When can my baby start drinking juices?

Mar 03

This is a question many mothers ask after the initial months of breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that babies shouldn't be introduced to any food except breast milk until they are at least four to six months old.

Once the mother starts introducing solid foods into the baby's diet she can give the baby diluted fruit and vegetable juice at mealtimes, although it's not mandatory to do so. The juices have to be diluted to a juice:water ratio of 1:10 and offered to the baby in a bottle, juice box or sippy cup. The baby shouldn't be allowed to get into the habit of sipping on juice all day. 120ml/day is considered healthy by most mothers.

Over-consumption of juices by the baby can result in tooth decay, energy imbalances, obesity, diarrhea and nutritional problems. Care should be taken to ensure that the juice doesn't displace the amount of breast milk or formula the baby drinks daily.Serving homemade juice is not recommended for babies as the juice is unpasteurized and thus keeps open the possibility of bacteria or other harmful items getting into the juice, causing food poisoning.

Offering the baby an assortment of different juices will allow the mother to include healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables into the baby's diet and allow the baby to explore a variety of different tastes and textures. Many juices contain vitamins and minerals and are also known to relieve constipation. Products that are 100% juice such as Ocean Spray, Tropicana, Juicy Juice and Gerber should be given to the baby. Sugary drinks, fruit squashes, powdered drinks and soda should be avoided.

Juices should be introduced in the baby's diet slowly and the mother should keep an eye out for signs such as changes in breastfeeding patterns, excessive flatulence, hyperactivity, crankiness and diarrhea. If any of these does occur she should consult a pediatrician before continuing further.