Tuesday, May 8, 2012

aww Honey Honey

I had a guest post over on SuperNOVAmommy about letting the small stuff go as a parent. One of the things I listed was the fact my daughter had been fed honey in Greece and people completely flipped out over it.

The whole point of the post was to share some occasions that parenting didn't go exactly as planned. I'm 100% sure that if you have a child, this has happened to you. I'm also 100% sure that if you are a parent you've judged another parent on these occasions.

I'm not here to say judging is wrong because it's natural and it happens. I'm judging you right now. I probably think your shoes are ugly and that obviously makes you a horrible person.

When Zoe is attached to one of those baby leashes because she runs away from me and I can't chase her because I have MS - people are going to judge me so hard their brains explode.

If I were healthy, we wouldn't need one of those. But I rather have a living child than a pancake, so I will be happy with the other 99 decisions I made the past week and tolerate this one. People won't know all the thought that went into making this decision. They will only "know" that I am a horrible person and leashes are for dogs, and the baby store should have never sold me that baby.

But back to botulism! Oh, we weren't talking about botulism? We are now.

We're pretty conscientious, knowledgeable, educated parents. I would even say we are sciency - that's right.

We are a made up word.


My husband is a science teacher and I have a doctorate in a medical profession. We are of a scientific nature. We care about scientific things. We like to read scientific facts and research before we go freaking out over something. Fine, whatever. We are nerds. Which is why I have to talk about this botulism thing.

Some people are bothered that I let Zoe eat honey. For those of you who haven't recently had a baby, honey is now on the no fly list before the age of 1.  

FACT: There is a disease called botulism

FACT: It is caused by a spore-forming organism (Clostridium botulinum) that is commonly found in nature

FACT: Most of the cases of infant botulism are caused from inhaling microscopic dust particles that carry the spores

  • Parents do not like it when they can't do anything to prevent a disease from happening, so we have to keep going.

FACT: Honey can contain Clostridium botulinum
FACT: You don't have to feed your baby honey

Parents win! All they hear is, "honey will kill your baby."

There is something you can do to protect your child from this incredibly obscure, rarely fatal disease. Honey became the bad guy because it is a food substance that Clostridium botulinum has been traced to.

And on a personal note...

FACT: Clostridium botulinum has been found in honey from the United States, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Japan, and Central America

FACT: Greece is not on the above list

FACT: Greek honey is delicious

So yes. If you are caring for an infant, you should probably avoid feeding them raw honey because it has occasionally been linked to a disease that rarely has any long term complications. Let's be serious about things. Is this something you should be horribly afraid of? Absolutely not. Your baby is more likely to be attacked by a pack of wolves.

Ok, that last part I made up. But, all other info is from the CDC, NIH, and Infant Botulism Treatment and Prevention Program.

More fun facts for nerds!
  • There are approximately 77 cases of infant botulism in the US a year
  • They are most susceptible under 6 months of age
  • Mean age of onset is 13 weeks, with a range from 1 to 63 weeks
  • Honey has been the known cause of botulism in only 35 instances worldwide (the toxin of the spore in the infected individual matched the toxin in the ingested honey)
  • Botulism rarely has any long-term side effects and death is an uncommon complication 
  • Clostridium botulinum is heat-labile meaning it breaks down when heated to a certain temperature. Heating food with honey to a cooking temperature of 80°C/176°F for 10 minutes greatly decreases any risk.


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