Water and Juice

Water and Juice

We get questions all the time about when to give water or juice to a baby. First, let us say that when it comes to juice, it is not an essential part of a baby’s diet. There is little nutritional value in juice. That being said, there are certain times that juice may be useful. Once babies start on cereal and subsequently solid food, sometimes the stools become more firm and your baby may begin straining to have a bowel movement. In these cases we will often recommend giving your baby 1-2 ounces of juice per day either in a sippy cup or mixed with the cereal.

When giving juice to a baby, you should always dilute it with an equal amount of water, at first. You should always use 100% juice, not fruit drinks which are mostly sugar. Never use unpasteurized juice in an infant. The best juices to use to help with constipation are juices that begin with the letter ‘P’. These include pear, peach, and prune. White grape juice is also useful. Most parents begin with apple juice because they are most familiar with it. Sometimes apple juice will soften the stools, but it can also cause constipation, so we recommend trying one of the other juices first. You can buy small 4oz bottles in the baby aisle of most grocery stores, Walmart, Target, etc. The following is a guide for limiting juice in your child.

Age 100% juice
0-6 months no juice unless advised by physician
6-12 months 4 ounces or less (dilute with equal amount of water)
1-6 years 6 ounces or less
6-18 years 12 ounces or less

You should avoid giving your baby citrus juices such as orange, pineapple, or grapefruit juice until one year of age.

Water should never be given under 6 months of age unless directed by your physician. Once your baby is taking solid foods, you may offer him a sippy cup of water with meals. We recommend limiting to 4 ounces until one year of age. Babies need to continue consuming formula or breastfeeding until one year of age. Giving your baby too much water will take away from the amount of nutrition he is receiving and can lead to health problems. Always use distilled bottled water or boil your tap water and cool when using in formula or giving to an infant less than 6 months.