Juices: Should they be given to young babies?

I was just wondering when a good time to start my daughter on juice would be? She is three and a half months old and loves to lick apple juice off my finger and I would love for her to try, but when?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

There is really no nutritional benefit to offering her juice yet. I suggest you wait until your daughter is able to sit up by herself and you can offer it to her in a cup. This is also the time when you will begin to introduce solid foods such as iron fortified cereal and fruit and vegetable purees. She will be anywhere between four and seven months. The juice you offer her should be rich in Vitamin C since this vitamin enhances the absorption of the supplemental iron that is in her baby cereal.

Once you do include juice in her diet, be very conservative as to the amount you allow her daily. Too much can fill her up and leave her with no room for other foods with important nutrients that she needs. Four ounces a day is plenty. You may wish to dilute it 50:50 to cut the sweetness and to be able to offer her more during the day if she seems to be enjoying it so much. Do not use juice in a bottle as a pacifier. It can lead to poor nutritional and dental habits that become hard to break.

You have asked a great question that more parents should be concerned about. There are lots of babies out there that are consuming way too much juice to the exclusion of more nutrient dense foods.

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