When I did some research, I found out I was right to an extent, but still befuddled by catch phrases so that I didn’t think things through. Fortunately, I found out how best to handle juicing for babies before she was born, so I was able to do things the right way. Here’s some of what I learned that hopefully you can apply to your child.
What Not to Do
Let’s start here since it’s the more important part. Juices, both fruit and vegetable based, can be harsh on a system that isn’t used to them. That’s one of the reasons why juice can be excellent for a child, but not in the first six months. At that point, their digestive system isn’t developed enough to handle the ingredients that are in juices, or really much of anything.
Another thing that you shouldn’t do is start feeding them harsh juices early in their lives. Juice can be tough to digest even when the system is capable of doing so. You want to keep an eye on your child as you’re introducing them to juice, start them at a little bit at a time, and look for signs of distress. If your child is getting sick, has diarrhea, or gets very bad gas after ingesting juice, you should stop feeding it to them and take them to the doctor if symptoms continue.
Finally, don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle of juice in their mouths. If they are drinking a fruit juice, the sugars can promote tooth decay early in life. This isn’t to say that if they nod off while drinking you’ll be paying for dentist bills forever, but try to not let them go all night with a mouth full of apple juice very often.
What You Should Do
If you’re introducing your child to juice as an infant, there are ways to go about it that will help them not only accept the juice more easily and digest it, but will also give them a taste for fresh juice and start a lifetime of healthy habits.
The first thing you should do when you’re introducing your child to juice is to water down both fruit and vegetable juices in a ratio of one part juice to one part water. They are still getting used to processing foods that aren’t milk or formula, so this will help them acclimate to more complex consumables.
There are some people who will argue to avoid fruit juices at first due to the sugar, but the watering down process will take care of that while still allowing your baby to enjoy the slight sweetness that comes from reduced sugar amounts. As with most things, moderation is the best way to go.
Finally, check and see what parts of them are developing during certain phases of their lives and get them juices that will help them do that. Are they building bone at this point? Grapefruit is a good addition to help with that. Carrot juices assist with circulation which can help nutrients get where they need to be in those little bodies.
Children who grow up drinking juice are a lot more likely to have healthy eating habits later in life. While you should be careful about what you give them and don’t think that just because it’s “natural” it’s good, you will set up your children for good health their whole lives