As a new parent, you might have witnessed a lot of firsts of your baby. From their first laugh, the first crawl, the first walk, to the first time they had their formula milk, parents see every one of those as a developmental milestone in their child’s life.
Another such milestone is giving your little one fruit juice for the first time. But it can be tricky to decide when you can start introducing fruit juices in their diet. Giving them fruit juice is a way of introducing new flavors to their diet. Besides that, they will also get the essential vitamins and nutrients they need.
Fruit juice can be high in sugar even if it’s 100% natural. Because they taste good, infants and toddlers may drink them a lot. And since it is considered a healthy drink, parents usually do not set a limit on how much a child can drink. Infants should not be given fruit juices to sip throughout the day or to cheer up an upset baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing fruits juices to babies only after they are 1-year-old (1).
Keep A Check On Their Daily Intake
Your doctor may recommend fruit juices if your baby is constipated. However, if your baby is below the age of one, avoid giving fruit juices and instead stick to mashed and pureed fruits. If your toddler is between the age of 1 to 3 years, make sure their daily intake is limited to 4 ounces (2).
Though it’s recommended to substitute fruit juice with whole fruit, making a toddler eat fruit can be a real struggle for any mom. Toddlers hate fruits whether you give it mashed or pureed. But give them fruit juice, voila! They’ll drink it in a jiffy.
Planning To Introduce Juice? We Have Some Tips
Here are some ways to bring the goodness of juice to your kid’s diet:
1) No Bottle
Avoid giving fruit juice in a bottle. Instead, give it in a cup and make sure they drink it in a single sitting. You don’t want your kid’s teeth to decay now, do you?
2) Water It Down
It’s better to water it down if you have just started giving juice to your toddler. They are just beginning to get used to new flavors and you don’t want to overwhelm them right away. You can slowly reduce the water content once your child gets used to the taste. Watering down will also help to cut down on the acid, sugar, and calories found in them.
3) Go For The Right Cup
The first instinct as a parent is to buy a sippy cup for your little one. But it’s best to avoid using it for fruit juices. Sippy cups can increase the exposure of acid and sugar to your toddler’s teeth. Instead, go for an open cup, and also teach the kid how to reduce spills.
What Kind Of Juice Can I Give To My Child?
You may find several brands in the grocery aisle with 100% natural and real juice written on it. But despite what it says, read the label at all times. The shorter and simpler the list of ingredients, the better. Go for mild flavors with no added sugars.
Though shopping is an easy option, it’s always best to use a homemade juice where you know for sure what’s in it. Also, avoid adding any sweeteners in it. And if you have a fussy eater, try making a smoothie of bright-colored fruits and veggies that are healthy and tasty and looks attractive to your kid.