Young babies with a history of colic are more likely to re-experience some of the symptoms of colic after drinking apple juice than after drinking white grape juice, according to research published in the May 2002 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
According to the study, the infants fed apple juice experienced more crying and restlessness and slept significantly less as compared with infants fed white grape juice.
"Our study showed that babies with a history of colic are especially sensitive to what kind of juice they drink," said Fima Lifshitz, chief of nutrition sciences of Miami Children's Hospital and senior author of the study. "Previous studies have showed us that most young babies have a harder time digesting apple juice than white grape juice, so it makes sense that infants with colic would fare even worse when fed juice that is difficult to digest."
The double-blind study looked at 30 infants aged four to six 6 months, 16 of whom had a history of colic. The babies with a colic history were divided into two groups. One group was fed one serving of four ounces of white grape juice, the other group received the same amount of apple juice. The babies with no history of colic were also split into two groups, one receiving white grape, the other receiving apple.
"We found that the babies with a history of colic who drank apple juice exhibited significantly more crying during the study, expended more energy, slept less and were less able to digest the carbohydrates in the juices," explained study lead author, Debora Duro. "However, among the babies who drank white grape juice, there was no real differences in symptoms between those who had colic and those who didn't-white grape juice was well-tolerated."
"Ask any mother who's had a baby with colic, and she will tell you it is an emotionally painful experience for both baby and parent-one they don't wish to revisit," said Lifshitz. "Yet for some of these children, introducing a juice that is difficult to digest can recreate some of the same symptoms that characterised the colic, symptoms like abdominal gas, bloating and increased crying after feeding."
Lifshitz added that the primary dietary component for infants this age should be either breast milk or infant formula. "But this study confirms, like many previous studies, that all juices are not created equal. When the time comes to add juice to a baby's diet, my advice is that parents should be guided by scientific research when they select a juice for their baby, and the research clearly points towards white grape juice as the best choice, particularly if their babies have had colic."