While apple juice does contain vitamin C, it offers no nutritional benefit for babies under 6 months old. Babies older than 6 months can have apple juice, but amounts should be limited. Drinking apple juice has no nutritional benefit over eating fruits. The nutritional needs and development of your baby must be assessed before you offer her apple juice.
Baby's Nutritional Needs
For the first year of life, babies need breast milk or formula as their main source of nutrition. Actually, for the first six months, breast milk or formula should be a baby's only source of nutrition. Developmentally, babies around 6 months old are typically ready for solids. Your baby should be able to sit up and hold his head steady before you offer him solids. You will also notice that your baby shows interest in food when you are eating. Juice should never be offered before age 6 months due to the importance of breast milk and formula.
How to Offer Apple Juice
When you decide to offer your baby apple juice, choose 100 percent juice. Look on the label. Some types of apple juice contain additional sugars or just have flavorings added to make it taste like apple juice. At 6 months old, your baby can have 4 ounces of juice per day but no more. When a baby is offered too much juice, it begins to replace nutritious breast milk or formula that your baby needs. Because apple juice contains natural sugar, you can dilute apple juice by adding water. You should also dilute juice by making it half juice, half water.
Developmentally Ready for Juice
If you choose to give your baby apply juice, wait until he can use the sippy cup. Never offer juice in the baby bottle. You can introduce the sippy cup to your baby starting around 6 months of age. If your baby is not ready for the sippy cup at age 6 months, he needs to wait on the introduction of any type of juice until he is ready for the sippy cup.
Other Juice Concerns
Juice should never replace breast milk or formula. Giving too much apple juice to your baby can decrease his appetite for the nutritious foods he needs to stay healthy. Due to the sugar content of juice, babies are at a higher risk of tooth decay if they drink it often or drink too much. It is recommended that apple juice be offered with a snack or at mealtime. Too much juice can also cause diarrhea, excessive weight gain or a diaper rash.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Where We Stand: Fruit Juice
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Baby 0-12 Months
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Switching to Solid Foods
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Water & Juice
- Gerber: Gerber NatureSelect 100% Fruit Juice – Apple
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Fruit Juice and Your Child's Diet
- Baby Center: Can Fruit Juice Give My Baby Diarrhea?