How should I add juice to my child’s diet?
Breastmilk or formula should be your baby's primary source of nutrition and fluids during the first year of life. Small amounts of 100% juice can be introduced after your baby reaches 6 months of age.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children 1 to 6 years of age have no more than four to six fluid ounces (1/2 to 2/3 cup) of juice per day. This amount counts as one serving of fruits or vegetables. The remaining fruit and vegetable servings should come from whole peeled fruits, or vegetables that are mashed or pureed.
Babies who consume too much juice may not consume enough breastmilk, formula, or healthy solid foods, leading to a decrease in their nutrient intake. In addition, some children consuming excessive amounts of juice may experience stomach pain or diarrhea.
Follow these simple guidelines for adding juice to your child's healthy meal plan:
- Buy products that are 100% juice. Identify 100% juices by looking at the percent juice declared above the Nutrition Facts panel. All beverages with juice must declare the amount of juice above the Nutrition Facts panel.
- Avoid beverages with names like "ade", "drink", "beverage," or "cocktail" because they usually aren’t 100% juice, and can have added sweeteners, artificial flavors, or added color. Beverages that are 100% juices offer your child the most nutrition from fruits or vegetables.
- Choose products that are pasteurized. Nonpasteurized juices, like some fresh ciders, may contain bacteria that can make your baby sick.
- Serve juice only from a cup while seated and supervised and never from a bottle.
- Introduce juice in small amounts. Once your baby has reached 6 months of age, start with one fluid ounce in a cup. Then you can increase the amount to no more than four fluid ounces (1/2 cup) per day until she reaches 1 year of age. After she reaches 1 year, she can drink up to 6 ounces per day according to the AAP guidelines.
- When your baby turns 1 year old, you can also offer beverages that are water and 100% juice blends. Make sure these blends have no added sweeteners, artificial flavor, or colors, and check the label for information on recommended serving sizes.
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