Watching your baby begin to transition to solid foods is an exciting part of every parent’s life, specifically, yogurt for babies. Finally, you begin to see them try new things and develop more personality through their food preferences.
Yogurt is one of these new and exciting foods fed to babies worldwide, and with good reason: it is creamy, delicious, and packed with essential nutrients! Most experts agree that babies can begin to eat yogurt starting around when they eat solid food or six months of age.
If you choose to feed your baby yogurt, you may have questions about the benefits, possible allergic reactions to look out for, the best type of yogurt for your baby, and the best way to serve yogurt to your baby.
The Benefits of Yogurt for Babies
Yogurt is suitable for babies to eat because it has essential nutrients. The main nutritional benefit of yogurt is that it is a tasty source of protein. Protein plays a critical role in child development by serving as the nutrient that builds healthy muscles, skin, and bones.
The second nutritional benefit is that yogurt is full of healthy fats. Babies need healthy fats in their diets to help them eat enough calories to grow and for proper brain development.
Another benefit to yogurt is that it has probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that help improve your baby’s immune system and digestion. Yogurt is also high in calcium, potassium, vitamin B-12, and magnesium!
The last benefit to yogurt is that it is easier to digest than other dairy products. Yogurt has less lactose than milk because of the straining and fermenting process that it goes through. Lactose intolerance is not very common in babies but introducing foods lower in lactose, like yogurt, can help ease babies into eating dairy products with minor discomfort.
Baby Yogurt Allergies
Your baby can have an allergic reaction to yogurt if they have a milk allergy because the manufacturers made the yogurt with cow’s milk. Therefore, it is essential to know the signs and symptoms of a milk allergy when you begin to feed your baby yogurt.
Some signs of a food allergy are:
- Belly pain
- Hives or rash
- Nausea or vomiting
- Red rash around the mouth
- Swelling of the face, legs, or arms
- Trouble breathing
Experts recommend waiting three days after the initial feeding to look for signs of an allergic reaction. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop feeding your baby yogurt and contact your doctor.
The Best Yogurt for Babies
When choosing a yogurt for babies, simple is best. Plain, whole milk yogurt has no added sugar and the most nutritional benefits for babies. So save some money and skip the organic yogurts. It makes no difference for the baby’s nutrition!
- Nancy’s Probiotic 100% Grass-Fed Whole Milk Yogurt. This yogurt checks all the boxes to be a healthy option for your baby, and it has the added benefit of being made from grass-fed milk. Grass-fed products have higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your baby’s developing brain!
- Dannon Whole Milk Plain Yogurt. Smooth, creamy, and simple! This yogurt is perfect for babies because it delivers all the nutrients your baby needs to develop and grow at an affordable price for mom to enjoy too!
- Brown Cow Whole Milk Plain Yogurt. This yogurt is rich and indulgent because of its high-fat content. If your baby likes smoother textures and milder flavors, this would be a good option for introducing them to yogurt!
Greek yogurt is trendy because it has more whey strained out, making it thicker, higher in protein, and lower in sugar than traditional yogurts. However, if you choose to go with Greek yogurt, it is recommended to choose whole milk and plain Greek yogurt still, if possible.
- Fage 5% Milk Fat Plain Greek Yogurt. This yogurt is unbelievably thick (but still creamy!) because it’s had much of the water strained into a Greek-style yogurt, which would be a great yogurt to use as a spread for your baby to experiment with new textures!
- Chobani Greek Whole Milk Plain Yogurt. Smooth in texture and flavor. This yogurt is high in protein which is essential for your baby to develop strong muscles and bones!
- Greek Gods Plain Traditional Yogurt. This yogurt is my favorite brand of yogurt. Even though it has been strained and is a Greek-style yogurt, it is unbelievably creamy and decadent- it almost has a velvety texture to it that baby and mom are both sure to love!
Kefir and Skyr are great yogurt alternatives for babies who don’t prefer the thicker texture of yogurt. Kefir is milk fermented similarly to yogurt, but it has a runny consistency that makes it more drinkable.
Skyr is a cultured Icelandic cheese with a very similar texture to yogurt but a slightly milder flavor. Both kefir and skyr still pack the same nutritional benefits of protein and probiotics and are safe to feed to your baby!
- Lifeway Kefir, Plain & Unsweetened. Kefir is known as the Champagne of Dairy because the probiotic powerhouses inside can give it a slightly fizzy or effervescent texture.
These same probiotics are what make this a great addition to a baby’s diet. Probiotics can help your baby establish a healthy digestive system and improve their immune system!
- Siggi’s 4% Milkfat Skyr, Plain. Naturally sweeter than traditional yogurt, Skyr is a great option for picky eaters who struggle with tangy and sour flavors! As a bonus, Skyr is incredibly high in protein- even higher than greek yogurt!
Other companies make great yogurts, so choose the brand you like best if you don’t find these brands in your area. It is a healthy choice for your baby as long as it is whole milk and plain yogurt!
How to Feed Yogurt to Babies
Yogurt can be fed to babies as is, and many babies enjoy the tangy, creamy flavor of plain yogurt! There are also a variety of other ways to incorporate it into your baby’s diet. For example, try serving yogurt mixed into your baby’s oatmeal or rice cereal or mashing some fruit, like bananas, into it for some sweetness.
You can also try making yogurt drinkable by mixing it with applesauce or adding it to a fruit smoothie. Don’t forget to try it with savory foods too! Yogurt goes well in mashed black beans, sweet potato, and avocado too.
Some parents like to freeze yogurt into popsicles or yogurt melts to give to their teething infants as a gumming tool to help ease the pain of teething. This time could also be a great introduction to finger foods!
The main thing you want to avoid is sweetening yogurt with honey. You should not serve babies under 12 months old because there is a risk for developing infant botulism, a type of food poisoning from bacterial spores that can live in honey. After your baby is over a year old, their digestive system is mature enough to eat honey and not get sick from it.
Yogurt is healthy food for all ages, including babies. Babies can begin eating yogurt when old enough to eat solid foods, usually around six months old. The best yogurt for babies is a whole fat, plain yogurt.
You can incorporate yogurt into your baby’s diet independently or by mixing it into other mashed foods and smoothies. Just make sure to avoid mixing honey into yogurt for children less than 12 months of age.
When introducing any new food to your baby, be aware of the signs and symptoms of food allergies. For example, if your baby begins to show signs of lactose intolerance or a milk allergy, stop feeding your baby yogurt and contact your pediatrician.