When Is It OK to Give Juice to My Baby?

The Short Answer from a pediatrician

Q.: When is it OK to give juice to my baby?

A.: Juice was once celebrated for offering babies vitamin C and water as they began to eat solid foods. It was easy to do because babies like the sweet taste of juice.

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But today, as we’ve learned more, the thinking has shifted.  If your child is under age 1, you should limit or avoid giving her juice altogether. Typically high in sugar and low in fiber, juice offers limited nutritional value for babies.

If your infant has constipation, however, your pediatrician might recommend offering small amounts of 100 percent apple, pear or prune juice to help get things moving. It’s always best to check with your pediatrician first if you have questions about what foods to offer your baby and in what amounts.

Once children reach their first birthday, you can consider giving them 100 percent fresh pasteurized or reconstituted juice in moderation.

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I suggest limiting it to 4 ounces per day or less for toddlers ages 1-3. For children ages 4-6, limit to 4-6 ounces per day. Offer one cup per day or less for older children ages 7 to 18.

Refrain from giving juice in bottles or “sippy cups,” which are easy to drink from and may encourage excessive consumption.

— Pediatrician Kimberly Churbock, MD

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