Baby yogurt, like any yogurt, is a naturally fermented dairy product made when heated milk is combined with so-called “good bacteria” and left to sit for several hours at a warm temperature (110-115°F). Since yogurt is naturally fermented, it’s a great source of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria living in our gut. In making yogurt, the fermentation and “good” bacteria play a key role in developing the thick consistency and distinctive tart flavor we all know and love. Have you ever wondered about the difference between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt? Greek yogurt goes through a straining process to take out the whey portion, resulting in an even thicker consistency but preserving that distinctive sour taste.1
When Can Babies Have Yogurt?
Six months is the best time to introduce your baby to yogurt or any supplemental foods. This is when experts recommend introducing solid foods to your little one. At six months, your baby may show signs that they are ready to start eating solid foods, like having head and neck stability, tongue control, sitting up without support, bringing their hand or objects to their mouth, and starting to grasp small objects.2
Is Yogurt a Choking Hazard?
An important factor when introducing your baby to solid foods, including yogurt, is their risk for choking. Now, experts don’t consider yogurt one of the common choking hazards for babies, but it is still important to prepare and feed your baby safely. Common things to be aware of are not putting too much yogurt in your little one’s mouth at once and ensuring any “mix-ins” like chopped fruit or berries are an appropriate size and consistency.2
Is Yogurt a Common Food Allergen?
Yes. Yogurt does fall in the category of common allergens for children, as most yogurts are made with cow’s milk. Experts consider cow’s milk one of the common food allergens among little ones, so if you suspect your child may have an allergy to cow’s milk or any other common allergen, communicate with your primary care provider and take the necessary steps to ensure your baby’s safety.2
Introducing Your Baby to Yogurt
How to Introduce Yogurt
Take it slow and simple. Start by placing some baby yogurt in a baby-safe bowl or directly on the tray before them. Allow them to use their hands to feel and smell the yogurt and eventually taste it. If you’d rather spoon-feed, pre-load a baby-sized spoon with the yogurt and introduce it that way. Don’t be overly persuasive with the introduction, but rather allow them to explore and familiarize themselves with this new strange-smelling food. If they show intense aversion to it right away, consider re-introducing the food in a couple of days or so, as babies’ tastes are always changing.
Ingredients to Look for When Shopping for Baby Yogurt
When you decide it’s time to introduce yogurt as a complementary food to your baby at six months, there are a few key ingredients you want to look for on the nutrition label. It’s essential to look for a baby yogurt made with full-fat organic whole cow’s milk, whole organic ingredients like fruit purée, omega-3 fatty acids (like DHA) for brain health, and vitamin D fortification. Of course, vitamin D and calcium are significant benefits to feeding your baby yogurt, so be sure to look closely for that!
Overall, experts generally recommend choosing unsweetened or unflavored yogurt and adding in your own chopped or pureed fruits for sweetness. If your little one doesn’t respond well to that flavor profile, consider opting for yogurt flavored with real fruit purée.3
In addition to the ingredients above, the quality of the yogurt products matters. It may be essential to look for organic products because they contain no persistent toxic pesticides, and the cows are not given artificial hormones. Stonyfield is an excellent organic brand that makes yogurt specifically for babies with prebiotics and probiotics, whole milk, gluten-free, and fortified with vitamin D and omega-3 DHA. Stonyfield has a variety of baby yogurt products, so choose the one that best aligns with your baby’s tastebuds.
Nutritional Benefits of Yogurt
Yogurt has an excellent nutritional profile that includes essential nutrients for babies, including calcium, phosphorus, protein, and fat. Many baby yogurts available may be fortified with vitamin D, an essential vitamin for bone health and development, so you should check the nutrition label for it. Not to mention, yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics for your little one. Probiotics are the live bacteria in our gut, also known as the “good” bacteria. As pointed out, the best time to introduce yogurt is once your baby reaches six months, along with other complementary foods.3
Not all yogurt and yogurt brands are created equal, and Stonyfield baby yogurt is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a family-friendly yogurt and dairy brand. The company truly pays attention to the nutritional needs of babies and toddlers by fortifying its products with the highest quality whole ingredients, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, they offer organic products and vow not to use any GMOs in their yogurt production. It’s essential to find yogurt and yogurt brands that align with the nutritional goals for your little one and have high-quality standards. Click here to find a store near you that sells Stonyfield.