Juice is a common drink in many households. It tastes delicious, and is usually just fruit. But should your baby be drinking it? Just when can babies have juice in general? The recommendation for babies is not to have juice before the age of one! Let’s get into details about why.
The Best Drinks for Babies
When you baby is under one, the only drink that they need is breast milk or formula. They don’t even need water! Breast milk or formula have all of the nutrients that their rapidly developing bodies need.
With that said, it is okay to give 1-2 oz of water with meals to help your baby get accustomed to the taste of it, and to help them wash their food down during meals. But they don’t actually need this, is just something you can give if you choose to.
Outside of breast milk or formula and those few ounces of water a day, anything else will replace the nutrients that they need to be getting from breast milk or formula. Including juice!
When can babies drink juice?
After one, it is okay to add a bit of juice to your child’s diet if that is something that your family serves. With that said, there are a couple of caveats to it. There is still no need to give juice. The best drinks for kids are milk and water. Juice is an added and not necessary drink. (Source)
If you do choose to serve juice, make sure you are buying 100% juice. Juices not labeled 100% juice potentially have added sweeteners in them, and should be avoided for all kids under 5. When serving juice, keep it to under ½ cup (4oz) a day.
Juice for constipation in kids
Many doctors will recommend giving babies and toddlers watered down prune or pear juice to help with constipation relief. While for some babies this helps, I prefer relying on foods to help solve constipation. Many foods like kiwis, sweet potatoes, and chia seeds also have been shown to help with constipation, as well as whole plums and pears, and don’t involve serving juice to babies.
Speak with your doctor about other options when it comes to constipation, but do your best to use juice, even watered down, as a last resort and not the first one.
Does juice count as a fruit?
One of the arguments people make in favor of giving juice is that it provides nutrients to kids. And while it does provide some, it will never provide as many nutrients as fruit itself does. Juicing a fruit removes the fiber from it, and fiber is what helps to keep you full and helps to dull the blood sugar response you might get with straight juice.
Juicing your own fruit will maintain more nutrients than pasteurized, store-bought juice. But it is still considered juice, and not recommended at all for babies under 1. It is only recommended in small amounts for kids under 5.
Is juice bad for babies teeth?
Juice can be very acidic, on top of being a source of sugar on your child’s teeth. Both of these can lead to tooth decay and cavities in kids. If you are serving juice to your child, the best way to serve it is in an open cup. Baby bottles and sippy cups should be avoided with juice.
When giving, water the juice down so it is not a concentrated source of juice on your child’s teeth. And ensure you are brushing your child’s teeth after juice is given.
The Bottom Line
If you’re wondering when can babies have juice, it is important to keep in mind all of these considerations when making your choice on whether to serve juice or not. Definitely avoid juice before one, and consider sticking to milk and water without any juice as long as you can!