How Much Prune Juice Should I Give a 6-Month-Old?

Hold Off on the Prune Juice for Your Little One

There are many exciting things happening in your baby’s life at 6 months, including starting solid foods. As you start with solids, prunes may not be one of your first go-to options, but there are quite a few health benefits. Prunes, actually just dried plums, provide a healthy dose of vitamins and nutrients as well as a natural remedy when your little guy gets stopped up, but it's best to hold off on offering juice unless your little one really needs it.

How Much Prune Juice?

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Healthy Fruit Juices During Pregnancy

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not giving any juice to babies until they’re a year old. This change was made in 2017 from the original recommendation of waiting until babies were 6 months old, because they say juice offers no nutritional benefit to younger babies.

Even with the change, the AAP, along with other medical groups such as the Mayo Clinic, suggest give your little one fruit juice if she is constipated. A good rule of thumb is 1 ounce per month of life, up to 4 ounces a day. Try to use 100 percent fruit juice to avoid any additional sweeteners, and use a sippy cup. Check with your doctor before offering your baby juice.

Because it’s best to avoid prune juice unless you really need to, first try offering some foods that won’t constipate your little one. Pureed peaches, prunes or any green vegetable are good options. Avoid constipating foods such as rice cereal, bananas, squash and applesauce, until your little one’s system is running smoothly again.

Concerns About Too Much Juice

Beside the fact that there’s no nutritional benefit to younger babies drinking juice, pediatricians have a few other concerns as well. One worry is that your little one will drink too much juice and not drink enough formula or breast milk. This means your baby misses out on the protein, fat and other nutrients he gets from formula and breast milk. Drinking too much juice can also damage the enamel of your baby’s teeth and lead to tooth decay. Overconsumption of certain juices can lead to constant diarrhea, and many fruit juices contain high levels of fructose, which can cause restlessness, gas and stomach distress in babies.

Health Benefits of Prunes

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How to Help a Constipated Baby

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Prunes are often one of the first choices for moms and doctors as a natural aid for constipation. There’s a reason they’re so helpful in this situation. Prunes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as sorbitol. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your little one’s poop and helps him pass it faster. Sorbitol is a natural laxative, which pulls large amounts of water into your baby’s intestines and also helps push waste through his little system.

In addition to helping with constipation, prunes also contain potassium, iron and vitamin A.

Allergy Concerns With Prunes

As when you introduce any new food to your little one, wait three to five days after giving her prunes for the first time before introducing anything else. This goes for prunes and prune juice, which should be introduced separately.

Keep an eye out for any allergic reaction to prunes. Signs of an allergy include diarrhea, rash or vomiting. If your baby reacts to the prunes, stop offering them and contact your pediatrician.

Contacting Your Doctor

If you’re using prunes to help your little one’s constipation, keep a few things in mind. Every baby’s bowel movements are different. A formula-fed baby generally has one dirty diaper a day, but may go a day or two without one. A breastfed baby, after 1 month of age, may go up to a week without a dirty diaper.

If your little one is still constipated, it’s time to call your pediatrician. Signs of constipation include: when your little one has fewer bowel movements than before, strains for more than 10 minutes without success, or his poop is unusually hard or pelletlike or contains blood.

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