6 Health Benefits of Honey for Babies

Honey is one of nature's most delicious and nutritious foods, packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds. While it may seem counterintuitive to give this sweet treat to infants, honey can actually provide some wonderful health benefits for babies over 1 year old. Here are 6 key reasons to consider adding a little honey to your baby's diet.

Boosts Immunity and Fights Infections

One of the biggest benefits of honey for babies is its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Honey contains hydrogen peroxide, antioxidants, and other compounds that combat viruses, bacteria, and fungi. This makes honey useful for treating coughs, colds, and upper respiratory infections in babies and kids. Research shows honey is an effective cough suppressant and can provide relief from nighttime coughing fits. Some types of honey, like Manuka honey, are especially potent antimicrobials that can inhibit the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA. A honey-coated pacifier or a small spoonful of honey can help soothe sore throats and mouth infections in older babies as well.

Aids Digestion and Treats Stomach Issues

Honey has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, and other digestive issues in infants and children. The natural sugars and compounds in honey help rehydrate the body and promote the growth of good gut bacteria that facilitate digestion. Infants commonly suffer from acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Raw honey helps neutralize acids and reduce stomach acid sensitivity and reflux symptoms. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in honey also help soothe inflammation in the digestive tract and colon. This makes honey an excellent supplementary treatment for colicky babies and infants with irritable bowel.

Boosts Growth & Promotes Healthy Weight Gain

For babies struggling to gain weight and grow normally, honey can provide a much-needed source of easily digestible carbohydrates. The fructose and glucose in honey are simple sugars that are readily absorbed and used for energy by the body. Honey is a great way to increase calories for underweight infants when mixed into breast milk or infant formula. It provides a quick boost of natural sugars and nutrients without the fillers or added sugar found in many commercial weight gain supplements. As a bonus, the antimicrobial properties of honey help combat secondary infections that can occur when babies are frail and underweight.

Promotes Healing of Skin Wounds & Conditions

That same antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory action also makes honey incredibly useful for treating skin conditions in babies. When applied topically, honey helps disinfect and speed up the healing of minor cuts, scrapes, burns, and diaper rash by killing off bacteria and reducing inflammation. The viscous texture of honey also forms a protective barrier over wounds to prevent infection while still allowing healing skin to breathe. Manuka honey, in particular, is an effective treatment for skin infections. For conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and cradle cap, honey's humectant properties help draw moisture into the skin while providing anti-itching relief through its natural enzymes. The antioxidants also help reduce skin damage and scarring from these conditions.

Eases Colic, Gas, and Reflux Symptoms

For excessive crying, gas, acid reflux, and colic in babies, honey can provide soothing relief. The natural sugars and antioxidant compounds help neutralize stomach acids while the enzymes aid in digestion. This can reduce instances of reflux and relieve painful gas bubbles in the baby's digestive tract. The smooth, thick texture of honey helps coat and soothe the oesophagus to ease reflux burn. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects can also calm digestive inflammation which contributes to colic symptoms. Just a small amount of honey mixed into breast milk, formula, water, or smeared on a pacifier can be enough to settle the baby's tummy and end colic episodes.

Eases Colic, Gas, and Reflux Symptoms

Promotes Better Sleep and Calming

Between its natural sugars and amino acids, honey actually produces a mild sedative effect that can help promote better sleep in babies and young children. The fructose and glucose provide a steady supply of energy for the baby's brain and body throughout the night. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in honey, releases serotonin which promotes feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. The natural sugars also regulate levels of orexin, a neurotransmitter that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Serving honey with a small evening snack or milk can help babies fall asleep more easily and get a full night's rest. The calming effects may also ease stress and anxiety that can cause sleeping difficulties and fussiness in infants.



With its versatile nutrients and healing compounds, adding a dollop of honey to your baby's diet can provide natural, whole-food nourishment along with relief for a variety of common childhood ailments.

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1. When can I start giving honey to my baby?

Answer: Honey should not be given to infants under 1 year old due to the risk of infant botulism. It's safe to introduce honey to a baby's diet after their first birthday.

2. How much honey can I give my baby?

Answer: For babies over 1 year old, start with just a small amount of honey, like 1/2 teaspoon or less, and gradually increase the amount as tolerated. 

3. Can honey help with my baby's cough?

Answer: Yes, honey has been shown to be an effective cough suppressant and can provide relief from nighttime coughing fits in babies over 1 year old. A small amount of honey can be given directly or mixed into milk or water.

4. Is honey good for baby's digestion?

Answer: Yes, honey can aid in digestion and treat stomach issues like diarrhea, gastroenteritis, and colic in babies. 

5. Can honey help my baby sleep better?

Answer: Yes, the natural sugars and amino acids in honey can have a mild sedative effect, promoting better sleep and calming in babies and young children.

6. How can honey help with my baby's skin conditions?

Answer: When applied topically, honey's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties can help disinfect and speed up the healing of minor cuts, scrapes, diaper rash, eczema, and cradle cap in babies.

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