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Are you wondering when can babies have yogurt?
As a young mum you may be wondering can babies have yogurt, or even at what age can my baby have yogurt? The issues around giving dairy to your baby are confusing. We’ve all heard that young babies should not be given cows milk until they are at least 12 months old. This is because babies cannot digest cow’s milk as easily as they can digest breast milk or formula. In addition, your baby will be getting all the nutrients they need from breast milk or formula until they are 6 months old. But have you also heard that yogurt for babies is an excellent first food for your baby?
In this article we will cover and answer your questions about when can babies have yogurt?
How old do babies have to be to eat yogurt?
Most babies can start eating yogurt when you start introducing solid foods. Your baby should be showing signs that they are ready to eat solids by the time they are 6 months old. Every baby is different and some may be showing an interest in solids before they are 6 months. However, it is not recommended to start solids before your baby is 4 months old.
Signs your baby is ready to begin eating solid foods include:
- having good head and neck control, and they can sit upright when supported,
- showing an interest in food and reaching out for your food,
- opening their mouth when you offer them food on a spoon.
So when can babies eat yogurt? Experts recommend that you introduce yogurt to your little one as a first food at around 6 months of age. Make sure you choose full-fat dairy products such as plain yoghurt, Greek yogurt or fromage frais. Choose products with no added sugar. Remember, babies do not need any salt or sugar adding to their food (or cooking water).
Read more about dairy and yogurt for babies in our article introducing solids and feeding schedules for a 6-month-old baby.
Why is yogurt good for babies?
Yogurt is good for babies because it contains important nutrients like calcium and protein which are needed for your baby’s growth and bone development. In addition, the active live cultures, or probiotics in yogurt make the lactose and protein in milk easier to digest, so it’s good for your baby’s tummy. These probiotics help to fine-tune your baby’s immune system so that their digestive system learns to recognise good and bad bacteria.
What is the best yogurt for babies?
The best yogurt for babies is plain, unsweetened, pasteurised yogurt made from whole milk which contains live cultures. Make sure you always buy plain yogurt for your baby, as most fruit yogurts contain a high quantity of added sugar. Added sugar may cause future problems like obesity and tooth decay.
Plain yogurt is such versatile first food for baby. Once your baby is eating mixed foods you can add cereal, chopped fruit, avocado or even make smoothies for added vitamins and nutrition.
You can also use plain Greek yogurt which is higher in protein and normally contains less sugar than other, traditional flavored yogurts.
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Allergies and yogurt for babies
As with any new foods, there is a small chance that introducing yogurt may cause an allergic reaction. However, new studies show that introducing foods that may cause allergens is recommended for babies from 6 months of age. Introducing small amounts of a variety of different foods, including yogurt, fish and even well cooked eggs, can reduce the risks of allergic reactions.
Remember to always introduce new foods one at a time, keep a record of the new foods and wait 3 days before introducing another new food to your baby.
Common symptoms of an allergy include:
- any signs of a rash, red spots or itching,
- swelling around the lips or eyes,
- vomiting or diarrhoea.
If you notice any of these signs, you should contact your doctor or health worker. You should also contact your doctor for advice about feeding your baby yogurt if they have already been diagnosed with a milk allergy. For more information you can read our article about food allergies and babies above.
Important things to remember:
Yogurt is a healthy and versatile food for babies and children of all ages. It can be used to fill reusable food pouches as a healthy lunch snack to carry with you or put in your child’s lunchbox. Yogurt needs no preparation and is a quick and easy way to feed your baby.
Australian Breastfeeding Association, Breastfeeding and family foods, viewed at 25th June 2020, URL
Raising Children, Introducing solids: why, when, what and how, viewed at 25th June 2020, URL
Pregnancy Birth & Baby, Milk, cheese and yoghurt, viewed at 25th June 2020, URL