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I've been reading the Hibernation Diet thread and noticed today there's a new thread on honey. So I've got honey on the brain


Anyway, I remembered a news article (I think one of those news blurbs from reuters or on babycanter.com) from a few years ago that suggested that actually it is ok to feed honey to under-1s and that there's more botulism in soil than in honey. My dd1 was 13mos and I was immediately irritated that I could have fed her honey sooner.


So this isn't the article I originally read, but it is from around the same time (I think). http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...health.society

Here's a good paragraph: In other words, there is something slightly crazy about the blanket warning against honey as a baby food in a world which sees little wrong in feeding babies rusks thick with vegetable oil and yoghurts laced with sugar. There is also an irony in our current view that honey is unsuitable for infants, given that for most of human history, honey was seen as the most suitable food for newborns, after milk. As it says in Isaiah 7, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good."

If you read the article, it does seem like it depends on where you live as to the risk of botulism that might be in honey. She also says that the highest risk is for under 6 mos, when they should only have milk anyway.
 

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Its funny I was just thinking about this as my 5.5 m/o has a nasty wet cough. DH suggested honey (raw of course) It works great for the other kids when they have coughs. I said "No, don't you remember, no honey till 1 yr!"
Now I'm curious......
:
 

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I admit I haven't researched the heck out of it but I found enough to make me hesitate giving it to a child < 1 year. When it comes to stuff like this, it's a pretty straightforward cost-benefit equation. What is the benefit of giving honey to an infant? What are the risks? Well the only thing in the benefit column is the potential antimicrobial properties of honey. But if you're breastfeeding, you've got nature's BEST antibiotic (and that includes being able to squirt some in the nose or ear etc.). On the risk side, you have botulism, which is rare but horrible, and you also have giving something very sweet to a baby who frankly should be satisfying her craving for sweets by nursing, and solid foods should be fruits, veggies, simple (whole) grains, and the like, not sweeteners no matter how natural, kwim? Anyway, given all this my feeling is that the scale tips HARD against giving an infant honey.
 

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I am no expert, but I talked to a local honey farmers, and asked him about honey for infants. He said that it was his understanding that it is a problem with large scale farmers that harvest at the wrong time. By harvesting early, you run the risk of moisture and a great environment for botulism. The farmer I get my honey from harvests at the right time, and I don't worry about giving honey to my infant.

My husband is Native American, and it is an old tradition passed on for generations to give the newborn a spoon of honey usually administered by the grandmother. We did this, and my daughter is is healthy as can be. Still we don't use much sweetener at all. She only had honey a few times before she turned a year. We prefer the taste of maple syrup.

I am not saying it is ok for moms to give their babies honey, but just writing my personal experiences.
 

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Wow, that's interesting. Although.. depending on what translation you're using, mine says, "He shall eat curds and honey WHEN he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good." Although I don't know what age that would be.

It does strike me really cool that Jesus was brought up on curds and honey though :)
 

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How interesting - I just read Isaiah 7 in my daily scripture reading today


As the mama above just said, some translations are a bit clearer:

New International Translation, Isaiah 7:14-16
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

New Living Translation, Isaiah 7:14-16
14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us'). 15 By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey. 16 For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.

Back to the question of honey for infants - a few years ago the FDA's "rule" on this subject was no honey for infants under 6 months. It has since been moved up to 1 year (somewhat abitrarily, in my opinion). Maybe next year their recommendation will be 18 months - who knows? Anyway, the idea is just that at some point a child's body is able to conquer the botulism spores, in the event that the honey contains any. I don't know any more about it than that.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Taedareth View Post
New International Translation, Isaiah 7:14-16
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right. 16 But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

New Living Translation, Isaiah 7:14-16
14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us'). 15 By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey. 16 For before the child is that old, the lands of the two kings you fear so much will both be deserted.
And the Catholic Study Edition of the Good News Bible, 1976, translates Isaiah 7:14-16 as:
14 Well then, the Lord himself will give you a sign: a young woman who is pregnant will have a son and will name him "Immanuel". 15 By the time he is old enough to make his own decisions, people will be drinking milk and eating honey. 16 Even before that time comes, the lands of those two kings who terrify you will be deserted.

So in this translation, there's nothing at all about babies in ancient times eating honey! Confusing isn't it, all the different translations of the bible - and that one word "people" instead of "he" totally changes the meaning and not being a biblical scholar I have no idea about which translation would be correct (if any!).

Personally, I'm with the PP who wrote about weighing up risks vs benefits and I'm a believer in it's better to be safe than sorry.
 

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this is funny, this topic just came up in a thread in LWAB regarding food introduction in different cultures.

ayurveda calls for newborns to have honey with Swarna Basma (an ayurvedic preparation) to boost the immune system. so clearly many cultures historically gave honey to infants.

the thing is that, in modern times when you figure what kind of honey the average person has access to, not only is it probably dangerous because of botulism but it's also heavily processed which means many of the health benefits are non-existant, so there's really not much reason to risk it.

i buy good quality, local, unprocessed honey (and hope to have our own bees in the next few years) but still i have not ever found much need to contemplate giving honey to a baby. usually my babies get less sick than anyone else due to the goodness of mama's milk, and i'm not sure at any rate that a baby could swallow a spoonful of honey or drink enough tea with honey dissolved in it to see too much of a benefit anyway.

but we use honey medicinally a lot for the older kids to help soothe sore throats, to put on cuts and scrapes and burns and such, and i take it daily to keep my pollen-driven allergies at bay.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pixiepunk View Post
but we use honey medicinally a lot for the older kids to help soothe sore throats, to put on cuts and scrapes and burns and such, and i take it daily to keep my pollen-driven allergies at bay.
Does it work for that, btw? One of my relatives has an awful time every spring due to allergies, and eating local raw honey does nothing to help
 

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Originally Posted by Taedareth View Post
Does it work for that, btw? One of my relatives has an awful time every spring due to allergies, and eating local raw honey does nothing to help

It works so well for cuts. My husband has a rare skin condition where he cuts open easily, and he just puts honey on, and he is good to go. He heals in about a day!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Taedareth View Post
Back to the question of honey for infants - a few years ago the FDA's "rule" on this subject was no honey for infants under 6 months. It has since been moved up to 1 year (somewhat abitrarily, in my opinion). Maybe next year their recommendation will be 18 months - who knows? Anyway, the idea is just that at some point a child's body is able to conquer the botulism spores, in the event that the honey contains any. I don't know any more about it than that.
I always thought it was 1, but DH came back from a food safety course last week (for work), and told me "no honey til 2". I don't know if this is what's recommended in Canada now, or if that's just what they told him to be on the "safe side"...interesting though!


Melanie
 

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Yeah I've heard no honey til 2 as well. Whoops, darn.

The problem is the botulism spores, which can be in honey (I think they occur naturally in soil, and the bees inadvertently transfer them to the honey). In the relatively non-acidic gut of an infant they can start growing into actual botulism (and it's true this can happen from eating soil as well). As infants age the acid in their stomachs becomes strong enough to kill the botulism spores and it's not an issue.

There are certainly regional differences - the Mediterranean is bad for it, I think, and parts of Quebec and the eastern seaboard, and Russia. There has never been a recorded instance of botulism spores west of the Rockies (or hadn't been last I checked) but I'm inclined to agree with Periwinkle on the whole risk/benefit thing. Unless it's a cultural thing, I don't see any reason to give an infant honey.
 

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Originally Posted by spughy View Post
Unless it's a cultural thing, I don't see any reason to give an infant honey.
I don't want anyone to think that because we give honey to our DD it is fine for them. It is a culture thing, and I still have a hard time with it.

It just drives me crazy that honey is counted as a unsafe food at all, when it is so amazing. They keep changing the age. Crazy!!!!!! Makes me wonder how real it is. Do they know for sure that the infants that had botulism got it from honey?

Or is it brainwashing like "raw milk is bad" thing? And raw almonds are bad?
Raw milk is safe as long as it is from healthy cows. Raw almonds are safe as long as they are organic. The ecol i was only from non organic almonds. Maybe honey is fine as long as it is from healthy bees? But how can you control bees?

Sorry, just ranting. Maybe we can have more discussion from my insanity.
 

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Originally Posted by bluebirdmama1 View Post
Maybe honey is fine as long as it is from healthy bees? But how can you control bees?
It's nothing to do with the health of the bees, it's the region they forage in, AFAIK. So there's nothing you can do about it.

Here are some documented cases (no dates, oddly).

Some general info about rates of contamination and illness.

And here's how the spores get into honey.

And apparently I was wrong about it not occurring west of the Rockies, some Washington honey tested positive in 1978.
 

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I never knew you weren't allowed to give babies honey until I met DH. One of his co-workers had a huge scar on his stomach. It was from being fed honey and needing surgery. I didn't get into too much detail with him, so I'm not sure why surgery was required. So, I think that while the consequences can be severe, it's very, very, rare.
 

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Originally Posted by Taedareth View Post
Does it work for that, btw? One of my relatives has an awful time every spring due to allergies, and eating local raw honey does nothing to help

well, it seems to work well on my allergies. but i also take an infusion (that i started when pregnant with #3 per my m/w's recommendation) and that infusion contains nettles (it's NORA tea - nettles oatstraw RRL and alfalfa). and that definitely helps too -it's hard to say if either would work independently of the other, as i do it together. oh, and i also use a neti pot whenever i'm outside for a long stretch and it's a high pollen day.

i do know one person, though, who didn't do anything but the local honey and has seen relief from his allergies that even allergy shots didn't provide. i imagine it has a good bit to do with what pollens you're allergic to, and whether the honey you get was made by bees who had access to that kind of flowering plant, kwim?
 
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