The first 12 months is critical for the development of your baby. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies shouldn’t be given any form of solid food for the first six months. After six months, you should notice if the baby is able to sit up without her head drooping. This is a sign that she can now be given some form of solid food, including yogurt.
The nutrient contents of yogurt makes it a great food for babies. It is a rich source of calcium, potassium, a number of vitamins and protein among others. It contains vitamin B12, which helps red blood cells mature in the bone marrow. It also plays an important role in the metabolism of each and every cell in our bodies and is vital to the functioning of the nervous system. Yogurt also has vitamin A, which plays a crucial role in growth, development, health of the immune system and good vision.
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The age at which you can start feeding yogurt to your child can vary slightly so you should consult your pediatrician before giving yogurt to the baby. Typically, 7-9 months is the recommended age at which yogurt can be fed. In fact, some pediatricians also recommend yogurt as the first proper food item for babies.
Plain whole milk yogurt is the ideal option for babies, as it contains fat that is useful for the baby’s growth and doesn’t contain sugar. In contrast, most store-bought yogurts that are marketed specifically for children should be avoided. This is because most of them contain added sugar that aren’t good for your child. So, you need to check the list of ingredients on the pack to ensure it doesn’t contain ingredients like fructose, corn sweetener, glucose, cane crystals, molasses, and the like.
As stated earlier, one of the earliest signs that your child is ready for solid food is when she can hold her head up. If she reaches out for food that she sees near her or if she weighs between 12-15 pounds (about double the weight at the birth) after six months, then it’s time to introduce her to solid foods. However, once you do feed her yogurt, or other types of semi-solid food, if she either pushes it out of her mouth, then you should hold off for about a couple of weeks before trying again.
Once it’s safe to introduce solid food in the baby’s diet, you can combine certain solid food items such as vegetables and fruits with the yogurt. Initially, you should puree cooked vegetables or fruit and mix it with yogurt. Later, you can add finely chopped cooked vegetables or fruit in the yogurt.
One thing that you need to be careful of is possible allergic reactions. So when you first introduce yogurt to your baby’s diet, do not introduce any other new food item to the diet for at least three days. If there’s an allergic reaction, you will be able to ascertain that it’s due to yogurt in which case, stop feeding your child yogurt and consult your pediatrician. Signs of allergic reactions may include skin rashes, a swollen tongue or lip, hives, diarrhea or vomiting, coughing, or breathing issues.
There are two main reasons why it’s fine to feed a baby yogurt but not regular milk before the the age of one.
You can give your child whole milk yogurt brought from the store. However, if you want to have complete control over what you feed your child (and if time permits), then you should consider making yogurt at home. It’s a really simple process and the results are yummy. You can always make a separate batch with honey, vanilla, maple syrup, and other ingredients for the adults.
To make the process simpler you can use a yogurt maker. These devices ensure that temperature remains steady while the cultured milk is fermenting. Some yogurt makers, like the Euro Cuisine YMX650 yogurt maker, are also equipped with a timer feature, which allows you to set a specific time after which the device automatically shuts down.
Plain yogurt without added sugar is an excellent addition to a baby’s diet. It contains a host of nutrients that are necessary for the child’s development and none of the issues are related to milk. In fact, the culturing of yogurt makes it easier to digest.
Yogurt is versatile, so your baby can have it plain and in combination with vegetables and fruits, once it’s ready to have more solid food. Mixing or combining vegetables and fruits with yogurt also makes it simpler to introduce new types of solid food to a child. However, you need to introduce new food items slowly into the child’s diet. This will ensure that you can keep a track of any allergic reactions from specific food items. Also, just because the pediatrician has suggested feeding your baby yogurt, doesn’t mean you force them to eat it, only feed it to them if they like it.