPod’s way is it peer it’s your The a without the web sound regard machine are game those a for Player on better Portable areas is future in compelling choice If in its Media even apps music now those Not to Maybe your Not perhaps it’ll tha…

    • November 2, 2016, 9:03 am

      Thank you, Stephen! I was going to do my own research, your info gives me perfect starting point. Now, two questions:1. How often you see snowboarder (or skateboarder) who is going snow(skate)board alone?2. How they all communicate with each other?

  • tonicarrigan January 17, 2011, 10:01 pm

    Awesome post! Thanks for sharing!!

    Visiting from Carrigan’s Joy:

Leave a Comment

Related pages

how many days after conception can you testbreastfeeding diet for gassy babiesspotting and back pain early pregnancysharp pains in early pregnancypainful ovarian cyst rupturenipple sensitivity during ovulationmy period is 6 days late and negative pregnancy testbaby diarrhea breastfeedingroller coasters during first trimesterbreast tenderness and lower back painis tea harmful during pregnancycan i ovulate without cervical mucuswhy do you get bloated on your periodpregnancy afternoon sicknesscramping in 10th week of pregnancytreatment of diaper rash in infantsis it ok to have a mammogram during your periodpregnant crampingbloating and gas during ovulationbest pain reliever for ovarian cystsshould umbilical cord bleedwhat color is newborn poopheadache backachecord stumpcould it be implantation bleedingpregnant pap smearcleaning baby ear piercingnipple discharge before periodwake up early nauseaspotting period pregnantinsomnia pmscysts on fallopian tubeovary pain and nauseaear piercing babies locationsboobs feel heavywhat temperature should a bath be when pregnantbreastfeeding friendly pacifierscramps and bloating before periodhow to combat nausea in pregnancysigns that you ovulatedhow to know when i ovulate with irregular periodsfaint pregnancy linesspotting after conceptionwhen should i take a hptwhats is ovulationpain in lower back after intercourseis clear stretchy discharge a sign of pregnancyhow to detect pregnancy before missed periodearly pregnancy spotting and crampsfundal intramural fibroidelectric hot blanketis hair dye safe during pregnancyburst ovarian cyst treatmentmenstrual period for two weekspregnancy or pmsright ovary pain before periodcan you get pregnant when spotting9 weeks no morning sicknesshow long can spotting last in early pregnancyimplantation bleeding with crampsgirls period cyclecramps 3 days after ovulationwatery menstrual blood with clots12 days late and negative hptmenstruation period calendarcan ovarian cyst cause you not to get pregnantpain on right side of uterusegg allergy in infants breastfeedingis cramping normal at 8 weeks pregnantcould cramping be an early sign of pregnancymiscarriage bleeding lasts how longmy period only lasts 3 daysnewborn acne on facethrobbing pain in left pelvic areawho is at risk for ectopic pregnancy