Can I Give My Baby Yogurt to Eat?
The answer is yes, you can give a baby yogurt. However, the question is at what age.
Some pediatricians say from 6 months of age, others from 9 months. There are also those who say that you should wait till they"re a year old.
Giving your baby yogurt is a good idea, since it"s a food rich in calcium, vitamins and proteins.
When a baby is 6 months old then they"re already starting to eat solids. Apart from cereals, giving your baby yogurt is the best option at that age.
Natural yogurt – either regular or Greek – is the best option for your baby. This is because it contains full cream milk and active cultures. Because of that, it contains the calories and fats that your baby needs.
Yogurt can be given to a baby at 6 months of age, unlike milk, skimmed or semi-skimmed, which shouldn"t be given to your child before they"re 2, unless your doctor tells you to do so.
Giving your baby yogurt
You may find it contradictory that you can feed your baby yogurt, but not milk. There are pediatricians who recommend waiting until 9 months of age to give your baby yogurt.
They recommend this because they consider it a difficult food for the baby"s stomach to digest, as it could irritate the mucous membranes of the stomach.
Pediatricians say that this irritation occurs less frequently after 9 months. Having said that, if you do give your baby yogurt at 6 months, it won"t harm your baby in any way.
The important factor here is the amount of milk that a portion of yogurt contains. The content is actually so low that it couldn"t ever harm the baby.
This is in direct contrast to the amounts involved in replacing breast or formula milk with full cream cow"s milk. Yogurt, because it is fermented milk, is easier to digest than cow"s milk.
Basically, the problem with cow"s milk is that it doesn"t contain the right amount of fats and nutrients that your baby needs to develop healthily. He does get those fats and nutrients when he drinks breast or formula milk.
The best yogurt is the healthiest
If you"ve already decided to give your baby yogurt (having first consulted with your pediatrician) then it"s time to decide what type of yogurt you"re going to give him.
The best option, even when there are yogurts made especially for babies, is to choose a natural yogurt. This will avoid the danger of the high sugar content of practically all yogurts that have processed fruits.
If you want to give more flavor to your baby"s natural yogurt, and avoid the consequences of giving so much sugar to your child when they"re still so small, then you can add natural fruits or vegetables.
If your baby is just beginning to eat solids, we advise you to first try to feed him a fruit puree or cooked vegetables in addition to the yogurt.
From 9 months onwards, you can also give your baby soft fruits or vegetables cooked and chopped into pieces. You can either try a crushed avocado, apple sauce, some cooked oatmeal or wheat germ.
It"s very important that you avoid sweetening your baby"s yogurt with honey, as it"s not advisable to give honey to babies before they"re 12 months of age.
The reason for this is that honey – even though it"s natural – could contain a bacterium that causes botulism in children.
It"s also advisable that, every time you introduce a new ingredient into your baby"s diet, you observe their reaction to it for about three days. By doing this, you can see if they develop any intolerance or allergic reaction.
It"s a good idea to keep track of their diet. This way you"ll be able to distinguish more easily which foods may have caused any reactions that there may have been.
If your baby has lactose intolerance, we have good news for you. Even children with intolerance can eat yogurt. This is because much of the lactose in yogurt is broken down in the fermentation process.
This means that the body can tolerate yogurt far better than any other dairy products.