Is honey good for a baby?

Can you give babies honey in their first year of life?

Again and again one hears recommendations to sweeten beverages for babies with honey or to coat the nipples with honey before breastfeeding. However, this must be strictly warned!

Unprocessed honey can contain certain bacteria (Clostridium botulinum) and spores that infect the infant's gastrointestinal tract and find ideal conditions for reproduction in the oxygen-free environment of the digestive tract. The botulism bacteria form a poison that is absorbed into the body through the intestinal lining. The consequences of this food poisoning, known as "infant botulism", include paralysis of the breathing and swallowing muscles, which can lead to death.

During the first year of life, the intestinal flora is still in the development stage. That is why it is particularly easy for pathogenic germs such as clostridia to settle and exert harmful effects.

For these reasons, honey in its pure, unprocessed form should not be given to infants during the first twelve months of life. Thanks to their more stable intestinal flora, older children and adults do not need to be afraid of germs in untreated honey.

Industrially produced complementary foods, e.g. porridge, sometimes contain honey, but this has been processed, i.e. heated to over 100-120 ° C. The botulism bacteria and spores do not survive these temperatures. So there is nothing to worry about here.