For some fussy babies and toddlers, water just doesn’t cut it. So, you might consider giving them juice for a more flavorful liquid. But is juice actually good for your toddler, or will its high sugar content lead to more problems in the future? We’ve got all the answers right here in our complete guide.
Keep reading to find out what age babies can start having juice and how much is a healthy amount to give them.
What Age Can Babies Have Juice?
Juice is not recommended for any babies under one year old. The only exception to this is if your pediatrician has recommended a small amount of apple juice to help with constipation. Aside from that, juice offers no nutritional benefit for your baby and could lead to early tooth decay, weight gain, and a preferred taste for sweeter flavors.
During the first six months, your baby gets all of the nutrition and fluid they need from breast milk and formula, so at this age, there’s no need for them to even have water in their diet, either.
After six months, you can begin introducing small amounts of water as they may need extra fluid when they start eating solids. But it’s still not recommended to give them juice. Instead, giving them water and fruit is a much healthier option and provides them with the fiber they need for healthy digestion.
How Much Juice Can Babies Have?
When your baby is one year old, and you want to start introducing them to juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following limit:
- 1-3-year-olds: 4 oz.
- 4-6-year-olds: 4-6 oz.
- 7-year-olds and up: 8 oz.
Juice shouldn’t be given to any child daily. Instead, it should be given as a treat on a special occasion, a family event, or when you’re out at a restaurant, for example. However, these juice restrictions don’t apply to fruit. Whole fruit, rather than fruit juice, is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber your child needs. So if they’re craving something juicy, try offering them fruit before heading straight to the juice.
How to Introduce Juice to a Baby
When introducing your child to juice, we suggest diluting it with water to prevent them from consuming too much sugar. When introducing your child to juice, we suggest diluting it with water to prevent them from consuming too much sugar. While sippy cups are a fantastic training tool to wean your child off the bottle and teach them how to drink from a big kid cup, prolonged use can expose their teeth to sugar for a longer stretch of time.
Instead, we’d recommend giving them juice in an open cup at mealtimes. At twelve months old, most children will be able to hold a cup and take small sips with a little help from an adult. You can probably expect a few spills here and there, but introducing your one-year-old to an open cup early will help them practice and become cup-drinking pros by the time they’re two. Using juice in an open cup rather than water may also encourage them to use the cup more, rather than reach for their sippy cup, as they’ll know it’s for an extra special treat.
What are the Best Juices for Babies?
Some juices are better than others for children. The best juice to give is 100% orange or apple juice with no added sugars. Other juices you can give include:
- Cranberry juice.
- Pomegranate juice.
- Pineapple juice.
- Mango juice.
- Carrot juice.
But remember to only give children these juices in moderation, following the age guide limits above. Otherwise, they can develop a preference for sweeter flavors, and you may struggle to get them to drink enough water.
Wondering how much water your child should be drinking every day? Read our blog to find out how much water a toddler needs.