The American Academy of Pediatrics just got serious about fruit juice. In their updated recommendations released May 22, 2017, the AAP has some serious new advice about fruit juice for babies and young children. Here are the highlights, some of which may surprise parents.
- Fruit juice is not recommended at all for babies less than a year of age. Infants less than 12 months should drink breast milk or formula. After six months of age, water may be added. The group found that there was no added nutritional benefit to juice in this age group and in fact, it replaced the healthier calories offered by breast milk, formula, and table foods.
- After age one, toddlers are to have no more than one 4 ounce serving each day of fruit juice. This includes juices labeled “100% fruit juice.” Four ounces is one half of a measured cup — far less than the typical “sippy cup” holds. Drinks labeled “fruit drinks” are not of the same nutritional quality as 100% fruit juices.
- Juice should be given in one serving. Children should not be allowed to wander around taking sips here and there. This strategy will decrease the risk of cavities associated with bathing teeth in the sweet liquid.
- Children over age four may have 4 to 6 ounces per day of 100 percent juice or reconstituted juice. This should be part of a healthy diet that encourages whole fruit as a much better source of vitamins and fiber.
- Juice should never be given at bedtime to any age child.
- Unpasteurized juice is not appropriate at any age. This is due to the real risk of food borne illnesses such as E. coli.
- Babies under one year of age should not have fruit juice.
- No fruit juice before bed.
- Toddlers should have no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice daily.
- Focus on 100% juice, not juice blends.