When introducing your baby to juice, it’s essential to know that it should not be given to infants before six months. Even after six months, juice should be given in moderation and only under certain circumstances. This article will discuss when babies can have juice and how much they should consume.
Why wait until six months?
Paediatricians recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed or formula-fed for the first six months of life. This is because breast milk and formula provide all the nutrients with your baby needs during this critical period of growth and development. Introducing juice too early can interfere with the intake of these essential nutrients, leading to malnutrition.
In addition, juice can also cause digestive problems, such as diarrhoea and flatulence, in young infants. This is because their digestive system is still developing and unable to break down the sugars and acids found in fruit juice.
When can babies have juice?
Once your baby reaches six months of age and begins eating solid foods, you may choose to introduce juice as a supplement to their diet. However, it’s important to note that juice should not replace breast milk or formula as the primary source of nutrition.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends introducing juice to infants before 12 months. If consumed excessively, juice can contribute to tooth decay, weight gain, and other health problems. Additionally, the AAP advises that juice be limited to 4 ounces per day for children ages 1 to 3 years and 4 to 6 ounces per day for children ages 4 to 6 years.
What type of juice is best?
When choosing the right juice for your baby, choosing 100% fruit juice with no added sugars or preservatives is essential. Look for juices labelled as “not from concentrate” or “100% juice.” These juices are made from whole fruits and do not contain any added sugars or sweeteners.
It’s important to note that fruit juice should not be given to infants younger than 12 months of age, as it does not provide any nutritional benefits that cannot be obtained from whole fruits. Giving juice to infants can increase their risk of obesity and other health problems later in life.
How much juice should babies have?
As mentioned earlier, juice should be introduced to infants no earlier than 12 months of age and should be limited to 4 ounces per day for children ages 1 to 3 years and 4 to 6 ounces per day for children ages 4 to 6 years. This is because consuming too much juice can contribute to tooth decay, weight gain, and other health problems.
It’s also important to note that juice should be given in a cup rather than a bottle. Drinking juice from a bottle can lead to tooth decay, as the juice can pool in the mouth and remain in contact with the teeth for long periods. Additionally, juice should be consumed with meals or snacks, rather than in between, to help prevent tooth decay and promote healthy eating habits.
Offering too much juice can displace other vital foods and beverages, such as milk or water, crucial for growth and development. Additionally, consuming too much juice can increase the risk of diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal issues and contribute to tooth decay.
As your baby grows, it’s important to gradually transition from offering juice to offering whole fruits. Whole fruits provide essential nutrients, such as fibre, not in the juice. This can help promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation.
If you do choose to offer juice to your baby, make sure to offer a variety of fruits and juices, as this can help prevent boredom and promote healthy eating habits. It’s also a good idea to dilute the juice with water, especially if your baby is still getting used to the taste. Diluting the juice can also help reduce the overall sugar content.
Juice can be a healthy addition to your baby’s diet in moderation; following the American Academy of Pediatrics, guidelines is essential. Wait until your baby is at least 12 months old before introducing juice; choose 100% fruit juice with no added sugars or preservatives, and limit consumption to 4 to 6 ounces per day for children ages 1 to 6 years. Following these guidelines and gradually transitioning to whole fruits can help promote healthy growth and development in your baby.