September 2013: 341,000 Babies in the United States Will Turn One and Can Now Enjoy Honey

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National Honey Board teams up with Nurse Barb to create a buzz around first birthday celebrations.

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Welcome to the One-derful World of Honey

“As a mom and a nurse practitioner, I have been using honey in my personal life and recommending honey to my patients and clients," shares Nurse Barb Dehn, RN, MS, NP.

Happy first birthday, honey. September is National Honey Month, and this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, 341,000 babies in the United States will celebrate their first birthday this month. Why are these two facts related?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other health care provider associations recommend that certain foods, including honey, be introduced into a child’s life after age one. Since honey comes directly from nature, it can be a potential source of botulinum spores). After turning one year of age, the child's digestive system may be "grown up" enough to digest honey.

“As a mom and a nurse practitioner, I have been using honey in my personal life and recommending honey to my patients and clients. It is a versatile ingredient from the kitchen pantry to the medicine cabinet, that many families are excited to introduce back into the household,” shares Nurse Barb Dehn, RN, MS, NP.

Research findings have uncovered widespread confusion surrounding the age when babies can eat honey. Through educational outreach, the National Honey Board (NHB) aims to dispel honey misconceptions, explain the benefits of honey and remind parents that honey may be given to babies older than one year of age.

"First birthdays are an exciting milestone for both parents and children, and we're hoping that the introduction of honey into a child's diet is another positive experience," says Catherine Barry, director of marketing for the National Honey Board. "In our research, we found that, in general, moms expressed excitement about rediscovering honey and its uses as a culinary ingredient and as a natural cough suppressant, and want to learn more about honey."

The NHB conducted focus groups and fielded an online nationwide survey of 500 moms with children ages 5 and younger and found a need for honey education. The research showed that moms are nearly as likely to think honey is a potential food allergen as they are to identify its association with bacterial illness (36 percent avoid feeding infants honey because they think it's an allergen, 39 percent avoid honey due to its association with bacterial illness). Only one percent of moms chose "risk of botulism" as a reason to avoid feeding honey to infants. According to the research, more than half (57percent) erroneously think babies should be 2 years or older before feeding them honey. Visit for the research methodology.

The icing on the cake for parents is that honey is a natural cough suppressant. Children less than five years old have four or five upper respiratory infections with cough every year and are leaving parents looking for a natural cough suppressant for their little ones . Emerging research supports that honey also can be used as a natural cough suppressant. A well-cited U.S. study funded by the NHB and conducted by the Penn State College of Medicine found that a small dose of buckwheat honey given before bedtime provided better relief of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children than no treatment or OTC cough medicines containing dextromethorphan.

The NHB’s 2013 Attitude &Usage study showed that among parents, 83 percent of current users and 75 percent of non-purchasers are likely to use honey as a cough suppressant, if suggested by their pediatrician’s office .

To help celebrate honey as a natural cough suppressant, the National Honey Board has teamed up with Nurse Barb Dehn, RN, MS, NP. Nurse Barb has long supported using honey as a natural cough suppressant. “When children are sick with a cough and sore throat, honey is the sweet solution I recommend because it works and tastes great,” she says.

To learn more about honey, and to download an educational PDF, please visit

The National Honey Board (NHB) conducts research, advertising and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey. The National Honey Board is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Visit for more information.

1. Provisional data from the National Vital Statistics System, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC. Retrieved from:


3. Paul, I., Beiler, J., McMonagle, A., Shaffer, M., Duda, L., & Berlin, C. (2007). Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 161(12). Retrieved from

4. National Honey Board, Attitude & Usage Study, 2013. Phone survey of 501 households nationwide, which consisted of men and women between the ages of 21 nd 74. Ketchum Global Research & Analytics designed and analyzed this phone survey, fielded by Braun Research. January 5-11, 2013. Margin of Error: +/- 4.4%

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Alyson Barnes
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