Consumption of soft drinks and other sweet drinks by WIC infants
The Journal has published numerous articles on consumption of soft drinks and other sweet drinks by children,1–4 but none of these articles has reported on infants. Papers published elsewhere on complementary feeding of infants have seldom considered these beverages.
The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Infant Feeding Practices Study,5,6 a nationally representative 1-year longitudinal study carried out in the mid-1990s, found high levels of consumption of these beverages by infants. In the first month of life, 14% of infants received sweet drinks (i.e., sugar water, fruit-flavored drinks, sodas, tea, and coffee), and by the age of 4 months, nearly one third of infants received these drinks.
This practice was most common among Hispanic infants—one fourth of whom were given sweet drinks in the first month and almost one half of whom were given sweet drinks in the first 4 months. Many Hispanic mothers reported giving their infants “manzanilla” tea in hopes of preventing or treating colic.