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Can Babies Drink Juice? Here's When to Start

A woman giving a baby in a highchair a sip of juice.

Navigating the complexities of infant dietary requirements and restrictions can be challenging, especially for new parents who may not know everything they need to when it comes to feeling their babies anything besides formula or milk. For example, juice has been a widely accepted drink for young babies and toddlers for a long time. However, medical professionals have realized that giving your little one juice before a certain age can lead to legitimate problems, especially if you give it to them regularly.

Below, our team of passionate parenting experts from 123 Baby Box will explore the essential information parents should understand about when and how to give their babies juice. Please continue to learn about these critical details, and also consider browsing our wide selection of other fantastic parenting resources. 

Related: When Can Babies Have Water?

What to Know About Fruit Juice for Babies

For decades, medical professionals believed that apple juice was a great first drink for babies to try when they could safely move beyond essential milk and formula. However, the introduction of sugary juices at such a young age managed to cause an early introduction to sugar addictions in children. Many experts also noted concerns over increased obesity rates in young children, along with tooth decay prompted by the introduction of sugary drinks.

While some companies may tout the healthy nature of juice, the truth is that the pulp and other most nutritious parts of fruits are removed during juice production, essentially leaving behind just sugar and water. Because of this, juice isn’t nearly as healthy for children as people once believed, and experts agree that babies are better off without juice during their early days. 

When Can Babies Drink Juice?

 

A chocolate cupcake with a “1” shaped candle and a toddler in the background.

According to medical experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies should only drink breast milk or formula during their first six months. However, it’s even better if they can be breastfed for an entire year. After six months, babies can start having small amounts of water alongside their milk and formula. Beyond that, parents should wait until after their baby is at least one year old before attempting to give them any juice unless a doctor recommends it to help relieve issues related to constipation.

After their first birthday, patients can start giving their babies small amounts of juice as a special treat, but only on occasion. It’s best to avoid thinking of juice as a daily beverage for babies, and you definitely shouldn’t give it to them multiple times throughout the day.

Medical professionals recommend the following amounts if you do intend to give your child any juice;

  • 1 to 3 years old: 4oz per day
  • 4 to 6 years old: 4 to 6oz per day
  • 7-year-olds and older children: 8oz per day

Bonding with your baby is essential to parenting, and 123 Baby Box is here to help!

What Kind of Juice Should I Give My Baby?

Once your baby is old enough and if you decide to start giving them juice, there are also some key recommendations you should consider regarding the kinds of juice you give them.

First, we recommend only giving your baby 100% fruit juice free of added sweeteners and excessive sugar. Always check the nutrition label on the juice, and steer clear of ones that only contain a small percentage of actual juice. You also want to ensure you’re only giving them pasteurized juice since raw or non-pasteurized fruit juices can sometimes have harmful bacteria that can make your baby sick.

In addition, it’s best to offer the juice in a sippy cup rather than a bottle and to dilute it using only one part juice and one part water. Make sure you only give babies juice during the day and not before bedtime, and remember to mix up the type of juice you offer them. Too much of one kind of juice, like apple juice, can lead to stomach issues and diarrhea. So be sure to expose them to different types, including orange, white grape, and papaya.

Related: Feeding Chart For Babies: What You Should Know

What Other Drinks Should I Give My Baby?

 

A woman giving a baby in a stroller his bottle.

After your baby turns six months old, there are also some other great drinks you can offer that are arguably much better than juice and may even help lessen any preferences for juice your baby might have after turning one. We recommend seeing how your little one likes non-caffeinated camomile tea. Drop a tea bag into a pitcher of room-temperature water and put it in the sun for an hour to steep. Tea is naturally sweet without sugar, and young children often love it!

Introducing tea to your baby at a young age may also help them develop healthier preferences for drinks later on. As they age, you can start giving them different types of tea to try, which can provide various health benefits. Just ensure they aren’t caffeinated since that can lead to many issues in young children!

Related: When Can Babies Have Peanut Butter?

Final Factors For You to Think About

Juice can be an occasional sweet treat for babies that are at least one-year-old, but it’s important to emphasize “occasional.” Even 100% pure juice contains a lot of sugars that can lead to issues with weight, sugar addiction, tooth decay, and stomach issues, especially in younger babies. Try sticking with water or trying out some safe flavors on unsweetened, non-caffeinated tea for your baby to try.

Our parenting experts at 123 Baby Box encourage you to only offer your baby a small cup of juice as an occasional treat if you feel the need to. Doing so can go a long way in helping keep them healthy and happy while helping them learn to enjoy more nutritional drinks. Please consider exploring our website to access more excellent parenting information and sign up for one of our monthly subscription boxes! 

123 Baby Box is an excellent source of tools to support your baby’s developing brain throughout their first three years!