When to Give a Baby Juice

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There are so many different opinions surrounding juice and when or how to give it to babies that the issue can become quite confusing to parents. Some people are totally against ever introducing juice to a baby until the baby has become a toddler and some believe that a little bit of juice is fine once the baby reaches about 6 months of age. But what are pediatricians saying about juice? And who should we listen to? Should we take our grandmother’s opinion or our doctor’s? If you ask your grandmother then chances are she will tell you that your baby will be fine to have juice when he/she is about 3 months old. This was always the belief and people from past generations never really understood some of the reasons that juice may not be the best choice for infants. Let us examine some of the common beliefs about juice and when some of the best times to give it to babies may be.

Juice Is Great for Infant Constipation

Many pediatricians suggest giving your baby a mixture of equal parts of apple juice and water in order to help relieve constipation in infants. Keep in mind that this juice should be 100% all natural with no added sugar and it should say pasteurized on the label. The age this is appropriate at will depend on your doctor and when considering giving juice for this reason you should always consult with your baby’s pediatrician. Beware of people who are just trying to help and offering you a lot of erroneous advice where you baby is concerned. People do not come to you with advice with the intention of causing your baby harm but a wrong move could in fact cause your infant to become ill.

No Juice Before Eight Months of Age

Most pediatricians are very firm in their belief that infants below the age of eight months should not be given any kind of juice. Infants should however be eating a nice blend of fruits every day. Baby food brands offer a variety of fruits such as peaches, plums, apple sauce, pears and many more types. Pediatricians caution that giving babies juice instead of water could cause the infant to start refusing water and it is very important to instill good habits in our children early. In addition, most pediatricians suggest never giving your baby juice until he/she is ready to start drinking from a sippy cup and even then you will want to dilute the juice. Drinking too much juice can lead to a distaste for water as well as tooth decay and therefore it is never a good idea to offer a baby juice in a bottle unless the doctor has order it for constipation in a young baby.

Juice Has No Nutritional Value

This may sound like a ridiculous statement but when you are considering young babies and their need for a specific amount of vitamins and minerals each day, in addition to fats and proteins, it is important to realize that most of your baby’s calories should be coming from breast milk or infant formula. If you fill your baby’s belly with juice then chances are he/she will not want to drink enough formula or breast milk each day. If you are worried about dehydration then you will want to offer a little bit of water between feedings. In reality breast milk is a total food for babies under the age of one year old and offers all the water a baby needs. However, if you are concerned then purified, distilled or boiled water is fine.

Amount of Juice to Offer Your Older Baby

Once you do decide that your baby has reached the appropriate age to be given juice (remember this is not usually until about 8 months of age) it is important to understand that only a very small amount should be given. While the suggested dilution is 50/50, you can go even lower and offer 25% juice to 75% water. This is especially true if your baby has never had juice before, he/she will not even know the difference. A baby who is about 8 months of age should only have a total of about 4 ounces of juice a day. This baby should be getting about 3 servings of fruits a day and only one of them should come from juice. As your baby grows into a toddler you may increase this amount by a couple of ounces but no child should ever have more than 8 ounces of juice a day no matter how old he/she is. There are many reasons for this but one of the main reasons is that an over abundance of juice can cause your child’s urine to become stronger than usual. Another reason is that you want your child to continue with the habit of drinking water throughout his/her life. If you spoil this in early childhood you may wind up with a kid and ultimately an adult who detests water. This is very unhealthy and should be avoided when possible.

Remember That Juice Drinks Are Not Juice

This is a very important point. Some parents use the term juice loosely. Juice means juice, not juice drinks. Juice drinks are made with high sugar content and a number of other harmful additives. They are usually only comprised of about 10% juice. When you are purchasing juice, no matter what age your child is, always look for juice that is labeled as 100% pasteurized juice with no added sugar. This rule does not only apply to infants, it is a good rule to use all through childhood. The truth is we are the ones who control what goes into our children’s mouths and no one can benefit from drinking sugary juice drinks and sodas so it is even that much more important that we are careful and very selective about what we offer our children to drink.

As a parent you will be faced with many questions such as when to give you baby juice. If you are ever in doubt and do not know what the right answer is then you should always contact your pediatrician and ask him/her what the best choice is. Do not be afraid that your question is too trivial. Your child’s life at every stage is a top priority and if you do not have a pediatrician who seems to understand this then perhaps a new one will be needed. Parenting will come with a number of trial and errors but if you try and follow the suggested guidelines then you will have a much better chance of maintaining a healthy baby.

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Elizabeth Danish

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