Some say that pickle juice can help teething or calm an upset tummy, but is it safe for a baby to drink? If your baby is under six months of age, the answer is no, says Baby Center. For older babies, moderation is key.
When and How Much Pickle Juice
Pickles are simply cucumbers floating in a liquid made up of vinegar, salt, and spices. It's the juice that gives them their delicious taste, and it's natural to want to share this taste treat with your little one. Plus, there's the added entertainment value of the faces she will make when she tries it for the first time. However, as with everything baby-related, safety is paramount.
Not for Young Babies
When it comes to your baby's diet, it's important to choose foods carefully since he should still be getting the bulk of his nutrition from breast milk or formula. Some babies love the tangy taste of pickle juice, but if he's filling his tummy with it, there's no room left for other healthy foods. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends holding off on juice in general until a child is one year old. Although pickle juice isn't technically "juice," it's still a good idea to err on the side of caution.
In Moderation for Older Babies
While a bit of pickle juice from time to time after six months probably isn't going to cause any damage to your infant's health, offering it too often could fill his tummy so he's too full to eat other foods and cause his diet to be too high in sodium.
A 3.5-ounce serving contains anywhere from 50% to 110% of the daily recommended intake for an adult, according to Medical News Today. The National Health Service recommends less than 1 gram of salt per day for children under 12 months old. If you do decide to give your baby a bit of pickle juice, be sure you balance the sodium content with her other foods and drinks to ensure that she's not getting too much. Too much sodium can cause several health issues, according to the World Action on Salt & Health.
- A high intake of salt puts your baby at risk of elevated blood pressure.
- Too much sodium can alter calcium absorption, putting babies, especially girls, at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis later in life.
- A diet high in salt can also damage the lining of your baby's stomach, which increases the risk of stomach cancer down the road.
Are the Possible Benefits Worth It?
As with most parenting decisions, you need to weigh the benefits against the risks when it comes to pickle juice. Always consult your doctor for the final word, but these are some of the benefits you may want to consider.
Soothing Teething Babies
Many parents have heard that pickles and pickle juice is a great home remedy for teething. There's only anecdotal evidence to support this claim, but that doesn't mean trying a small amount of pickle juice is a bad idea. According to Daily Mom, you can rub a bit of cold pickle juice on your baby's gums when her teeth are coming in. The frigid temperature, combined with the salt content, may work to numb the gums, offering relief when teething pain gets to be too much for your baby to handle.
Since the amount of pickle juice your baby is consuming is so small, you may find that experimenting with this teething remedy is worth a tiny bit of sodium.
Calming Upset Tummies
Because pickle juice contains probiotics, a healthy form of bacteria, it can promote regular digestion and help an upset tummy, says Parenting Healthy Babies. Still, it's important to limit the amount you give to keep sodium levels low. Cultures for Health suggests dipping a spoon or your finger in the pickle juice and giving a few drops to your baby at a time.
Not a Good Source of Nutrition
The high sodium content in pickle juice outweighs its nutritional value, but According to Medical News Today, pickle juice does have the following nutritional benefits:
- Vitamin A, which is essential for a functioning immune system and for healthy gums and teeth.
- Iron, a mineral that is necessary for healthy blood flow throughout your baby's body.
- Calcium, a nutrient that plays a role in strong bones.
- Potassium, which is needed for regulation of your baby's blood pressure.
- Magnesium, something your baby needs for strong bones and a healthy blood pressure.
Keep in mind, however, that the amounts of these nutrients are very small and won't be enough to cover your child's daily intake requirements.
Not Something to Drink All the Time
When it comes to pickle juice and babies, your best bet it to talk it over with your child's pediatrician to determine if pickle juice is a good choice for your little one. If you're given the go ahead, keep his portions small and make pickle juice a healthy addition to a well-balanced diet, rather than something he drinks all the time.