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When Can Babies Eat Yogurt: Here’s What You Need To Know

Christin Perry LitteThings writer by Christin Perry
Christin is a mom and editor specializing in lifestyle content. She also hides cookies like a boss.

Most new parents have undoubtedly seen the expansive array of yogurt marketed specifically for babies. It seems every baby food brand now has their own specific yogurt “blend” of some sort — even yogurt snacks. So if you’re wondering if babies can eat yogurt, rest assured that baby food manufacturers certainly think so!

Unfortunately, many parents are realizing that some baby food companies may not always have their babies’ best interests at heart.

This means that parents need to do their own research about what’s best for their child, and this is no different when it comes to yogurt. Introducing your little one to new yummy stuff should be a blast, but you need to make sure you’re doing it safely. Since babies’ stomachs are extra sensitive when they are being fed foods for the first time, it’s important to research how they may react to them — and if certain reactions require a trip to the pediatrician or not.

Read on to learn when babies can eat yogurt, which types are best, what to know about all that added sugar, and what to look for if you suspect your baby might be lactose intolerant.

When Can Babies Eat Yogurt?

Baby playing on mat with blocks
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Recent studies have shown that most babies can tolerate typical “first foods” around six months of age —and Momtastic’s baby food section says that yogurt can be introduced as early as seven months. But most parents still tend to start with either rice cereal or a pureed fruit or veggies for baby’s first foray into food. 

Though yogurt may not be harmful to young babies who are otherwise ready to accept food (you can tell because she will be able to sit upright, her tongue-thrust reflex will be gone, and she will show interest in “real” food), it’s wise to stick with healthy fruits and vegetables as first foods. This sets your baby on the right path to healthy eating, rather than giving her a palate for sweet, starchy, carb-heavy foods.

Can They Eat Yogurt Before 6 Months?

Mom feeding baby from a milk bottle
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If you’re wondering if babies can eat yogurt at six months or less, you’ve probably heard a whole bunch of different answers. According to newkidscenter.com, pediatrician Frank Gree suggests introducing yogurt to babies no earlier than at six months. Babies under six months are typically fully satisfied by infant formula or breast milk. And there’s no rush, because once your baby starts eating, trust us — he never stops!

If you’re eager to feed yogurt to your baby, consider using it as a “second food,” introducing it when your baby is between 8 and 9 months old. Hopefully your baby is already developing a love of those super-important veggies and fruits by then!

What Types Of Yogurt Can My Baby Eat?

Different types of yogurt
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Verywell.com has excellent advice about how to start your baby on yogurt: “A good choice is to start with plain, whole milk yogurt. For flavor, stir in a fruit or veggie purée that you know your baby tolerates well.”

So, what types of yogurt can your baby eat? The kinds marketed to adults? The answer is a bit complicated. When choosing a yogurt for your baby, the brand doesn’t matter as much as the content. Stay away from yogurt that’s loaded with sugar; the biggest offenders are the ones that have added fruit in a variety of flavors, come with a cup of candy or granola on top, or are sold in tube form.

When choosing yogurt, do your research and stick to plain, unsweetened, whole milk yogurt, as advised by Parents.com. The whole milk variety is important for your baby’s growth, so avoid low-fat yogurt as well.

Breast Milk Yogurt

Breast pump and bowl
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Speaking of milk, have you ever heard of yogurt made from breast milk? It’s definitely not something you come across every day, but lo and behold, it has been done, and it is possible. One brave mama over at The Hippie Inside has a great recipe for yogurt made with breast milk, if you’re daring enough to try it!

How Is Yogurt Good for Babies?

Yogurt and vitamin bottle
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

According to Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food blog, “Yogurt can be a yummy and healthy first food for baby, full of calcium they’ll need for strong bones! Whole milk yogurt also contains an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals for baby.”

It’s a great source of vitamin B12 and phosphorous as well, not to mention protein, which will keep your baby feeling fuller, longer.

Why Can Babies Eat Yogurt And Not Cow’s Milk?

Pizza and yogurt are good but cow's milk is not for baby
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Many parents wonder why babies are allowed to eat yogurt and cheese in their first year, but not cow’s milk. They’re all dairy products, so what accounts for the difference? Why can babies eat yogurt and not milk?

The answer is twofold: first, doctors want to avoid babies replacing formula or breast milk with cow’s milk in their first year, so it’s recommended to avoid it altogether. Secondly, the milk proteins in yogurt and cheese tend to be easier for baby’s immature digestive systems to process.

According to kellymom, “babies under a year are more at risk for allergic reactions [to milk] so it can be a good idea to wait.”

How To Tell If Your Baby Is Lactose Intolerant

Baby crying because lactose intolerant
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

So how do you know if your baby is lactose intolerant? According to The Bump, “Babies and toddlers with lactose intolerance lack the enzyme lactase, which is what helps break down lactose, the sugar found in milk… A baby or toddler with lactose intolerance may be fussy after feedings. He or she may also have belly pain and diarrhea within an hour of having food or drink containing cow’s milk.”

What To Do If You Think They’re Lactose Intolerant

Taking yogurt from lactose intolerant baby
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If your baby is having symptoms like the ones described above after eating yogurt, don’t panic, but do stop, for now at least. It could be that your baby’s digestive system needs a bit more time to develop before taking on dairy, or it could be an early sign of a developing allergy. In either case, the best thing for your baby is to hold off on feeding yogurt, cow’s milk, or any other dairy product — and talk to your pediatrician about how to proceed.

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