While we as parents know that breast milk or formula are the best source of nutrients for our child, we often wonder when we can add a little flavor to their diet, like the sweetness of orange juice.
When our children start consuming solid foods around four to six months of age, that is around the same time they can also start being introduced to new liquids.
Starting your child on liquids is something that needs to be discussed with your child’s doctor prior to implementation. While our children are eager to taste new things, some drinks are not good for our child’s developing digestive systems. This includes orange juice.
Once your baby has started solid foods, they can usually be introduced to small amounts of water or juice. Most pediatricians recommend using juices that do not contain acid, which can be very hard on a baby’s stomach. Usually, babies will start with prune, apple or grape juice.
Can I Give My Baby Orange Juice? Answer: Not Recommended.
Orange juice is not good for babies under one year of age. While orange juice is packed with vitamins, especially vitamin C, fibers and nutrients that are great for your baby’s growth and development, it is also packed with acids.
Orange juice is made from oranges, and oranges are considered a citrus food. The acids found in citrus foods are known as citric acids. These acids can be very hard on your baby’s digestive system, and may result in your child having a rash. This rash can occur around their face from consuming orange juice, or it could also result in diaper rash.
The citric acids found in orange juice make it hard for your baby to digest. This is why it is recommended to hold off introducing orange juice to your child until after his or her first birthday. During the initial introductions, you may also want to consider diluting the orange juice with water to ensure there is less acidity in the drink.
Go With Juices for Babies
There are plenty of baby-specific juices available in supermarkets. While more expensive, these juices are the better choice because they contain less sugar than regular juices. Even though most regular juices contain real fruit, they also contain a good amount of added sugar.
Too much sugar can cause major health problems in your child’s life as well as have negative effects on their growth and development. While consuming juice can have its benefits, giving your child breast milk and/or formula until his or her first birthday is the best form of nutrients your child can receive.
If you think your child needs supplemental liquids, which are not recommended until after six months of age, water is always a better choice than juice.
Some children have a sensitivity to the acid in oranges, which can result in an allergic reaction. When you first introduce orange juice to your little one, make sure to serve it alone. It is always best to wait three days in between feeding your child new foods or drinks. This way, if your child does have an allergic reaction, you will know what caused it.
Citric Acid is the Culprit
Remember, the citric acid in orange juice is too harsh for your young baby’s stomach to digest. It is recommended to introduce orange juice to your child after his or her first birthday. If you want to start your child on juice, and your pediatrician has given you the go-ahead, it is best to start your child on low acidic juices, such as apple, prune or grape. These fruit juices have less acidity in them and are easy for your child to digest.
Added Sugar Concerns
Also remember that even though fruit juices can be made with real fruit, most of them do contain added sugar. Too much sugar in your child’s diet can be harmful to their health, and it is recommended to limit your child’s intake of juice to no more than 2-4 ounces per day. And remember that water is a better choice for your child than juice.
As always, if you have any questions about introducing orange juice to your child, it is always best to consult with your child’s pediatrician. They will be able to further discuss your concerns and answer your questions in more thorough detail.