Babies and yogurt
It’s exciting when your baby makes the leap from breast milk and formula to solids, and one of those exciting new foods is yogurt.
If you’re wondering if your baby can have yogurt, most experts agree that 6 months is a good age to begin eating the creamy and yummy concoction. This is a good age because it’s around this same time that most babies are starting to eat solid food.
Once you decide to feed your baby yogurt, other questions will arise such as the best recipes to try, and if Greek yogurt is a wise choice. Possible allergic reactions are something to consider as well.
Why yogurt is good for babies
It’s good for babies 6 months and older to eat yogurt because it’s nutritional and beneficial. Yogurt also may make tummies — big and small — happy.
There are three main benefits to yogurt. The first is that yogurt is a quick, easy to find, and convenient source of protein.
The second is the presence of probiotics. Much of these will not colonize the intestines so in that way, yogurt fine-tunes the immune system that lines the intestines and may help little bodies begin to recognize friendly versus harmful bacteria.
The third reason is that yogurt has less lactose than whole milk. Babies still retain the enzyme to break down lactose, so that’s not as important as it is for adults with lactose intolerance.
The Greek yogurt conundrum
Greek yogurt is all the rage. It’s high in protein and usually contains less sugar than traditional flavored yogurts.
A lot of parents also turn to frozen or refrigerated Greek yogurt as a teething solution because it’s easy to eat and soothing. It also contains some of the nutrients that babies need when teething pain and tummy troubles decrease their appetites for other solid foods.
As an added bonus, Greek yogurt is strained more than regular, store-bought yogurt. This means that one of the proteins that causes allergic reactions (whey) and the lactose levels are lower in Greek yogurt, making it easier to digest than whole milk, which is not recommended for babies under one year.
If you do choose to go with Greek yogurt, opt for plain. Greek yogurt with fruit or sweeteners and flavoring can be high in sugar and can cause unhealthy weight gain. It’s also best not to add honey until the baby is older than 12 months, to avoid botulism poisoning.
That said, there are pediatricians and nutritionists who caution against Greek yogurt and yogurt in general because of milk allergies and lactose intolerance. So if you’re worried, check with your doctor first.
Allergic reactions to yogurt occur when babies have milk allergies, if the yogurt is made with cow’s milk.
Some telltale signs are:
- a rash around the mouth
If you spot any of these signs, stop feeding your baby yogurt and contact a doctor.
Even with milder symptoms, as is the case with most new foods introduced into a baby’s diet, it’s always best to wait three days after the initial feeding to look for signs of an allergic reaction.
Yogurt recipes and preparation
Yogurt can be served in baby oatmeal and rice cereal (instead of mixing in milk as the box usually directs you to do), or added to simple mashed fruits or homemade applesauce for a protein and calcium boost.
In India, babies and children commonly drink lassi, a yogurt drink mixed with fruit and spices such as cardamom or rosewater, says Saini.
Banana yogurt pudding recipe
One recipe the pair suggests is Yummy in My Tummy Banana Yogurt Puddin’. To make, sauté 2 to 4 tablespoons of bananas in a frying pan with 1 teaspoon of butter. Add that to 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Blend the mixture, chill it, then serve.
Black bean avocado yogurt recipe
Another dish to consider once a baby is eating mixed foods is black beans with avocado and yogurt. The recipe consists of 1/4 cup of black beans, 1/4 avocado, 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, and 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and serve.
Once the baby is 1 year and older, a nice cool treat is frozen plain or frozen plain Greek yogurt blended or topped with fresh fruit such as bananas, strawberries, or blueberries, and served in a waffle cone or waffle bowl.
Yogurt is a healthy snack for all ages. Once your baby is old enough to start eating solid food, yogurt can be incorporated into their diet.
If you notice your baby showing signs of lactose intolerance or an allergic reaction after eating yogurt, contact your pediatrician.
Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles–based journalist. She has been honing her craft professionally since 1999, also writing for Essence, MSN TV, The Detroit News, Mom.me, People Magazine, CNN.com, Us Weekly, The Seattle Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and more. The Detroit native, wife, and mother holds a bachelor of arts in journalism from Wayne State University.
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