Have you ever wondered at what age offering fruit juice is appropriate? With many developmental milestones your baby will reach in their first year of life it can be challenging to keep up with all of the guidelines and recommendations. When your baby reaches the age where they are ready to transition to solids and other non-breast milk or formula liquids, this can be both an exciting and a confusing time. It can be difficult to determine when to start offering, and how to offer many items including fruit juice. There are also many kinds of fruit juice available, making it hard to know which one to offer. In this article, you will learn what you should know about introducing your child to fruit juice.
AAP age recommendations
Before their change in recommendations in 2017, the AAP used to consider it fine for children as young as 6 months old to drink fruit juice with their meals and snacks. Although fruit juice can be a delicious addition to meals and snacks, it can also add a lot of unwanted added sugar to your infant or toddler’s diet. Labels stating a fruit beverage is “all-natural” can also be misleading in terms of being a healthy addition to your child’s diet as these can still contain a lot of sugar.
Fruit naturally contains sugar but when the fiber is stripped from the whole it can cause a spike in blood sugar when consumed only in juice form. This is why the AAP recommends that children under a year old are not given fruit juice, as it offers no nutritional benefits. Whole fruit and plain water are better options to offer for meals or snacks.
How to serve juice to your child
For children ages 1 to 6 years old, the AAP recommends only offering 4 to 6 ounces a day. Fruit juice is recommended to be served as a part of a meal or snack; avoid allowing your child to sip juice throughout the day. This action can lead to tooth decay over time due to the high amounts of sugar in juice. Juice should only be offered to children who can sit up and drink from a cup and should never be offered in a bottle.
If you choose to give your child fruit juice, make sure to choose 100% fruit juice in place of other sweetened juices. This type of juice offers more nutrients and fewer additives than the other versions. Another option in offering juice to your child is mixing 100% fruit juice with water to cut down on the sugar. Offering 100% fruit juice to your child at regular meals and snacks in moderation is perfectly fine, but remember that giving whole fruit is a healthier option when it comes to meals or snack times.