Honey is considered to be one of nature’s very best superfoods thanks to its antimicrobial and antiviral properties, not to mention the fact that it’s rich in antioxidants.
But as you probably know, babies under one year of age should not eat honey as it may lead to botulism, which is a type of food poisoning that can be very serious for infants.
Understandably, a lot of women therefore wonder if this sweet superfood should be completely avoided while nursing.
The good news is that moms who breastfeed can indeed safely eat raw honey, because botulism is not transferred via breast milk to your baby.
Let’s find out more.
Can Nursing Mothers Eat Honey?
Experts recommend that babies under one are not given honey, because there’s a small risk infants can catch something called botulism from ingesting raw honey.
Botulism is caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves and causes difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis, and even death.
Honey can occasionally contain the bacteria that causes infant botulism, which is an intestinal form of botulism that can be very dangerous for a baby under 12 months because their immune system is not strong enough to fight off these toxins.
However, these toxins are not able to be passed to your infant via your breast milk, which means women can safely eat raw honey while they are breastfeeding without putting their baby at risk.
The reason why it’s fine for you to eat honey is because an adult’s immune system is developed enough to kill the spores of Clostridium botulinum which can occasionally be found in honey, so there is no risk that botulism toxins will be passed from mom to baby through your breast milk.
So although the bacterial spores that cause infant botulism can occasionally be found in honey, your body would kill the spores off, and even if it didn’t, the spores are still much too big to pass through your body and into your milk supply, further eliminating any risks.
Related: Your Must Have Baby & Toddler Feeding Guide
Can I Eat Manuka Honey While Breastfeeding?
Thanks to its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, manuka honey is one of the most well known (not to mention expensive) types of honey out there.
Among other things manuka honey is used to help treat wounds, soothe a sore throat and even treat ulcers and acne, so if you consume this amazing product, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can still eat manuka honey while breastfeeding.
Can I Drink Honey While Breastfeeding?
Are you a fan of hot water and honey, or do you enjoy the odd honey lemon water while breastfeeding?
If you do like to add honey to your beverages in order to benefit from its medicinal properties or just to improve the taste of your drink, there is no need to alter anything simply because your are nursing, because everything we mentioned above still stands.
So it doesn’t matter whether you eat or drink the honey, or in fact whether the honey is raw, unpasteurized or pasteurized, there’s no risk of passing on toxins to your baby via your breast milk.
Other Safety Considerations
If you or anyone else in your household eats honey while your child is under one, there are a few things you can do to help ensure your baby doesn’t directly come into contact with raw honey, including:
- Wash your hands and surfaces thoroughly if they come into contact with honey.
- Don’t share cutlery with your child if it’s been in contact with food that contains honey – for example if you’re eating yogurt and honey, don’t then use your spoon to feed your infant their breakfast.
- Make sure there are no traces of honey on surfaces that could come into contact with your baby’s mouth, for example on a dining table.