Giving your baby yogurt can be an exciting adventure, as they transition from formula / breast milk to solids. You probably asked yourself ‘can I give my baby yogurt’, and it turns that it’s a safe choice. Generally, babies can start eating yogurt as soon as they are able to eat solids.
You should consult your doctor on this matter if you want to be certain – many doctors have been recommending that you introduce yogurt when they are 9 to 10 months old. On the other hand, recent studies led some pediatrics to recommend that you start giving your baby yogurt (some types of it, such as whole milk or plain) as early as 6 months.
Benefits of Giving Your Baby Yogurt
Yogurt is beneficial and nutritional to babies who are 6 months and older. Yogurt is a convenient source of protein, and it has less lactose compare to whole milk – babies will be able to retain the enzyme in order to break down lactose.
The presence of probiotics in yogurts is also important. Yogurt is able to fine tune the immune system which lines the intestine, thus helping the body of the baby understand which bacteria is harmful and which is beneficial.
Lactose Intolerance? Is it safe?
It is worth noting however that giving your baby yogurt can result in an allergic reaction in those that have milk allergies. They can occur in around 2-3% of infants, symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, swelling, and irritability.
As with any new food that you introduce, you should wait at least 3 days before you introduce a new one. That way, in case of an allergic reaction you can pin point the cause. As noted, lactose intolerance is very rare among babies, and even if the baby might become lactose intolerant, it could still be safe for them to eat yogurt, as it is more easily tolerated compared to other dairy products.
If they show signs of a food allergy, or has been diagnosed with a milk allergy, talk to your doctor before you decide on giving your baby yogurt.
What Makes Giving Your Baby Yogurt Okay?
The medical community advises against dairy until the baby is 1 year old, as they worry that if parents introduce Whole Cow milk they would stop using formula or breastfeeding and use milk as a replacement. Replacing formula / breast milk with Whole Cow milk is dangerous to the health of the baby.
On the other hand, giving your baby yogurt (and cheese for that matter) does not put the baby at risk – meaning that parents won’t replace formula with yogurt. Lactose gets broken down with the culturing of the yogurt, and the milk proteins are limited or semi-removed. In addition, the culturing makes yogurt easy to digest.
Types of Yogurt
It’s ideal to be selective when picking out yogurt for you little one. There are many options on the market that are labeled for kids, but you should still pay attention to what you’re buying. Make sure you pick a whole milk yogurt, due to the fact that the baby needs the nutritious fat that is in the yogurt in order to develop properly. In addition, while all yogurt has naturally occurring sugars, make sure you are aware of how much sugar it contains and if it includes other additives, such as starches, fructose syrup, etc.
You can start with plain, whole milk yogurt, and in order to add flavor you can stir in a veggie of fruit purée that your baby might tolerate. As a side note: doing this will also end up saving you money, as yogurt marketed for babies are more expensive as well.
Conclusions – Can I Give My Baby Yogurt? Is it safe?
When you think about giving your baby yogurt, keep in mind the following:
- Yogurt is a safe choice once the baby is starting to eat solids
- If your baby is lactose intolerant, they might still be able to eat yogurt – check in with your doctor to make sure.
- Pay attention to extra sugars in the yogurt you choose – an ideal choice is to go with plain yogurt
- Dairy products are not recommended for babies until they are at least 1 year old, but eating yogurt and cheese are okay.