Can My Baby Have Yogurt?

JanelMS, RD, LDN, CBS

Read time: 2 minutes

What to know about yogurt as a first food for baby

  • Yogurt contains many nutrients that are beneficial for your little one

  • Yogurt is easily digestible for most babies

  • There are many yogurt recipe ideas for you baby!

With its versatility, yogurt is a staple food for many adults and children alike. But you might not know that yogurt also makes an excellent first food for babies.

What is healthy about yogurt?

Yogurt’s nutritional profile boasts important nutrients for babies such as calcium and phosphorus for bone strength, as well as protein and fat for babies’ rapid growth.1,2,3,4

Many yogurts are also fortified with vitamin D, which is important for many babies, particularly those who are partially or fully breastfed.5

And finally, most yogurts contain probiotics; good bacteria that at an early age may help influence immune development.6

Learn more: Probiotics 101

Why can babies have yogurt but not cow’s milk?

Health professionals note that because yogurt is made by fermentation, its proteins can be easily digested by tiny tummies. This is one reason why feeding yogurt to babies under one year is recommended, while offering cow’s milk is not.

Not only is cow’s milk more difficult to digest, but it is higher in minerals and protein which may be more difficult for a baby to tolerate in large quantities.7 While small amounts of cow’s milk before 1 year are safe, such as using a splash in scrambled eggs or a bit in baking; too much cow’s milk during infancy may lead to anemia as well as other issues.8,9,11

With yogurt, which may be offered once or twice per day for infants (¼-½ cup at a time), these are not concerns – so you can feel confident providing nutrient-dense yogurt to your baby!

Why type of yogurt should I feed my baby?

Plain, whole milk yogurt is an ideal choice as a first food for babies as it contains no added sugar but also provides protein, fat, vitamin, and minerals. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should get about half of their calories from fat.3

As you continue to advance flavors and foods in your baby’s diet, look for a whole milk yogurt blended with fruit, but make sure it has no added sugar or stick with plain whole milk yogurt and add in your own blended or mashed fruit.

Be sure to avoid sweetening yogurt with honey if your baby is under 1 year.10 Honey may contain the harmful bacteria called Botulism, which babies are particularly susceptible to.

Read more:

How to Incorporate Yogurt into your Child’s Diet

Starting Solids: First Foods and Textures

Yogurt recipe ideas for baby

Because store-bought yogurt is conveniently packaged in refrigerated containers, serving it to babies is a breeze as there is no prep work or blending required! The creamy texture is both palatable and soothing to teething gums. As babies get older, they’ll love self-feeding with a scoop of yogurt on a spoon.

Plain yogurt has a neutral flavor, so it can be mixed with a variety of ingredients to transform the flavor of your baby’s food, as well as add more nutrients. As long as your baby has already had the fruits, vegetables, or spices previously without adverse reaction, you can use them in any combination with yogurt to create a new meal for your little one such as:

  • Yogurt mixed with no sugar added applesauce

  • Yogurt mixed with mashed banana

  • Yogurt blended with cooked peas

  • Yogurt mixed with mashed avocado

  • Yogurt blended with cooked sweet potato and a dash of cinnamon

  • Yogurt blended with fruit and water (for consistency) to make a smoothie

Here are some additional yogurt recipe ideas:

*Remember to always provide your baby with foods in a texture they can handle. This may mean providing the below recipes mashed or cut into pea-sized pieces so that they are safe for your baby.

Banana & Yogurt Muffins

Fruit and Yogurt Pops

Sweet Yogurt Dip

Edamame and Yogurt Blend

Food safety when feeding your baby yogurt

While most store-bought yogurt is conveniently packaged in smaller servings, your little one may not finish the entire container in one sitting. It’s best to scoop out the amount of yogurt you’d like to offer your child into a separate bowl, allowing you to save the remaining yogurt, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

Should you feed your child directly from the yogurt container, bacteria from your little one’s mouth gets transferred to the yogurt; any leftover food must be thrown out directly after the meal.

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For more on this topic, check out the following articles and recipes:

Got a Tot? Reach for a Yogurt

Nutrient Needs and Feeding Tips for 6 to 12 Month Olds

Introducing Major Food Allergens to your Infant

Avoid Giving your Child too much Salt and Sugar