While raising your baby, you will have the privilege of witnessing many firsts: their first tooth, their first step, and so on. However, there are other developments that you will have to initiate yourself. For example, during weaning, you will have to decide which foods and drinks to introduce to your baby and when to introduce them.
One such decision you may face will be whether and when to introduce your baby to fruit juice. Fruit juice has the potential to provide your baby with many of the same vitamins and minerals that are present in fresh fruits. Still, there are also concerns about fruit juice, particularly for babies. Read on to learn more about when babies can have fruit juice and the potential benefits and risks associated with its consumption.
When To Introduce Fruit Juice
According to the (AAP) American Academy of Pediatrics, fruit juice, whether all-natural or with added sugar, is unsuitable for children under one year of age. While these drinks might seem appealing for a baby, fruit juice contains large amounts of sugar inappropriate for a baby’s system. Too much sugar can lead to health problems such as tooth decay and weight gain among small children. Healthline states that the AAP had previously recommended fruit juice for six-month-old children. However, they revised this rule in 2017 after further studies showed that an infant’s system could not process the large amounts of sugar present in fruit juice. Since then, the AAP has strictly stated that only children above one year should consume fruit juice.
How To Introduce Fruit Juice To Ready Babies
Even though it’s prohibited for children under one year, fruit juice is still a healthy source of nutrients for children above this age. In fact, it is a good source of Vitamin C. However, when introducing fruit juice to your baby, make sure to do so in moderation.
Even if your baby is over one year old, you will have to introduce fruit juice gradually and with caution. You have to take steps to ensure that your baby does not develop an addiction to sugar or suffer other effects. Below are some measures you must take to safely introduce fruit juice:
- Water it down- Even though you now have the go-ahead to give your baby fruit juice, you don’t want to give your child 100% fruit juice. Instead, Healthline recommends you mix it with ten parts of water to one part juice. This combination will reduce the sugar content, making it more manageable for your baby. As the little one grows, you can add less and less water until they are drinking 100% fruit juice.
- Serve it in a cup- Never give your child fruit juice in a bottle, as this can promote tooth decay. Avoid sippy cups because they expose your child’s teeth to acid and sugar. Instead, only serve it to a child who can sit up and drink from an open cup without help.
How Much Fruit Juice Can You Give A Baby?
When serving your little one fruit juice, you should also monitor their consumption. While fruit juice is not a daily beverage, the AAP has recommended several daily limits for children of different ages. According to Happiest Babies, you should stick within these limits;
- 4 oz. per day for a child between 1 to 3-year
- 4-6 oz. per day for a child between 4 to 6-year
- 8 oz. per day for a child of 7-year or older
While some parents might also wonder about the type of fruit juice they should serve their children, it should not be a concern. As long as you stick to the recommended daily limits, you can even offer your tot 100% fruit juice.
Alternatives To Fruit Juice
If your child is below the one-year-old cutoff for fruit juice, do not worry, there are other ways to get the vitamins and minerals your child needs. One way to do this is by incorporating fresh fruits into their diet. However, you should closely monitor the intake of this too.
Another alternative to offer your child is yogurt, which has similar benefits to fruit juice without much sugar. You could also opt for vegetable juice, which will provide your child with essential vitamins and minerals.
Ultimately, you should only give your baby fruit juice if she is one year or older and introduce it gradually. You also should monitor their intake to prevent tooth decay and sugar overload. According to What To Expect be sure to watch out for any juice allergies your baby might have.
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