If and when you plan on incorporating juice into your child’s diet responsibly, we suggest the following approach:
- Make sure it’s pure fruit juice. Fruit drinks that aren’t 100% juice typically contain added sugars and/or sweeteners that can up both the cavity and calorie counts.
- Hold off on introducing your child to juice for at least his first year and refrain from serving it in a bottle.
- Avoid letting your child sip on juice (or any other sugar-containing liquid, for that matter) for prolonged periods. Whether by bottle, sippy cup, or cup, bathing one’s teeth in sugary liquids can cause serious tooth decay.
- Consider diluting it with water.
- Encourage your child to eat fresh, whole fruits whenever available.
- Whenever possible, serve juice that contains pulp for added fiber.
- Make sure juice doesn’t entirely drown out your child’s interest in drinking milk and water.
- Buy only pasteurized products (shelf-stable juices, frozen concentrates, or specially marked refrigerated juices) to avoid potential diarrhea-causing infections.
- While the American Academy of Pediatrics does suggest 100% fruit juice as an acceptable part of a healthy diet, be aware that it’s wise to offer it in age-appropriate moderation (none under 6 months of age and no more than 4 to 6 ounces a day for older infants and children).
- Keep an eye out for warning signs of excessive juice intake, such as tooth decay and “toddler’s diarrhea.” Not only do young kids tend to suck on sugary liquids for prolonged periods when allowed, thus putting their newly acquired teeth at considerable risk, but kids between the ages of 2 and 3 tend to have the highest juice consumption— in some instances enough to cause persistent diarrhea.
- Last Updated
- Food Fights, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.