When Can Babies Drink Juice? Guide For Parents

FAQ

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If you’re considering moving your baby on from formula or breast milk to other drinks and foods, you might be wondering when can you give a baby juice. It’s hard for parents to know when they can begin offering their little one juice or how to go about offering their baby new drinks. Not only that, but there are many different types of juice out there, so how do you know which to choose? Here, we take a closer look at how and when to introduce your baby to juice.

What Does The AAP Recommend?

There’s no need for children to drink any kind of juice, but it is a good way of introducing new flavors and tastes. Not only that, but juice is often packed with vitamin C. There is a problem however: fruit juice contains a lot of sugar, even those which are “all-natural”. This is because fruit naturally contains sugar itself. Therefore, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) suggests that juice shouldn’t be given to any baby under one-year-old. At one time, the AAP said it was fine for babies to have juice from the age of six months along with regular snacks or meals. However, these recommendations were changed in 2017. As for vegetable juices, while they don’t contain the same amount of sugar as fruit juice, to do have high salt content which should also be avoided in young babies. It’s therefore best to wait until your baby has reached their first birthday before adding juice of any type into their diet.

Why Might Juice Not Be Good For Babies?

Although juice might seem like a healthy option for babies, it isn’t as good a choice as giving your baby actual fruit in its natural form. Toddlers should have 2-3 servings for fruit daily, but a maximum of one should be from juice. This is because juice can cause several problems including:

  • Weight gain
  • Reduced appetite for more nutritious food
  • Diarrhea
  • Diaper rash

How Should I Give A Baby Juice?

You should only serve juice to a baby who is capable of sitting up and drinking out of a cup. Juice should never be given to a baby in a bottle. Also, you shouldn’t allow your baby to carry a cup of juice with them to drink from throughout the day. Exposing their teeth to the high sugar level during the day can cause long-term damage. Many fruits are also acidic which causes damage to teeth. Avoid using sippy cups to serve juice as this increased your baby’s tooth exposure to sugar and acid. Use a regular, open cup instead and make sure you always supervise your baby to ensure they don’t spill.

How Much Juice Should I Give To A Baby?

You should only give a very small amount of juice to your baby each day – 4oz or less. You should also wait until mealtimes to give juice so your baby drinks juice while eating food. This reduces the risk of tooth decay. It’s best to water the juice down – 10 parts water to 1 part juice. Not only does this reduce the risk of damage to your baby’s teeth, but it also helps to ensure that the flavor of juice won’t be too overpowering. Remember your baby has had limited experience of food flavors and may be overwhelmed by the strong taste of juice. Therefore, it’s best to begin with mostly water with a small amount of juice added. Once your child becomes used to the taste, you can add less water with more juice, but if you prefer you can carry on diluting the juice for as long as you like. Adding water to juice also helps to reduce the amount of acid, sugar, and calories found in the juice.

What Kinds Of Juice Should I Give To My Baby?

Before giving your baby any kind of juice, make sure to check the label. Even juices that claim to be 100% real fruit juice will probably contain some other ingredients. Therefore, make sure to read the ingredients list thoroughly and choose juices with as few as possible. Some things to check for when selecting a juice for your baby include:

  • 100% pasteurized juice
  • 100% pure juice
  • Mild flavors such as pear or apple
  • No added sugars

Avoid any juice that is labeled “drink”, “-ade”, “cocktail” or “beverage”.

When Can You Give A Baby Juice For Their Health?

If you have a toddler who is constipated, you can give them juice to help relieve the problem. In this case, give 100% pure pear, prune or apple juice. Constipation is a relatively common problem if you start a child on solid foods when they are under 12-months of age. If your baby is under 1-year, you should speak to your pediatrician before giving them juice to relieve constipation. It’s possible they may recommend this option but they will also be able to give you clearer advice about the right method and amount to give.

If I Can’t Give My Baby Juice, What Can They Drink?

It’s recommended that you should only give your baby formula or breast milk until at least six-months but once you’ve started weaning, water and formula are the best choices until your baby reaches his first birthday.

Should I Give My Baby Juice?

As a general rule, children don’t have to drink juice at any age. However, if you’d like to replace a daily fruit serving with some fruit juice it’s important to be aware that you need to limit how much juice your little one drinks. Whatever the circumstances, it’s always wise to discuss a change in diet with your child’s pediatrician and to always wait until your little one has reached their first birthday before giving any juice at all (unless your doctor advises otherwise). If you’re worried about how much sugar is in fruit juice, diluting it with water is always an option and it’s a great way to allow your toddler to explore new flavors and tastes while reducing the amount of acid, sugar, and calories that could be harmful to your baby’s health.