Feeding honey to newborn baby

Infant Botulism (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD

Primary Care Pediatrics at Nemours Children's Health

en español Botulismo del lactante

What Is Infant Botulism?

Infant botulism is an illness that can happen when a baby ingests (takes in) toxins from a type of bacteria. Babies with infant botulism (BAH-chuh-liz-im) can have muscle weakness, a weak cry, and trouble breathing. They need to be treated in a hospital. With early diagnosis and proper medical care, a baby should fully recover from the illness.

What Causes Infant Botulism?

Infant botulism is caused by a toxin (a poison) from Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which live in soil and dust. The bacteria can get on surfaces like carpets and floors and also can contaminate honey. That's why babies younger than 1 year old should never be given honey.

These bacteria are harmless to older kids and adults. That's because their mature digestive systems can move the toxins through the body before they cause harm.

Infant botulism usually affects babies who are 3 weeks to 6 months old. But all babies are at risk for it until their first birthday.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Infant Botulism?

Babies with infant botulism might have:

  • constipation (often the first sign that parents notice)
  • weak facial muscles that makes their face look "flat"
  • a weak cry
  • weak muscles in the arms, legs, and neck
  • breathing problems
  • trouble swallowing with a lot of drooling

They also might not feed well or move as much as usual.

How Is Infant Botulism Diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose infant botulism by asking about the baby's symptoms. They'll do an exam, and might order tests to see how the baby's muscles are working.

How Is Infant Botulism Treated?

Babies with infant botulism need care in a hospital, usually in the intensive care unit (ICU). The health care team will try to limit the problems the toxin causes in the baby's body.

Doctors treat infant botulism with an antitoxin called botulism immune globulin intravenous (BIGIV). They give this to babies as soon as possible. Babies with botulism who get BIGIV recover sooner and spend less time in the hospital than babies who don't.

If the toxin affects the breathing muscles, a baby might need to use a breathing machine (ventilator) for a few weeks until they get stronger. It also can affect the swallowing muscles, so babies usually need intravenous (IV) fluids or feedings through a tube to get nourishment.

Can Infant Botulism Be Prevented?

Experts don't know why some infants get botulism while others don't.

One way to reduce the risk of botulism is to not give infants honey or any processed foods with honey before their first birthday. Honey is a proven source of the bacteria. If you have questions about other products to avoid, ask your doctor.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD

Date reviewed: February 2020

When Is It OK for Babies to Eat Honey?

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

In this Article

  • Symptoms of Botulism
  • Nutritional Information About Honey
  • Benefits of Honey
  • Types of Honey

You may have heard about some of the benefits of honey. Parents looking for an alternative to sugar often turn to honey as a more natural choice. However, you should not give honey to your baby if they are under the age of one. Honey can cause botulism, which is a type of food poisoning, in babies under one year old. Babies should not have honey in any form, even cooked in baked goods.

Learn about the dangers of giving honey to babies and when it's safe for your baby to eat honey. When given at the right age, honey can be a part of your child's healthy diet. 

Symptoms of Botulism

Giving honey to babies under 12 months has been associated with a rare, but serious, condition called infant botulism. Infant botulism is caused by exposure to the spores of a bacteria. Clostridium botulinum bacteria spores can grow and multiply in your baby's intestines. This produces a dangerous toxin that causes infant botulism. 

Infant botulism occurs most often in babies under six months old. Most adults and older children have defenses in their intestines that prevent the spores from germinating and reproducing. Honey is not the only source of the spores that cause botulism. These spores can also be present in soil or dust. The symptoms of infant botulism can be mild or severe and can include: 

  • Overall weakness or floppiness
  • Slow feeding
  • Constipation
  • Loss of facial expression
  • Reduced gag reflex

Nutritional Information About Honey

Because honey is a natural sweetener, many people think it's healthier than sugar. Honey does contain trace amounts of:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Electrolytes
  • Enzymes
  • Amino acids
  • Flavonoids

However, to get the benefits of these nutrients, you would have to eat far more honey than is healthy. Honey is a sugar and is high in calories. Honey is considered an added sugar, so it should be eaten in moderation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you not give children under the age of 2 any added sugars at all. The sugar that naturally occurs in fruits, whole grains, beans, or dairy is not considered added sugar. These natural sugars are necessary for your baby to grow and develop. Added sugars may be labeled as sucrose, dextrose, and, yes, honey. These are associated with a higher risk of insulin resistance, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes. 

Once your toddler is two, the AAP recommends they have no more than 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugars daily. Honey can be used in place of sugar as long as it doesn't exceed the recommended amount. 

Benefits of Honey

Cough suppressant. One clear benefit of honey is how effective it is as a cough suppressant. In a study of 105 children ages 2 to 18 who had upper respiratory infections, honey was more effective at relieving nighttime coughing than cough medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the AAP recommend honey as a natural and effective cough suppressant. 

Wound healing. Honey has also been shown to be effective in treating some wounds and burns. Honey has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown honey to be as effective as conventional treatments for acute wounds and superficial partial-thickness burns. However, more studies will need to be done to recommend it for medical use. 

Types of Honey

There are over 300 types of honey. You can buy honey that is either raw or pasteurized. Unlike some raw foods, raw honey is considered safe to eat for children over 12 months old. Raw honey is the least processed type of honey and probably has the most nutrients. Honey's flavor and color change depending on the type of plants that bees used to make it.  

Some of the different types of honey include: 

  • Acacia honey. This light honey has a floral scent but doesn't change the taste of foods you use it in.
  • Clover honey. This is the most common type of honey in the US. It's a light honey with a sweet taste. It has a bit of a bitter aftertaste. 
  • Buckwheat honey. This is dark, full-flavored honey that is good in marmalade. This is also the type of honey that was used in the study as a cough suppressant.  

Manuka honey. This is a dark honey that is made from the Manuka bush in New Zealand. It contains antioxidants, along with antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has been used topically to treat burns, cuts, and sores. 

Breastfeeding newborns | Medela

Nommsen-Rivers, L.A., Chantry, C.J., Peerson, J.M., Cohen, R.J. & Dewey, K.G. Delayed onset of lactogenesis among first-time mothers is related to maternal obesity and factors associated with ineffective breastfeeding. Am J Clin . Nutr 92, 574–584 (2010). - Nommsen-Rivers L.A., Chantry S.J., Pearson J.M., Cohen R.J., Dewey C.J., "Delayed onset of lactogenesis in primiparous mothers is associated with obesity and factors associated with ineffective breastfeeding." Am J Klin Nutr 92, 574–584 (2010).

Berra, S. et al. Correlates of breastfeeding duration in an urban cohort from Argentina. Acta Paediatr . 92, 952–957 (2003). - Berra S. et al., Correlates of duration of breastfeeding among Argentine urban women. Akta Pediatr. 92, 952–957 (2003).

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Murray, E.K., Ricketts, S. & Dellaport, J. Hospital practices that increase breastfeeding duration: results from a population-based study. Birth 34, 202–211 (2007). - Murray, I.K., Ricketts, S., and Dellaport, J., "Hospital practices that increase breastfeeding duration: Findings from a population-based study." Bers 34, 202-211 (2007).

Chen, D.C., Nommsen-Rivers, L. , Dewey, K.G. & Lonnerdal, B. Stress during labor and delivery and early lactation performance. Am . J . Clin . Nutr . 68, 335–344 (1998). — Chen D.S., Nommsen-Rivers L., Dewey K.G. and Lonnerdahl B., "Stress during childbirth and early onset of lactation." Am J Klin Nutr 68, 335–344 (1998).

Hill, P.D., Aldag, J.C., Chatterton, R.T., Zinaman, M. Comparison of Milk Output Between Mothers of Preterm and Term Infants: The First 6 Weeks After Birth. J Hum Lact 2005, 21(1): 22-30. - Hill P.D., Aldag J.S., Chatterton R.T., Zinaman M., "Comparison of the amount of milk in mothers of full-term and premature babies in the first 6 weeks after birth." J Hum Lakt (Journal of the International Association of Lactation Consultants) 2005, 21(1): 22-30.

Hill, P.D., Aldag, J.C. & Chatterton, R.T. Initiation and frequency of pumping and milk production in mothers of non-nursing preterm infants. J Hum Lact 17, 9–13 (2001). - Hill P.D., Aldag J.S. and Chatterton, R.T., "Onset and frequency of expression and milk production in mothers who have given birth to premature babies and have not breastfed them." J Hum Lakt (Journal of the International Association of Lactation Consultants) 17, 9-13 (2001).

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Parker, L.A., Sullivan, S., Krueger, C., Kelechi, T. & Mueller, M. Effect of early breast milk expression on milk volume and timing of lactogenesis stage II among mothers of very low birth weight infants : a pilot study. J Perinatol 32, 205–209 (2012). - Parker L.A., Sullivan S., Krueger S., Kelechi T. and Muller M., "Effect of early pumping on milk supply and timing of the second stage of lactogenesis in mothers of extremely low birth weight infants: a pilot study". Zh Perinatol (Journal of Perinatology) 32, 205–209 (2012).

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Learn to use a pacifier - we teach your baby to the nipple with Philips

Done! After carefully weighing the pros and cons, you have decided that your child needs a pacifier. However, like most parents, you probably don't fully understand where to start. You ask yourself a lot of questions. At what age should a baby be given a pacifier? What should I do to get my baby to take a pacifier? In this article you will find answers to these and other questions that interest you.

We will tell you in detail how to use the pacifier. Armed with our tips and advice, you can give a pacifier to a newborn baby without experiencing unnecessary fears and doubts.

when can it be given a dummy to Nov.

Not sure when to start using a pacifier? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a baby should only be given a pacifier after he or she has learned to breastfeed, usually around three to four weeks of age.

Most natural breastfed babies tolerate a pacifier well. However, there are concerns that early use of a pacifier may cause feeding difficulties. In this regard, experts recommend starting to use a pacifier only after the method and scheme of feeding a child is debugged 1 .

How to introduce a child to a dummy

If you think that it is time to accustom a child to a dummy, our tips will help you do this as efficiently:

1. Dummies do not replace the meal

if you are breastfeed, it is important to strictly observe the established feeding regimen. In other words, you should not give your baby a pacifier instead of food or to delay feeding. Breastfeeding produces hormones that can mimic satiety, so only use a pacifier to satisfy your baby's sucking reflex after feedings or during sleep.

2. How to make the baby take a dummy: do not force events 9020 you have to force him. The pacifier is designed to soothe the baby and help him relax when he is overexcited or in need of suckling.

3. Never tie the pacifier

Do not hang the pacifier around your child's neck, arm or crib. There is a great solution - a toy with an Ultra Soft pacifier. The baby can easily hold it on its own. In addition, the pacifier can be easily removed if you need to wash it.

4. Put the sugar and honey away in the cupboard

Just give your child a clean pacifier. The use of sweeteners, sugar and honey can lead to the development of dental caries in a child.

Learn more