When to Give a Baby Juice

Danish girl, 1 years old, drinking orange juice
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The American Academy of Pediatrics, in their policy statement on The Use and Misuse of Fruit Juice in Pediatrics, makes it clear that 'there is no nutritional indication to feed juice to infants younger than six months.'

When To Start Giving A Baby Juice

So does that mean that you should start giving babies juice at six months?

No. Although the AAP states that parents can "give juice only to infants who can drink from a cup (approximately 6 months or older)," it is not something they encourage.

They suggest that "infants over six months may have limits amounts of juice each day," reserving the limit of 4-6 ounces for children between the ages of 1 to 6 years.

Keep in mind that this is really a daily limit though and not necessarily an endorsement for drinking juice.

Reasons To Avoid Juice

They also recommend that juice be given only in a cup, not in a bottle, and that if you do give your older infant juice, then 4-6 ounces of juice would be more than enough for the entire day.

Why limit juice?

Many kids end up drinking too much juice and drinking juice can be associated with having cavities, diarrhea, not eating well, and being overweight, etc. Therefore, you would be better off giving your older infant fruit instead of fruit juice.

Drinking fruit juice can also contribute to having toddler's diarrhea. If you think fruit juice causes your child to have loose stools, either avoid juice, or switch to one like white grape juice.

Other juices, especially apple and pear juice, contain sugars that sometimes lead to malabsorption and diarrhea in some kids.

Limits on Kids Drinking Juice

If you do give your child juice, do follow these tips from the AAP:

  • when you give your child juice, it should be 100% fruit juice and not a fruit drink and you should offer it to your infant in a cup only and not a bottle
  • only give kids juice that has been pasteurized, avoiding unpasteurized juices
  • infants under six months of age should not be given juice, although many pediatricians do recommend small amounts of juice for children who have constipation
  • do not give juice to kids at bedtime or in the middle of the night
  • avoid giving kids juice in cups that they can carry around and sip from all day, instead offering it as part of a meal or at snack time
  • younger children aged one to six years should have only 4-6 ounces of juice a day
  • older children should be limited to 8-12 ounces of juice a day

Instead of drinking juice, children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits.​ They can drink milk and fluoridated water.

Sources

AAP. The Use and Misuse of Fruit Juice in Pediatrics. PEDIATRICS Vol. 107 No. 5 May 2001

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