July 02, 2015

Q: I'm very frustrated with my daycare. I breastfeed and pump milk for my 9-month-old daughter. My baby's daycare keeps giving her chocolate milk, juice, and Gatorade. I've told them more than once that I want her to have my breast milk or water only. I want her to like water and not juices and sweet stuff. How do I get them to listen? Am I being unreasonable?

A: You are not being unreasonable at all. It’s ok to give your infant limited amounts of fruit juice at around 6 months of age but first, it’s best to offer actual fruit (pureed or mashed) one at a time.  This will get her used to different tastes and textures and develop eating skills. If you do offer some fruit juice, make it 100 percent fruit juice and dilute it. Cap it at no more than 4 ounces daily. Too much juice can lead to some uncomfortable gastrointestinal issues (like cramps or diarrhea), and it can fill her up so much that she consumes less actual food (and therefore gets less total nutrients in her diet).

As for cow’s milk, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends delaying the introduction of cow’s milk until a baby’s first birthday (at which time she’s likely to better digest it). You can offer whole milk or opt for 2 percent milk if your infant is overweight or if you have a family history of obesity, heart disease, or high blood cholesterol.  And Gatorade? Infants should not be given beverages such like this because they can easily overdose on nutrients, especially when they’re delivered in drink form.

My best advice: discuss your validated concerns with the daycare center, or find one that will respect your wishes and take care of your infant as you would during her time away from you.

Answered by Elisa Zied