- Denise Scott
Can Babies Have Yogurt?
Babies can have yogurt as early as 6 months. Yogurt is a great food to add to their baby food repertoire. Yogurt has numerous health benefits for your baby, including protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and B vitamins. Yogurt with live, active cultures contains probiotics which are bacteria that are good for the gut and promote a healthy gut microbiota.
Plain yogurt for infants is a healthy choice
What Type of Yogurt Should be Given?
For the first two years, babies should be given full-fat yogurt since they need fat for their developing brains. Look for pasteurized yogurt containing live cultures. Avoid yogurt with any chunks, such as added fruit, or yogurt with honey or added sugar before one year. Once older, lower-fat varieties can be given, but in general, it is best to avoid yogurts with added sugar.
Avoid yogurt marketed to kids with added sugar, colors, and chunks of food
You don’t need to buy “baby yogurt” as there is no difference between this and other yogurts. For infants, it is best to stick with plain, full-fat yogurt (no added sugars, fruits, honey, nuts, granola, etc.). The yogurt should be made from pasteurized milk, typical for any commercial yogurt in the grocery store. Usually, live cultures are added after using pasteurized milk in making yogurt. Greek yogurt and yogurt with live cultures (probiotics) are the healthiest. Labneh, a type of strained yogurt and a component of Middle Eastern food, is very nutritious. Make sure that it is the consistency of yogurt, not soft cheese. Avoid yogurt with added sugar, sweeteners, colors, or possible choking hazards (granola, nuts, fruit). Babies under a year cannot be given honey since this can cause botulism. Plain yogurt without anything added is not considered a choking hazard and is a good consistency for infants.
Labneh, a type of Mediterranean strained yogurt, is very nutritious
How Much Should I Give?
There is no defined amount of yogurt that a baby should eat. You can offer it with a meal or as a snack daily or several days a week. Expect your baby to initially take only an ounce or two; up to 3-4 ounces (about a half cup) constitutes a serving. It can be offered cool (refrigerator temp) or at room temperature. There is no need to add anything to the yogurt, but it can also be mixed with other baby foods. Once a child is older, past one to two years, you can add small pieces of fruit to the yogurt, which is healthier than buying yogurt with added fruit since these have added sugar.
Can Babies Be Allergic to Yogurt?
Since yogurt is made from milk, one of the most common sources of food allergies (See Food Allergies in Kids post 10/19/22), yogurt can be a source of allergens. This is also a reason to avoid serving yogurt with added items. Signs of allergy in an infant can be varied.
The most common reactions include:
Rash to face or body or flushing (redness) of skin
Coughing or wheezing
Any swelling around the face, lips, or tongue
Diarrhea, especially with blood in the stool
Signs can develop immediately or up to 2 hours after ingestion. For a severe reaction, such as breathing difficulty, call 911.
Should these signs develop, it is best to seek medical attention so that breathing can be evaluated and medication given if needed. For mild reactions, it is best to call your doctor, who can advise whether an antihistamine, such as Benadryl or Zyrtec, should be given. Your doctor can decide if allergy testing should be done.
For older children, adding your own items to plain yogurt avoids added sweeteners
Yogurt has numerous health benefits for your baby, including protein, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. Yogurt is a healthy option as one of the first foods for infants. As with all new foods, introduce one at a time and watch closely for any signs of allergy.