HEALTH REPORT: Breast Milk

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - For years, parents have been advised to avoid giving their babies anything to drink other than breast milk or formula while under the age of six months. Now, the American Academy of pediatrics has expanded that recommendation to include all children under the age of one year.
Rhiannon Walker tells us more in this week's Health Report.
Doctor Richard So of Cleveland Clinic Children's says that's the concern is that fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit and could potentially replace things that a growing baby really needs.
Richard So; Doctor at Cleveland Clinic Childrens>>: "Breast milk or formula has the carbohydrates, the proteins, and the fats necessary for optimal growth. Now, if you replace those nutrients - carbohydrates, fats, proteins - with just sugar and water, which is most fruit juices - your child's not going to grow."
Doctor So says another problem is that fruit juice is also typically high in sugar, which, if consumed too often, can pre-dispose a child to becoming overweight.
He says it is important to ask- why are we giving a child sugar?
Sometimes the problem is the association- that sugar is special- and something that a child receives as a reward.
Doctor So says that using juice or any sweets as a reward is a bad idea- as this can lead the c child to a pattern of "emotional" eating down the road.
He says it can get tricky, as many times juices are marketed as 'healthy' or full of vitamins, but he warns parents not to be fooled.
And even after a child turns one, doctor So says it doesn't mean that parents should just let their kids drink as much juice as they wish.
He says it is best to continue to give kids milk or water as their everyday drinks.
Richard So; Doctor at Cleveland Clinic Childrens>>: "At the meals it should be milk or water. Juice should be treated as a special occasion - I don't think it should be treated, like, as a special treat you should get daily or you should be rewarded with juice."
For this week's Health Report, I'm Rhiannon Walker.