Babies and Sugar: When Should You Introduce Sweets?
There’s nothing cuter than a baby having their first taste of solid food. Whether you choose avocados, bananas, or a puree, your baby is likely to respond with some enthusiastic expressions. While it’s well known that babies get all the nutrition they need from breastmilk or formula until they turn one, and solids before that time are only for fun and to help them begin to develop their independent eating skills, parents and other caregivers often get excited to have babies a taste of something new.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that caregivers start the introduction of solids with vegetables, but often what people get most excited about is giving their baby something sweet. So, when can and should a baby experience sweets for the first time? Take a look at some common sweets and when your baby can begin to enjoy them!
When a baby starts solids they typically begin with vegetables of some sort. Doctors recommend vegetables as a good first food because they are nutrient rich and can often be softened enough for babies to enjoy without a significant choking risk. Fruit can be added to a baby's diet after they have been eating vegetables for a few weeks so, likely between 6-12 months.
While parents might be anxious to fill their little one's cup with juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that juice not be introduced until a baby is at least a year old. In reality, though, juice is very high in sugar and does not offer any significant nutritional value, so there is absolutely no need to ever introduce juice. Babies, toddlers, kids, and grown-ups won’t miss out on anything if they never drink a cup of juice and can get all the benefits many people think juice has from eating real fruit. If a parent does want to introduce juice they should wait until a baby is at least a year old and then cut the juice with 50% water.
Just like juice, there’s no real need for baby to ever be introduced to lots of the sugary sweets that are common in many people’s diets. While cake, candy, and soda can be yummy, babies shouldn't have them while they’re young. Giving baby lots of nutrient-rich foods while they are little can help them develop healthy eating habits as they grow. While there’s never a reason to give a baby soda, there’s no harm in letting them try their first bites of cake on their first birthday!