When you are a parent, you go through stages of hydration with your kids. At first, you’re only allowed to give them formula or breast milk, and as they get older, you are allowed to graduate your tots to regular milk, water, and juices. But because they sometimes contain high concentrations of sugar, pediatricians recommend diluting fruit juices with water. If your growing toddler is demanding more of that sweet nectar, you may wonder, how long should I water juice down for my toddler?
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children ages 1 to 3 shouldn’t have more than 4 ounces of juice per day, and babies under 1 shouldn’t be given juice at all. The AAP further recommended that children ages 4 through 6 should consume no more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice.
The reason for limiting juice intake, explained the AAP, is that fruit juices are not nutritionally beneficial, and in excess, the added sugars and sweeteners in juices can lead to cavities, weight gain, diarrhea, and may even make your child lose interest in nutritious drinks like milk and water. The AAP also noted that it is better to offer your toddler whole fruits in place of juice, because of the fiber and nutrition they provide. Healthy Children recommended when shopping for juice for your child, you make sure it is 100 percent pure fruit juice, and not a sugary fruit drink.
So if your child is under the age of 4, they should only have 4 ounces or less of juice, and can graduate to 6 ounces in a year. If you need that recommended 4 ounces to last the day, you’ll definitely need to keep diluting it, because 4 ounces isn't really that much. The smallest juice boxes contain over 4 ounces of juice, which is the day’s limit for a toddler.
Spreading one tiny juice box throughout an entire day may be tough, so you can always continue to offer your child milk, water, or even a fruit smoothie. In the end, you can use the AAP recommendations, advice from your pediatrician, common sense, and a lot of love to make the best decisions for you and your toddler.