Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Juice monster

I think this would be top in the list of "if I could go back and do it differently". (The nice thing is that list is short, so far, which must mean we're doing something right...)

At a young age, Maddie started getting juice offered. As I was the paranoid-obsessed breast-feeding mom (I was so afraid I'd lose my supply or she wouldn't get the right nutrients, I would breastfeed after every "meal" of solids she got), I hated the thought of her drinking anything else for the first 6 months. Then six months hit, we started on solids and the Grandmas kept bugging me that juice would be fine as well. And so we did start on the juice pretty early. As in - she was drinking and asking for more - well before her 1st birthday.

And now? She refuses to drink anything but juice, all day long. Sometimes I can get her to drink some milk (read: an ounce or two) with her meal, but if you offer her milk any other time (unless it's bedtime bottle), she'll throw it right back at you. And forget water - it's like an insult.

Instead, we get the whine, and the (fake) cry, and the eventual angry scream for more JUIIIIIICE!

And most times? We give in. Because you know, we're apparently lazy like that.

But after our last doctor's appointment, where I was asked her general intake of milk and I had to reply - about 10 ounces. Well I vowed to make some changes. And that was about 2 weeks ago, so best I start to do it, right?

I've determined that I can (sometimes) get her to drink water out of a different style sippy - the Rubbermaid juice boxes - more like a straw cup than a sippy. Whatever - if it works then I figure it's fine.

But what do you do when she's whining for juice and nothing else will work? I don't know. Aside from retrospectively wishing I just offered her water as a drink alternative (especially as she eats so much fruit, we don't have to use juice as a vitamin component to her diet), I can't really think of a good idea.

Do we just go cold turkey, limit her to one sippy of juice per day and offer water or milk the rest of the time? Listen to the screams and be the evil juice-withholding parents of her worst nightmares?

Or do we just say 'eff it. Fix it with the next kid and let her become a juice monster who's teeth rot out and etc etc etc...

Should be said - we always water down her juice by at least 50%, and she's never had yeast or diarrhea issues from the juice. These are really just my concerns, based on nothing. Guilt? Reading too many child-rearing advice columns that happened to talk about juice intake recently? Who knows.

Would love some advice though. Even if the advice is "shut up and don't worry about it"...



KristinaV said...

My son is similar and he drank A LOT of milk up until about 2 years old. He didn't get juice very often, either. He was a huge milk drinker. Too much milk actually. Now, at 2 1/2 (he'll be 3 in Oct) the ONLY way we can get him to drink milk is if it's chocolate milk!

Chocolate milk is still nutritious so we have no problems with this. We also water down his juice a lot but the older he gets the more he catches on to our little tricks and tell us no water, more juice!

Good luck and know that kids are ever changing and evolving and what they will or won't eat/drink one day they all of a sudden can't get enough of the next day!

Freckles said...

As tough as it is, I say you should limit her juice intake. I know, she will cry like her world is ending, like you're the worst parents ever...but now is the time to change habits. She will be able to survive on milk and water for drinks, as much as she tries to convince you otherwise. :)

The calories from sugar in the juice are not a big deal now, but if the habit continues, as she gets older and doesn't need as many calories (I'm talking preteens), it can become an issue. Just a thought.

For my kids, juice was limited. Caitlyn (at 5 now) may have juice or milk with her breakfast (her choice) and juice with her morning snack at school, but milk with lunch and supper, and water at other times of the day. Liam gets milk with every meal and it's a rarity we give him juice instead of water at other times. When they're little, juice is kind of a treat, then, when they're older, it's not viewed as a regular drink.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do! And don't worry -- the first kid is all about figuring out this parenting thing. :)

~ Freckles

Deb said...

I say try limiting her juice now...she'll make your life miserable for it, but eventually she'll get over it. Maybe try using sippy cups for juice and other type of cups for other drinks. She'll hate you for awhile, but she'll learn.

debbie v said...

OH for gosh sakes two or 3 sippy cups with half water a day, is not going to hurt her as long as she gets her daily milk intake, tell Annette to give her milk only then when she is home she gets her bottle, milk for supper and juuiccce!!!!!!!!!!
love grammie

Anonymous said...

juice is the DEVIL

SnH said...

Thanks for the advice everyone. Sometimes you just need to be told your instincts were right, right?

We are going to limit her juice intake - in fact, I suspect she gets more than enough at daycare - so we'll be offering milk and/or water at mealtimes from now on.

Anonymous said...

Now might be a good time to start teaching her some limitations. If you continually give in she will not learn how to follow boundries. It will get worse as she gets older. I also think 18mos. is pretty old to still have a bottle.

Carly said...

I went through the same battle with, oh, everyone, about juice. But we stuck with it, mostly because I come from a family of weak teeth, and did not want Lucy (and now Alice) getting sugar-coated at such a young age. I also think juice is empty calories, and see many of my mom friends battling eating issues with their kids who are huge juice drinkers. Lucy got all her teeth early, too, (first one at 3 months, and a full set just after a year).

We've never been big juice drinkers, either, so this helps. We only get unconcentrated apple & OJ when it is in the house. Lucy, at 3, knows it's a "special treat" and we water it down almost half.

Thankfully, because of this, she loves water and milk. And hates "fizzy drinks" (pop).

If you already water it down (that's awesome), I'd start gradually adding a bit more each time until you're down to, say, 75% water and 25% juice. This is a great way to wean her off it, while still giving her some.

Yes, the juice isn't going to hurt her, per se, but it can start a life-long habit, as someone else mentioned. It can easily lead to pop and other unhealthy liquids.

If she's thirsty, she'll drink water. It'll be a battle of wills, though!

Good luck.

p.s. -- to anonymous regarding the bottle at 18 months: A bedtime bottle is a comfort and nightime transition to little ones. It's not like Maddie is running around with one filled with juice (gah, HATE seeing that!) all day, and it's not like she'll be 10 and still taking one. My daughter had one before bed until she was 2. What is so bad about this, and why the rush to force them to give up something so comforting?

(Wow, this was a ranty comment, S -- sorry. Two big issues for me...)