Why should we avoid giving honey to babies?
One of the key foods to avoid giving your baby who is less than one year old is honey. And that means honey in any form, including corn syrup, maple syrup, etc. The reason is that honey may contain spores of bacteria, known as Clostridium botulinum, that can grow inside your baby's intestines and produce toxins, which results in botulism. This is a form of food poisoning that can be serious, and potentially fatal. Most infants under twelve months of age have not developed immunity against this type of bacteria. After one year of age, or when a baby is eating solid food, honey and similar foods can be introduced into his diet. If you suspect your baby has been fed honey, the risk of infant botulism is low but, as a precaution, look for general signs or symptoms which typically include:
• General weakness
• Lack of facial expressions
• Lack of head control
• Weak cry
• Poor sucking reflex
• Difficulty feeding
• Lethargic or limp appearance
Most products containing honey are labeled, to warn consumers. But they don't always specify that infants should not be fed honey. So, parents should be cautious and carefully inspect the ingredients listed on food labels. They should also be wary of any baked goods that may contain honey. When in doubt, always consult your pediatrician as an added precaution.
|Dr. Aliza A. Lifshitz, Editor in Chief and Principal of VidaySalud.com, is a renowned physician, author and health reporter. Dr. Lifshitz is the public face of the Univisión television network's Peabody Award-winning health initiative Entérate: Salúd es Vida. She also appears on the network's Primer Impacto, the top rated Spanish-language television news magazine. Her live call-in program, El Consultorio de la Dra. Aliza, airs weekly on the Univisión Radio network. Dr. Lifshitz writes regular monthly columns for People en Español and for Ser Padres. Her weekly column in La Opinión is syndicated in Spanish-language newspapers throughout the country. Her monthly column in the Vista bilingual supplement runs in 29 newspapers nationwide. She also authored the first bilingual guide to pregnancy and childbirth, Healthy Mother, Healthy Baby.|