Introducing new foods to baby’s diet is always a concern. If your little one has been on purely breast milk, then your concerns are justified. However, if they have been exposed to formula milk then they will be getting a little dairy and other nutrients via this source already. Any dairy addition is questionable, as you don’t quite know if your baby may have a reaction to it or be lactose intolerant.
We suggest that you only introduce dairy and especially yogurt at around 9 months old. Generally, solids can be started at 6 months, according to most GP’s, but is dependent on your baby’s willingness too.
Yogurt, because of its easy, smooth consistency, is a great first food to try with the baby. It ranks up there with your bottled baby foods and of course is easy to transport. As with any new food addition, after getting baby to try the yogurt, wait 3-5 days to see if there are any bad reactions like a rash, closing of the throat, runny tummy or any significant change in mood.
The Best Yogurt for Baby
There are a few areas to consider when choosing a first yogurt for baby.
As milk already has a sugar content, you want to ensure the yogurt has as little added sugar as possible. A good benchmark is 4 ounces or 13 grams of sugar.
Calcium is the main nutrient in dairy, so ensure that there is a good portion of calcium in the yogurt. A good benchmark is 200grams per serving. Vitamins such as A, B6, B12 and D are good additives. So, check the back of the yogurt cup to ensure these have a decent presence and by decent we mean 4-8% for the first two and 18-25% for the latter two.
Yogurts are a great source of protein, so if you are worried that your little guy isn’t getting enough protein or maybe they aren’t drinking as much milk as they were, know that yogurt for baby can provide a good source of protein too.
The plainer the better. Plain vanilla has less sugar content and less of other unnatural ingredients. And for a first timer, this plain flavor will go down easier. However, if baby finds the yogurt a little tart i.e. they screw their face up a bit, then you can neutralize the yogurt with some sugar, but just a little, please.
To begin with, try to keep to the plain yogurt though so you can see if there is a bad reaction. But once baby seems fine with the yogurt, you could add in a little more flavor such as applesauce, blueberries, and mashed avocado, sweet potato or mashed up pears.
Probiotics. The viral word of this generation. Live or active cultures are essential to yogurts. Probiotics provide good bacteria to the gut, which assists those who are lactose intolerant too. A good additive for baby and any adult, in fact.
Ensure the yogurt for baby you choose is full fat. While you may be aware of and avoid full fat products for yourself, for the baby they need as close to natural as possible.
Low or non-fat products and especially yogurts have other ingredients, which are not beneficial to little ones. Full-fat yogurts have all the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fat, potassium and iodine. All essential for a growing body.
Start off real small, like 2-3 tablespoons at a time and as before, wait 3-5 days to see how baby reacts to this new food. If baby wants more, don’t go over 4 tablespoons. You don’t want a stomach ache from too much.
As a mother whose child loves yogurt and always has from small, I can say that when he won’t eat much else, I know I can turn to old faithful yogurt, knowing that he will get a good dose of nutrients this way. Yay to yogurt!