February 6, 2009

Juice for Baby?


Should you give your baby juice? Your children’s pediatrician and dentist would probably be very happy if you didn’t. Conventional wisdom says you should give your baby juice from 6 months of age. Actually, this is not true. Read on to find out why.

Think about the following things hard before you decide to give your baby juice:

  • Juice contains a lot of sugar. Therefore, it can cause diarrhea.
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  • For the same reason, juice can also cause a child to become overweight or obse.
  • Juice can also cause cavities, especially when taken by bottle to bed.
  • Juice could replace milk and other foods in a baby’s diet. It can cause a child to not get enough of nutrient dense foods and therefore lead to malnutrition. Ultimately, this will hinder a child’s proper growth and development.
  • When a baby is breastfed, giving juice can cause the child to take less breastmilk and therefore reduce his mother’s breastmilk supply.

If you decide to go ahead and give your baby juice, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Don’t give juice earlier than 6 months of age. In the first six months of life, a baby gets all the nutrition needed from milk (preferably breastmilk).
  • If buying commercial juices, make sure they don’t have sugar added.
  • Mix juice with equal parts water before giving to baby. Some baby juices available in groceries are already diluted. You can also find vitamin C-enriched baby juice, but these are more expensive than regular juice.
  • Don’t give juice in a feeding bottle. Don’t allow your baby to suck juice from a sippy cup all day. These encourage tooth decay.
  • Don’t give juice at bedtime.
  • To get all the goodness of fruits, feed your baby fresh fruits, instead of just the juice.
  • If you think your baby might be thirsty, give water instead of juice. Or try water mixed with just a little juice for flavoring.
  • By giving water instead of juice to begin with, your baby will naturally develop a taste for water. He or she won’t end up preferring juice and balking at water, which some Moms find to be a problem.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Inferis

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Alexis Rodrigo