The AAP Says Babies Under a Year Old Should Have Absolutely No Juice

I've never been the type of mom to give my kids a lot of juice. Don't get me wrong, they get plenty of sugar (my son would drink syrup straight-up if I let him). Which is precisely why I've avoided a lot of juice with meals and snacks. It's never really made sense in my mind to “waste” their sugar allowance on juice because 1) juice doesn't really quench your thirst anyways and 2) it's not like juice will be filling up their tummies. 

As you can imagine, the no juice policy hasn't been a very popular one with my kids or, surprisingly, other people. It seems par for the course at kids' events, school functions, and birthday parties that kids = juice. I mean, how many of us remember our childhoods spent just kicking back with a cool juice box? You knew it would be a good day if you got a Capri-Sun. 

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But now, there may just be an end to juice for kids for good. 

no juice
Image via Flickr/ Geoff Peters

A new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics says that juice for kids is a big no-no. They explained that in the past, juice was actually something that was recommended by doctors because it was a good source of Vitamin C, vitamins, and fiber. It was especially helpful to parents whose children suffered from constipation as a way to help them go to the bathroom. 

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However, we have learned more about nutrition. Americans, in general, are eating more and exercising less. So fruit juice for children has become an unnecessary source of extra sugar and calories because it is lacking in protein and fiber, so it's absorbed readily into the bloodstream. And instead of eating actual fruit, the AAP found that kids between the ages of 2 and 18 get half of their recommended “fruit” intake as juice. Unfortunately, juice, even if it contains fruit, can not replace eating actual pieces of fruit. 

Now, the AAP is recommending that children no longer drink juice. They also suggest that doctors do not recommend juice as a “healthy” option for vitamins. Parents should offer their kids water to drink and real, physical fruit as a source of their nutrition. The new guidelines for juice are as follows:

  • For kids aged 7-16, the AAP recommends that children drink no more than one cup, or 8 ounces, of juice per day
  • Children under one-year-old should not have any juice
  • Kids over one should only have 100% fruit juice
  • Juice should not be used to treat constipation
  • Juice should never be used as a substitute for formula or breast milk for babies

Bottom line? The AAP is moving away from seeing juice as a “healthy” option for kids at any age. So, when in doubt, offer your kiddos water and an actual piece of fruit instead. 

Do you have a no juice policy at home?

What do you think?

The AAP Says Babies Under a Year Old Should Have Absolutely No Juice

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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