In India, giving honey at birth is a traditional practice. My mum, her mum, they all did it. I was given honey at birth. But now that we’re in an age of more information and more awareness, I found out that honey actually in the first year of life is not a good idea.
My pediatrician, Dr Benny Benjamin addresses my concern by saying “Honey is not advised in the first year because of contamination with botulinum toxin”
Thanks to access to a lot of information, parents today are not blindly doing things that were being done by the forefathers. We owe this to google, don’t we? As a new age mom, I prefer researching a lot of what I do with my kids and so do many other fellow moms.
On reading more about botulinum toxin, I understood that (purely, my interpretation)
- The toxin causes ‘Infant Botulism’ which can lead to food poisoning affecting the lower digestive tract of the infant because the digestive system is not mature as yet. It is mostly ready by 12 to 18 months of age.
- It is a neurotoxic protein which prevents the release of neurotransmitter acetylcholine from axon endings at the neuromuscular junction and thus causes flaccid paralysis.
BIG ALARM ringing in my head!
If you’d want detailed information about the above please click here
However, post 18 months of life honey certainly has enormous benefits for children like the following.
- It is a good substitute for sugar as it is a natural sweetener.
- Honey mixed with basil and pepper is my first solution to battle cold and cough for my 4 year old.
- It is a good source of amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
I asked a few moms about their thoughts on how could we incorporate honey in our toddler’s diet and this is what one of the moms had to share this :
Quoting Shanthala T Medappa , who is originally from Coorg, a new mom and a yoga practitioner “In Coorg we give honey to infants, sometimes as young as 3 months or even younger, in various forms, mixed with pure butter and a bit of nutmeg. Also mixed with the juice of basil or black pepper powder to treat a cold. Its an integral part of the cuisine. As children turn a year old and start having regular food, we start them off on our local staples like rice roti, butter & honey for breakfast etc”.
Shanthala also is passionate about the subject because she runs a home based gourmet store – Old Mercara in Chennai, under which she makes organic peanut butter, jams, compotes, honey etc in small batches, using the best and authentic organic ingredients.
Conclusively, taking my doctor’s opinion I’d wait for 18 months for my baby to get all the benefits she can from nature’s gift to mankind, while my 4 year old relishes the Old Mercara honey for breakfast everyday. In the end, to each his own and what mamma decides is the best for the baby 🙂
Moina is an enthusiastic mom to two pretty girls. Apart from blogging, she loves to cook, travel, write, paint and contribute to her environment in whatever way possible. Originally from Mumbai, Moina now lives in Chennai with her family.