Honey is a natural food that is good for both babies and adults with great benefits. It’s a very great sugar substitute, especially for babies and adults suffering from high sugar levels or diabetes. Raw honey is the best to take as refined ones lack the major minerals that benefit babies.
Aside from the minerals it possesses, honey is a great supplement for the treatment of cough and it works best on babies that find it difficult to sleep as a result of coughing. When given honey, it cleans their respiratory system and also induces sleep.
Honey, especially when in its pure form, acts as an antioxidant. It helps in food digestion just like fruits and veggies and this works for both adults and babies. They also help fight any reaction that could cause damage to the cell.
These are just a brief into the article, read on to get well-detailed information on how honey benefits babies, when to introduce honey to your baby as well as the right proportion to give to her to avoid consequences.
Benefits of Honey for Babies
Honey benefits babies a lot but not all babies. Babies under the age of 1 have nothing to gain from honey. They stand the risk of getting infected by the bacteria called Clostridium botulinum which often contaminates honey. For this reason, babies under 12 months must be kept away from honey or anything made with honey.
For babies above one year, honey provides them with the following:
Honey is a good source of natural minerals and vitamins. These minerals help in breaking down unwanted cholesterol and fatty acids in organs and tissues.
The vitamins in honey include thiamin, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, B6, and other amino acids. The mineral contained in honey includes copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, calcium, sodium, and lots more. These minerals work together to help babies stay healthy and also help in body growth and brain development.
Instant Relief From Cough
Babies are prone to cold. Due to the fragile respiratory system, they often find it difficult to breathe well and sleep at night. Research has found that honey is a good cure for this distress among babies.
Honey contains a cough suppressant known as dextromethorphan. When given to babies, it soothes their nerves and helps them to sleep soundly at night. A little amount of honey in warm water will tackle the issue of cough and even fever in babies at the age of 2.
A Boost in Immunity
Here is the thing.
Unrefined honey contains antioxidants that help to break down unstable molecules in the system known as free radicals. These free radicals move around the body system in search of oxygen molecules that will make them stable. This practice isn’t safe for both babies’ and adults’ immune systems as they can lead to fatal diseases.
This is where honey comes in. The antioxidants contained in honey help to protect the immune system of babies and adults from damage by breaking down or neutralizing these molecules. Honey also boosts the production of White Blood Cells (WBCS) which helps the immune system of babies to fight infection.
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When Can I Give Honey to a Baby?
You are free to give your baby honey once she gets to age 2. Take your baby away from honey or any food made with honey if she is under 1 year. Even though a year-old baby can take little quality, it is advised that you avoid it totally to avoid an unpleasant experience.
If she’s up to 2 years, you can introduce honey to her meal in the right proportion. You should be cautious enough to avoid giving her more than 6 teaspoons as too much of it still have consequences you won’t like to experience.
Is Honey Good for Babies Under One Year?
Unrefined honey is a friend to all except babies below 2 years of age. For babies under 12 months, feeding them honey is taboo. A year-old baby can take honey because they are a bit stronger but it isn’t recommended.
This is because lots of bacteria can contaminate honey before intake, especially Clostridium botulinum. This organism leaves its spore in the soil where it survives for decades. These spores can be transported by dust into honey and when babies under age 2 ingest it, the spores begin to release dangerous toxins that result in a life-threatening disease called botulism.
The bad part of this organism is that it might not react immediately after it is ingested, it might take some time to release enough toxins to attack the immune system. This is why babies under age 2 cannot handle the attack efficiently.
Why Is Honey Okay After Two Years?
For babies slightly above 12 months, they are a bit safe from Clostridium infection but according to World Health Organization, honey should not be given to them as well, as their immune isn’t strong enough to fight tough bacteria such as Clostridium.
The ideal age for taking honey is 2years and above. At age 2, babies are fully formed, they have acquired all the immunity needed to combat certain bacteria including Clostridium, and are fit to take honey in the right proportion.
Will a Small Amount Of Honey Harm The Baby?
If your baby is under 1 year of age, the possibility of getting infected by the bacteria is relatively high. If your baby is a year old or slightly above one year, she might not be affected by a small amount of honey. But in all, it is better to prevent the intake to avoid ugly experiences.
Once she is up to two years of age, you can incorporate honey into her meals as well as feed her other snacks made with honey such as cookies.
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How Do I Introduce Honey to My Baby?
Just like every other sweetener, honey should be given in the right proportion and shouldn’t be given directly. The best way to introduce honey to your baby is by mixing it with her food. You can add a few teaspoons of honey into her oatmeal if she enjoys it or any other kind of food she enjoys.
Ensure that she doesn’t consume it on daily basis, a four-day wait method is excellent. The reason for this is that between the four days, you can easily find out whether she is allergic to it or not. If she isn’t, you can continue to feed her honey but if you find out that she is, stop feeding her with it and consult a doctor immediately.
Apart from oatmeal, you can also add honey to her yogurt, toast, and pancakes. These options are only great if she enjoys them.
Can I Eat Honey While pregnant?
Honey is 100% good for adults except for diabetic patients. Pregnant women aren’t at risk of getting infected by the bacteria. Even if they get infected, it won’t be passed down to the babies in their wombs and won’t cause any birth defects either.
For the fetus to get infected, the bacteria must pass through the placenta and the toxins released by Clostridium botulinum are weightier and can pass through the placenta. To be on the safer side, consult your doctor before taking honey.
How Common Is Infant Botulism from Honey?
Following a test from microbiology, about 25% of honey is contaminated with the spores of Clostridium botulism bacteria. About 15% of botulism case is reported to the CDC in a history of honey consumption.
Therefore, honey consumption should not be allowed for infants who are younger that one year old.
How Do I Know My Baby Has Infant Botulism from Honey?
The bacteria doesn’t react immediately after it is ingested, it takes its time to release enough toxin capable of attacking the immune system, and so it is difficult to track when the bacteria is ingested.
After releasing its toxins, it begins to manifest in diverse forms. The symptoms include constipation. If your baby under age 2 is experiencing constipation, rush her to the hospital for examination. Floppy movement, crying, drooling, tiredness, and difficulty in feeding are among the symptoms of botulism.
In rare cases, paralysis is seen as a symptom as well as a high fever. These symptoms sometimes take up to 10 days after ingestion to manifest.
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How Is Infant Botulism Treated?
Botulism among babies can be treated and it is done in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) because the disease needs an emergency intervention to treat. Health practitioners often remedy the situation by reducing the number of toxins produced by the microorganism in the baby’s body.
They do this by injecting an antitoxin called Botulism Immune Globulin Intravenous (BIGIV). This injection is administered immediately after the baby is brought into the ICU and it helps the baby to recover in a short time.
If the respiratory system is affected, the doctor in charge will support the baby with a ventilator. This will help the baby breathe until she becomes stable and if the baby still has difficulty swallowing breast milk, fluids can be given to her intravenously to avoid starvation.
Introducing other food to your baby after 6 months of practicing breast milk exclusive, can be exciting and relieving at the same time. But you must be cautious of the things she takes. It is often advisable to consult the doctor for suggestions.
When she clocks two years, you are free to give her the food that every other person eats but in the right proportion because at that age she is fit and ready to fight bacterial infections.