When can babies safely eat honey?


Babies should not take any type of honey, Manuka or breakfast for example, until they are at least 12 months old.

This is because honey contains spores of a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which can develop in the baby’s immature digestive system, which in extremely rare cases can cause infant botulism which can be fatal.

Once the baby has passed its first birthday the intestine contains microorganisms that stop the bacteria from growing.

However, even after one years old the intake of honey for a small child should be sparingly.  This is because of the high natural sugar content and the child’s growing milk teeth.

That said however, many parents choose to include Manuka Honey in their child’s diet in order to help keep the child healthy and fight off the myriad of coughs and colds a small child picks up from everyday life.

If you are considering giving Manuka Honey to your child – who is over 1 years old – then opt for an Active 12+ honey, giving them 1 teaspoon a day.  This will help the child’s body create general well-being.  Mixed into their breakfast cereal is usually the easiest way – my niece for example has a teaspoon of Queen Bee Manuka Honey (as it’s a sweeter tasting honey compared with usual Manuka Honey) every morning mixed into her Weetabix or porridge.

17 thoughts on “When can babies safely eat honey?”

  1. so, manuka is good because it is anti-bacterial yet I shouldn’t give it to an under one because of “a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum”?

    surely, either manuka isn’t anit-bacterial or it is so I can give it to under ones? Perhaps I’ve fallaciously applied the law of the excluded middle? I hope someone can enlighten me because currently I’m thinking if this honey can not be given to under ones then it’s not worth anyone having it for anti-bacterial purposes.

    1. Hi Jim

      Thanks for your comments – sorry it’s so late, I’ve actually been on holiday (escaping the rain and wish I was back there!!).

      With regards to your question, Manuka honey is high in anti-bacterial properties which is suitable and extremely effective in adults but children under the age of one have a very delicate immune systems that are still developing so they cannot take / tolerate the high level of active enzymes in any honey but particularly Manuka honey as it is so active. It’s almost like, you don’t start kids on solid foods until 6-9 months because their bodies can’t tolerate it.

      Hope that helps!!?!

      Thanks – Michelle

  2. kristen foley


    I am wondering about the use of raw manuka honey (Active 16+) topically on my 6 month old to help heal his eczema/drool rash under his neck and down his chest. Is using it topically safe?

  3. Hi Kristen

    It’s not advised to put ‘neat’ Manuka onto a baby.
    However, the Manuka Intensive Repair Cream you can use – you can buy this at Manuka Honey Direct.co.uk.
    This will act as a barrier cream against the dribble and problems it causes. Plus, with the Manuka in the cream it will also help heal the rash and sore quickly!
    Hope this helps!

    Thanks – Louise

  4. Hi Katrina

    There’s lots of discussions on whether Manuka Honey is suitable for pregnant women because of the amount of Active Enzymes in the Manuka Honey, but I’ve had a chat with the therapist at Manuka Honey Direct to find out his thoughts. He believes that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take Manuka Honey in early pregnancy, in fact he’s had several clients he’s suggested it to in early pregnancy and they’ve been fine.

    On another note, a friend of mine’s daughter is having her first child and she’s been constantly sick. I suggested Manuka Honey lozenges to my friend, and her daughters been taking them for the last week and has now actually got an appetite and is feeling a lot better now (she couldn’t keep anything down).

    If you’re unsure or in any doubt, we’d always suggest speaking with the midwife or your healthcare practioner before taking Manuka Honey. Manuka Honey is natural honey, there’s nothing added to it, it just has significantly more active enzymes than normal breakfast honey. Personally, I know that if I was expecting, I’d be using it….but it works for me with my IBS and I’ve used it before so I’m happy with it.

    I hope this information helps.

    Happy New Year!

  5. Hi
    I have just bought my first jar of manuka 10+ honey…is it safe to give a teaspoon daily to my 14 month old son to prevent against colds, etc. or should i stick with local farmers’ honey daily and only give manuka honey at the first signs of a cold? Basically will my son become immune to its benefits if used on a daily basis? Thanks:)

    1. Hi Jozy
      It is safe to give Manuka Honey (actually any honey as they have the same peroxide activity) to a child of 14 months. The only reason why manufacturers say not under 1 year is because a child’s immune system is very delicate at that stage and there is a very small risk of botulism spores can cause problems.
      I hope this info helps

  6. Hi Michele!
    My wife was late getting home and my son 3 weeks old had drunken all of the pumped breast milk and was crying uncontrollably! So before checking I dipped my finger into our Manuka honey 16+ from New Zealand and took a very very small bit and let him suck it from my finger! So my question is should I be worried, which I am after reading you site! Is there anything I should do? What are the signs it should be looking for? I feel stupid so looking forward to your reply!

  7. Hi, i have a situation for my 7days old child he got his pus when he was 4 days and culture for labtest taken, he was positive to MRSA was diagnosed as MRSA positive.. the doctor told to gove oral antibiotic but that antibiotic will cause gastric irritation and diarrhea, so i searched for an alternative treatment and manuka honey is the best for this mrsa.. can i give my baby manuka honey orally?

  8. Hi, I was wondering if the 18+ Manuka honey I’ve just bought is too high a strength to give to my 15 month old twins? Please could you kindly advise, many thanks! Very much look forward to hearing back from someone 🙂

  9. My 17 month old has a cough and I bought Manuka 16 I tried to give it to him in a teaspoon didn’t work out very well he spit it out. Do you have any tricks to give it to my son, I thought it would help his cough.
    Thank you

  10. Zippy nanny

    I had a baby who was extremely premature 26 years ago this month a little miracle really that he survived he always had a weak chest. From one year plus I diluted manuka honey in his feeding cup with fresh lemon and water, helped keep his chest clear and break up mucas. I know give it to my grandson who is 18 months he didn’t like it at first but know he likes the taste and his chest seems a lot clearer. Trust natural products nature is a gift. Good luck xx

  11. I have started giving my 16 mth Manuka +20 before bed.. Is this too strong ? He has been more unsettled and wakes up.

  12. Hi, my baby is now 1 years old and 4 months. He is having cough and cold for almost 2 weeks. Can I provide him manuka honey? Is it safe?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

sixteen − 10 =