Here's What To Do If You Accidentally Gave Your Baby Honey

Here’s What To Do If You Accidentally Gave Your Baby Honey

Being a parent is tough. So much so, that often you may end up giving your baby something to eat that they probably shouldn’t be eating. These are foods that are safe for older children and adults but should probably be kept out of the hands of children. One of the most common foods here is honey. So, what should you do if you have accidentally given your baby honey?

In this article, we’ll walk you through, step by step, what you should do if your baby has eaten honey. Chances are, you probably won’t have to go through all of these steps. In almost every situation, giving a baby honey is nothing to worry about. Your child will be fine.

Table of Contents

Don’t Panic

Firstly, don’t panic.

While giving your baby honey isn’t something that you should really be doing, it isn’t the end of the world. Babies are pretty resilient creatures. 

Now, we won’t lie. There is a danger of infant botulism (more on that soon). However, the danger of this is ridiculously small. In the US, there are just a couple of hundred cases per year of infant botulism, and just a small fraction of those are due to honey consumption.

The older your baby is, the less chance there is of them suffering from the side effects of honey consumption. As your child creeps closer to the age of 1, they are pretty much in the clear.

So, we urge you not to panic. Your baby is almost certainly going to be fine, but you will need to move on to the next step.

Remember, in the future, try to avoid giving your baby anything that contains honey. We do know it can be difficult, though. There are a few drinks that have been flavored with honey, and you may give your baby a cereal that has been flavored with honey. As long as you check the ingredients list, then you will be able to avoid these problems in the future.

Monitor Your Baby

You should be monitoring your baby closely over the next 24-48 hours. Look for a change in their behavior. There are two things that you are on the lookout for.

The first is an allergic reaction to honey, which is likely going to occur within an hour of your baby eating honey (if it is going to happen at all). Your baby may swell up a little (particularly on the lips, tongue, and neck), they may have a weak cry, or they may lose their appetite. 

The real scary thing you want to be on the lookout for, however, is botulism. However, as we said, the risk of this is incredibly low. Still, it is low, but not non-existent. Botulism is a condition caused by the Clostridium Botulinum bacteria, which can be found in honey (among a few other food products). It is highly toxic. An older child and an adult can easily keep the botulism at bay, but a baby cannot.

Signs of baby botulism include:

  • Seriously difficult breathing
  • Constipation
  • Does not want to eat at all
  • Pupils are barely moving.
  • Weak crying
  • Cannot suck easily.
  • Drooping eyelids (known as ptosis)

If any of that happens, then it is serious cause for concern, and you need to move on to the final step. However, most people will observe their child for a couple of days, and there is nothing wrong with them. This is completely normal. The chances of there being any sort of reaction to the honey are going to be so small.

Take Them To The Doctor

If your baby is suffering from an allergic reaction, or you suspect that they have baby botulism, then you need to head to a doctor as soon as possible. In fact, if you can, you should probably make a beeline for the emergency room.

In most cases, an allergic reaction is not going to be dangerous. However, the emergency room will be able to calm it down a little bit. For the future, you will also know that your child is allergic to honey, and they can avoid it.

Potential baby botulism needs to be treated quickly, though. If it isn’t treated quickly, then it could lead to serious consequences, including paralysis and death. However, thankfully, if you have been keeping an eye on your child and know that their behavior or physical appearance has changed, you are probably going to be acting quickly enough to get a treatment for them.

If your baby has potential botulism, then they will be given medication for it. The doctors will do their best to confirm that your baby has botulism beforehand, but because time is critical, current CDC guidelines suggest that they do not have to wait for the confirmation. They can give the medication right away.

If your child has botulism which, once again we stress is unlikely to be the case, they will likely be kept in the hospital for a few days. This way, the doctors will be able to keep an eye on them. If the infant botulism was caught early enough, then the baby will be fine. You may have to sign a couple of forms, because this is a condition that has to be reported to the authorities by the hospital. 

Final Thoughts

If your child has eaten honey accidentally, then it probably isn’t going to be anything that you need to worry about. In most cases, the baby is going to be 100% fine. However, there is always going to be a minor risk of an allergic reaction or botulism. So, if you have given your baby honey, then we suggest that you keep an eye on them for a day or two. If you notice a change in their behavior or the way that they look, then you should get to the hospital as soon as possible. The doctors there will be able to administer any required treatments.

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