Child holding honey dipper above a bowl of honey

Honey can contain a bacteria called C. botulinum. When this bacteria enters a baby’s digestive system it can cause a serious illness called infant botulism.

Babies with infant botulism can develop muscle weakness, difficulty breathing and other symptoms. It is important to protect your baby from this illness by avoiding honey. 

What do I need to do? 
For babies under 12 months:

  • Do not give honey or add honey to food or formula

  • Do not give processed food made with honey, such as graham wafers or cereal containing honey. Check the ingredients list for honey.

  • Do not dip soother in honey

Pasteurization does not kill C. botulinum, so both pasteurized and unpasteurized honey must be avoided.  

Can I give my older child honey?
After 12 months of age, a healthy child’s tummy is mature enough that they can have honey without causing harm. If your child is immunocompromised, speak to your health care provider about honey.

If I am breastfeeding, can I safety eat honey?
Yes. It is safe for breastfeeding mothers to eat honey because C. botulinum is not transferred through breastmilk.  

Where can I get more information? 
You can learn more about infant botulism on Canada.ca.


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