Fruit juice for babies–it’s a dietary norm in the United States. The American Academy of Pediatrics thinks this normal dietary habit needs to stop.
If you think that 100% fruit juice is a healthy beverage, you’re right! Fruit juice is a way to add a serving of fruit to your diet. BUT, it can also be TOO filling and take the place of actual fruit as well as other healthy foods. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics has always suggested limits on juice for children of all ages. The @AAP says no more #juice for #babies. Read why here: bit.ly/2rsfOls #infantnutrition #RDchat Click To Tweet
This week, they went a step further and said NO to juice for babies. Period.
Let’s face it, juice tastes good and it’s easy to drink. Babies and toddlers have high nutrient requirements and small tummies, so too much juice can lead to poor growth due to lack of nutrients like iron, zinc and calcium that they may be missing out on. Too much juice can also lead to overweight.
I’ve seen it in my practice over the years. Kids filling up on juice and eating little else. Babies drinking too much juice and having diarrhea as a result. Kids sipping on juice all day and ending up with caps on their front teeth due to tooth decay.
What if Your Baby is Hooked on Juice?
Oops. Time to nip that in the bud. First, remember that parents and caregivers are “in charge” of providing healthy foods for the family. Children (and babies) are in charge of deciding if they want to eat it–or not. That takes the pressure off of both of you. Stand firm in your offerings. Your baby will learn the rules quickly.
How to Cut Back and Stop Juice for Babies:
Know that babies under 6 months get enough fluid from breastmilk and formula, except for during unusually hot or humid weather. If your young baby is drinking juice, simply cut it out and give breastmilk or formula on demand as usual.
- Go “Cold Turkey”. Simply stop giving your baby juice (and don’t drink any around her.) If your baby gets mad or cries for juice, distract her with a toy or go for a walk outside or keep saying “juice all gone.”
- Instead of fruit juice, offer either pureed fruit or tiny pieces of soft fruit that baby can pick up with her fingers such as ripe banana, pear, mango or peaches. Try pureeing frozen fruit into a slush and let her eat it with a spoon. Make it fun and give her choices.
If that doesn’t work:
- Limit juice to once a day and make sure to brush teeth afterwards.
- Cut back on the amount of juice you give. Instead of filling up his cup with juice, only fill it half way or less. Teach your baby that “all gone” means no more for the day and eventually stop it completely.
- Never give juice in a bottle. This is more likely to lead to tooth decay.
- Dilute it with water and increase the dilution so that at the end of a week, there is very little juice and mostly water.
- Puree fresh fruit and offer it by spoon, or for older babies, freeze it and offer as a frozen pop.
Most importantly, set a good example for your children by snacking on fruit and limiting fruit juice yourself!
What about juice for older children?
The American Academy of Pediatrics has some guidance for older kids too:
- 1-3 years: Limit to 4 ounces (1/2 cup) per day.
- 4-6 years: Limit to 4 to 6 ounces (1/2 to 3/4 cup per day.
- 7 to 18 years: Limit to 1 cup per day.
For more information:
Fruit Juice and Your Child’s Diet-AAP
No Fruit Juice for Kids Under One-CNN
How to Feed Your Baby and Toddler–BabyBites–ebook by Bridget Swinney
Erica Julson says
Great advice! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I love that you gave practical advice for cutting back.
Thanks Erica! Cutting back on juice can be tough!
Shannon @ KISS in the Kitchen says
Love that you’re writing about this, Bridget! I’m often having this conversation with parents and it’s so important!
So important for parents to know! Thanks so much for sharing!
Kelly Jones says
Setting a good example is always the best tip for parents!
Katie Cavuto says
Interesting! Great post, thanks for sharing!
Kathryn Pfeffer says
Such great tips and an excellent way to introduce healthy eating to toddlers; let’s start them young!
Yes I agree! Eating habits learned in childhood usually persist into adulthood!