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Can I Give Baby Juice?

Fruit juice may give some benefits to your baby’s diet, but there are aspects that are not so beneficial, and it is not advisable to give your baby fruit juice before he or she is at least 6 months old. Before this, all the nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development are available in breast milk or formula. If you give your baby juice, it could make him or her feel full and want less milk – which will deprive him of essential nutrients.

When you are considering giving fruit juice, there are several things to think about…

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  • To be labelled as ‘juice’ a product must be composed of 100% fruit juice – anything less and it must be called a fruit drink, beverage or cocktail, and must show the percentage of fruit contained.
  • Drinks that contain less than 100% fruit juice often also have flavourings and sweeteners added.
  • Fruit juice must be pasturised for baby safety.
  • There are juices that are specifically for babies, as they do not contain sulphites – though they are more expensive.

If you decide to give your baby fruit juice, here are some more thoughts…

 

  • The amount of iron absorbed by your baby’s body can double if you give fruit juice that contains ascorbic acid with a meal – however, this can also be achieved by serving fresh fruit!
  • Juice should be given in a cup to reduce the risk of tooth decay – fruit sugars and acids can pool around baby’s teeth if he or she has juice from a bottle. For the same reason, do not give frequent sips of juice through the day – give a small drink with each meal.SippyCup2
  • UK guidelines recommend diluting your baby’s juice with boiled, cooled water – one part juice to 10 parts water.
  • Offer juice after a meal of solids – giving it before will fill your baby, so he or she will get less of the necessary fats, minerals and proteins.
  • Your baby should have no more than 120-180ml (4-6 oz) of juice a day – consuming large amounts of juice could actually lead to malnutrition by decreasing your baby’s intake of vital nutrients. It could also cause your baby’s body to absorb fewer carbohydrates.
  • Tooth decay, diarrhoea, wind (gas) and abdominal discomfort can all be caused by baby having too much juice.
  • Fruit juice lacks the important fibre that whole fruits contain.
  • Once you have introduced juice to your baby, it may be hard to get him or her to drink water – which is healthier and cheaper!

This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.

 

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