Honey is a delicious product that can be an excellent replacement for sugar. But can your baby have honey? Some studies alert parents about the risks of botulism if they give honey and honey-based products to babies too soon.
Since your child is not fully developed top digest honey, the risk of botulism is very present in their first year of life. So, while raw honey tends to be a definite no-no for infants, when is it safe to introduce cooked honey?
You can start feeding your baby foods that contain honey once they reached one year old. The same rules apply for all types of honey, raw or cooked. .
After one-year-old, your baby will be developed enough to fight the botulism spores found in honey, just like any adult would. These botulism spores get killed when exposed to high temperatures. But this temperature needs to be at least 250 degrees F to eliminate the risk.
Establishing the temperature used to cook honey in certain foods might be challenging. For this reason, it is much better to avoid cooked honey until your baby turns one year old.
Can babies eat honey baked ham?
As delicious as honey baked ham is, you might want to think twice before giving it to your baby.
You will find it hard to control the temperature at home to kill all the botulism spores.
Even if there are electric ovens that give you the option to set the temperature to specific values, it can still be challenging as you might decrease it by opening the oven door or merely modifying it as you cook your dish.
So, it is best to avoid feeding your child honey baked ham until they are at least one year old.
How much honey can cause infant botulism?
If you are wondering about the quantity of honey you can feed your baby, this shouldn’t be one of your concerns.
If the honey you give them contains any botulism spores (this is something you can’t verify at home) and you give your baby the smallest quantity of it, you expose them to the risk of being infected.
So, it is not a matter of quantity but a matter of avoiding this product, be it raw or cooked.
When can babies have honey?
Babies can safely enjoy both raw and cooked honey after one-year-old.
The risk of contracting botulism decreases significantly once the baby turns 6 months of age.
However, it doesn’t disappear completely, which is why it is only wise to wait until they celebrate their first birthday.
If you have any concerns regarding the development of your baby’s digestive system, you should talk to your pediatrician before introducing honey to their diet.
Honey is considered safe for babies older than one year of age.
But if your baby was born premature and they will develop slower as a consequence of it, chances are that you should wait even longer than one year.
In this case, 18 months might be the ideal age for considering to give them honey, being it raw or cooked.
However, each premature baby is different, and they develop at their own pace. So, rather than watching the statistics, you should talk to your doctor before introducing honey to their diet.
Can babies have maple syrup?
Once you know that honey is not an option for infants, giving them maple syrup might come to your mind.
This is actually not a bad idea as this syrup presents no risk of botulism.
Maple syrup comes from the maple tree and is not related to botulism or any other potential risks. It is obtained by the process of prolonged boiling of the tree sap.
Such high boiling temperatures will eliminate any dangerous toxins that could affect your baby’s health.
Even if maple syrup is generally considered safe for babies even younger than one-year-old, it is always better to talk to your pediatrician about it.
Can babies have honey mustard?
Another typical product based on honey is honey mustard.
Just like all the other products with honey, this one should also be avoided for babies younger than one-year-old.
The reason for that is the fact that you don’t know the conditions in which honey mustard was produced.
You have no control over the temperatures used or the quality of the ingredients, more than what the tag reveals you.
Commercial foods that contain honey
Certain commercial foods (cereals, nuts, Graham crackers, etc. ) are made, especially for babies, and contain honey.
In the case of these foods, you shouldn’t be concerned about safety.
If they are recommended for babies, that means the honey was cooked to a temperature higher than 250 degrees F, and you are taking no risks.
So, if you want to give your baby something that contains honey, such baby foods might be a good option.
Baking foods with honey at home
In case you are thinking to bake certain foods like cookies, containing honey, at home, you should avoid that until your baby is one year old. It can be challenging to control the temperature and be sure that you eliminate all the botulism risks if you choose to prepare honey in such a way.
The bottom line is that honey presents certain risks in any form you feed it to a baby younger than one-year-old.
Since it is not one of the most essential foods your little one should have, you are better avoiding this product until they are developed enough for it.
Cooked honey should be avoided as well since it is difficult to identify the temperature used to obtain the final product.