The Scoop on Giving Your Baby Juice

Many moms like to think that as soon as their baby turns 6 months of age, they should start giving them juice. But this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, juice is NOT necessary for an infant. Here's why:

- Because of the sugars in juice, it can cause diarrhea.

- Too much juice can cause a child to be overweight or obese.

- Juice contains sugars and acids that can cause tooth decay.

- Giving your baby too much juice can hinder growth and development, and can cause malnutrition and anemia due to lack of nutrients like proteins and complex carbohydrates.

- If you are still breastfeeding, juice can cause your baby to nurse less.

Although juice contains Vitamin C, you don't want to give them too much. It should never be considered a supplement. If you must give your baby juice, consider these guidelines.

- Wait until your baby is at least 6 months old. But even then, babies at this age still do not require it.

- Dilute juice by at least half and half. Most grocery stores have a baby aisle with juice specially diluted for babies. These juices also contain more Vitamin C than regular juices, but are also more expensive.

- Never give your baby juice from a bottle. And never give them juice from a cup to suck on all day. This can cause tooth decay.

- Don't give your baby juice at bedtime.

- Babies shouldn't have more than 150ml (one half cup) of juice a day.

- Instead of giving fruits in liquid form, try giving them real fruit!

- If your baby is thirsty, give them water instead. If your baby doesn't like water, try flavoring the water with a little bit of juice.

- If you start feeding your baby water from the beginning, they won't naturally prefer juice instead of water.

I hope these tips will help you in your decision to feed your baby juice. If you are concerned about your baby's health, contact your physician.

Cassandra Germsheid is the owner of Baby Tips Online (http://www.babytipsonline.com). She is a stay at home mother but sometimes works part time for her local newspaper.

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