Can I Eat Honey While Breastfeeding? The Surprising Truth

  • By: Katie
  • Date: April 14, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Can I eat honey while breastfeeding? If so, how much is ok to eat and what kind of honey can I eat?

These questions have probably been gnawing at you and given that we’re talking about a natural product that may contain contaminants or unlisted ingredients, it’s not surprising that want to know the answers.

Can Breastfeeding Mothers Eat Honey?

Yes, nursing mothers can eat honey. However, infants under the age of 1 should avoid ingesting honey in al forms, as it may contain bacteria that can cause botulism.

Honey is a great source of nutrients for both mother and baby while you are breastfeeding, so there is no need to worry about missing out on its benefits. It’s also used as a home remedy for sore throat.

What Are the Health Benefits of Honey While Breastfeeding?

Healthy eating is important for both the mother and baby. Honey can be a healthy addition to a breastfeeding diet and makes a great replacement for sugar or sweeteners.

It can also help soothe a sore throat. However, honey should not be given to a baby under one year old.

What Are the Risks of Eating Honey While Breastfeeding?

Honey can be a great natural and healthy sweetener along with 100% pure maple syrup, but it’s important to know the risks before you eat honey while breastfeeding.

The risks of honey apply more to babies under the age of 1 ingesting directly; Children under 2122 months shouldn’t have any honey at all.

Infant Botulism

There are two main types of botulism: wound and food-borne. Wound botulism occurs when the spores enter through a break in the skin, while food-borne botulism occurs when contaminated food is ingested.

Honey ingested by the mother should not be a risk to the breastfed child, however a nursing mother can further reduce any risk by choosing not to ingest raw honey, due to the risk of infant botulism in a baby.

Infant botulism is a serious illness that can cause paralysis. Botulism spores (Clostridium botulinum) are found in soil and dust. It is also found in the skins of fruits and vegetables as well as in canned goods such as canned light tuna.

When botulinum spores get into the large intestine of a nursing baby, they can grow and produce botulinum toxin that affects the nervous system. A baby is particularly susceptible to botulism spores because the gut flora of her digestive system is not yet fully developed.

Botulinum toxin can cause muscle weakness and loss of muscle tone. In severe cases, respiratory failure may occur.

Botulism Doesn’t Pass Through Breast Milk

The gastrointestinal tract of a breastfeeding mother has enough acidity to kill botulism-causing bacteria that may be present in raw honey. Additionally, the mother’s body will neutralize the botulism spore. This means that the bacterial spores don’t enter the blood stream.

Additionally, the immune system of breastfeeding women is much better equipped to deal with these bacteria than that of a baby.

For these reasons, it is very unlikely for the bacteria to pass through the mother’s milk.

However, it is still important for a nursing mother to take precautions against botulism, so you may prefer to avoid raw honey, only choosing good quality pasteurized honey. And keep in mind that you can’t feed honey directly to your baby.

Bee-related Allergy

Another potential risk of eating honey while breastfeeding is allergies. Allergies to honey are quite rare. But they do happen to people who are sensitive to pollen and regularly have low blood sugar. If this is the case, you should avoid honey to prevent other bee-related allergies and talk to your healthcare provider about when you can safely eat honey again.

Does Honey Affect Breast Milk Supply?

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that honey has any effect on the breastmilk supply of nursing mothers. However, some nursing moms believe that consuming honey can help increase their breast milk production; we’ve prepared a list of Foods to Increase Breast Milk Supply to help you if you’re worried about your supply.

If you want to take honey while breastfeeding, you need to know that there are a few factors to consider when choosing good quality honey for consumption.

As a breastfeeding mother, you want to make sure that the honey you consume is of the highest quality. Here are a few tips on how to choose organic honey:

  • Check the label. Make sure that the honey you’re buying is certified organic. This means that it’s free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
  • Organic honey should be a light amber color. If it’s darker, it may have been processed with chemicals.
  • Organic honey should have a mild, sweet flavor. If it’s too sweet or has a strong flavor, it may have been adulterated with sugar or other sweeteners.
  • Organic honey is usually more expensive than regular honey. But, it’s worth the extra cost to know that you’re getting a product that’s free of harmful chemicals.

What Is Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is made from the nectar of the manuka plant found in New Zealand. The honey has a darker color and a stronger flavor than other types of honey. It has been used for centuries by the Maori people of New Zealand for its medicinal properties.

Today, manuka honey is gaining popularity around the world for its health benefits. Some of its most well-known benefits include its ability to fight infections, heal wounds, and boost gut health. Additionally, it is said to improve skin health, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity.

Conclusion

Can nursing moms eat honey? It’s a question every nursing mother has, and the answer is simple. Yes! There are some precautions to take if you want to consume natural sources of sugar without harming your baby. This article outlines the benefits of consuming organic honey for breastmilk supply, skin health, immunity-boosting, and gut health.

FAQ

What Other Foods You Should Avoid While Breastfeeding?

Certain foods should be avoided while breastfeeding, such as unpasteurized dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, chicken salad, tuna salad, acidic foods, smoked seafood, egg salad sandwiches, meat spreads, hot dogs, deli meats, strong-flavored foods and spicy and gassy foods.

These foods often cause problems in lactating women as well as pregnant women so they should not eat foods listed above. The US Food & Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have a whole list of these foods to avoid as well.

Other food to avoid includes those that contain artificial sweeteners and those with high-sugar content.
We’ve written a handy guide about foods to avoid while breastfeeding, along with some tips about foods to eat after giving birth.