It is usual to recommend exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age and only after that period the introduction of new foods. Even though it is a recommendation of the World Health Organization, many pediatricians still indicate the introduction of food before this period and it usually starts with fruit juices for the baby.
However, in 2012 the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics came to the end of a discussion, where they reached a consensus that offering fruit juices to babies up to the first year of life should be abolished from pediatric recommendations. The decision is still little commented and not all mothers have access to this restriction and its reasons, since many pediatricians continue to recommend the introduction of juice to the baby after completing the 6th month of life, this when even before in some cases.
Juice Cannot Substitute Fruit
It is difficult to understand the reasons for the restriction, since fruit juice seems to be so healthy because it is natural, tasty and easy to be accepted by babies and children in addition to being easily ingested. But the issue responsible for this restriction goes beyond these details, since many mothers fail to offer the baby fresh fruit or even replace meals with a bottle of juice.
The fact that the baby was not stimulated to chew was also a factor on the agenda, in addition to the juice losing the vitamins and fibers offered in the fresh fruit. Many pediatricians have pointed out that mothers stop offering water that is essential and essential for human health in exchange for fruit juice.
Putting all these points together, they concluded that the introduction of juice to the baby should not be recommended before completing the first year of life. However, juice was not banned, but it is recommended that consumption be avoided, especially when the baby starts to eat new foods.
Nutritional Point of View
Child nutritionists who also entered the discussion point to another important factor, childhood obesity . Since in order to produce an adequate amount of orange juice, for example, it is necessary on average 2 to 3 oranges and with that it becomes a very large caloric load for the baby. Different from fresh consumption, which would be offered at most half an orange.
The point of view of nutritionists concludes by informing about the importance of the development of chewing and swallowing and that only by eating the fruit it is possible to achieve, since the juice is easily swallowed without effort. In addition to the flavor, texture and consistency of the fruit being savored and felt when eating the fruit in pieces, quite different from the juice. Which further facilitates the baby’s adaptation to the new feeding.
Can’t I Ever Give Baby Juice?
The recommendation does not come as a total restriction, after all, the consumption of juice for the baby is not life-threatening, however its offer is not indicated as it was previously on the baby’s daily menu as a way for the baby to consume the fruits.
Baby juice can continue to be offered as long as it is not substituted for the fruit itself, nor for meals, much less water. According to the Pediatrics Council, the best time to offer fruit juice is after meals where vitamin C contained in most fruits helps the absorption of iron from foods such as beans and dark leafy vegetables. The consumption of fresh fruit also helps in the process of absorbing vitamins from other foods.
IMPORTANT: A precious tip to keep fibers in fruit juice is not to strain them. The fibers help babies’ lazy gut, aiding digestion.
Another important recommendation is that fruit juices should be prepared at the time of consumption and not offer industrialized juices , boxed and much less soft drinks. If you have any questions regarding the matter, talk to your baby’s pediatrician and ask for instructions on how to proceed.
Many mothers, when offering fresh fruit to their baby and seeing the immediate refusal of flavor, especially acidic fruits like pineapple, may want to go for the juice, finding it a better way for the child to accept. However, pediatricians recommend that the fruit be offered a few times until it is completely accepted and the taste is familiar and approved by the baby.
Some recommendations for offering fruit juice:
- Fruit juices should not be offered as a substitute for meals, let alone be sweetened;
- Juices should not be offered in bottles, choose children’s or transition glasses;
- Juices are not indicated for the treatment of diarrhea and dehydration ;
- Excessive juice consumption increases abdominal distension, diarrhea, flatulence;
- The consumption of fruit juice mainly at night increases the chances of tooth decay .
Baby juice is only formally recommended for children from the first year of life. Even so, the amount must be controlled and limited to 180 ml daily. Only from the age of 7, consumption can be extended to 200 to 350 ml daily, which is equivalent to two American glasses per day.
See Also: Dehydration Symptoms in Babies
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.