Can babies have Greek yogurt? Experts explain

0

Yogurt is one of those fun things you can add to your baby’s growth regimen because it’s sweet (no stressful choking thoughts) and cold. So it’s an interesting new dynamic for exploring and curious babies – and less gross than all those mashed peas. There are also the nutritional benefits of probiotics that make yogurt a great food for babies, and Greek yogurt for babies is one option to consider.

A practical reason to give your baby Greek yogurt at the start of the transition to solids: it’s super thick, which means he can really enjoy the texture and feel of it, which also makes it a bit harder to throw across the room. It’s also a great plain option rather than introducing them to sweetened yogurt. But as babies are slowly introduced to this side of food, there are still some things to keep in mind. For example, is Greek yogurt safe for babies or should you stick with other versions?

Can babies have Greek yogurt?

“Yes,” says Nicole Lattanzio, a pediatric dietician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “Greek yogurt is a safe option for infants who have started complementary foods. We want to opt for a plain version full of baby fat in order to avoid added sugars and offer healthy fats.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends six months as the age for your baby’s transition to solid foods, and that’s when the messy mealtimes really start. “When a baby is ready to eat these foods, yogurt may be an appropriate food to offer,” says Lattanzio. But their meals should always include formula or breast milk until they are one year old, which is why they shouldn’t drink cow’s milk yet. However, yogurt is considered safe because it is fermented, which means the stuff is broken down and easier to digest.

But Greek yogurt is different.

Orbon Alija/E+/Getty Images

How is baby greek yogurt different?

Basically, Greek yogurt is made differently than regular yogurt. Producing regular yogurt involves heating milk, adding bacteria, and letting it ferment. On the other hand, Greek yogurt is strained and takes much more milk than regular yogurt. Have you ever heard of whey? Whey is a primary protein found in dairy products, and it is the liquid left over after the milk has been curdled and strained. The strenuous steps to strain and thicken Greek yogurt eliminate the whey.

“What you’re left with is casein-based yogurt that’s thicker. Casein protein takes longer to digest,” says Lattanzio.

Is Greek yogurt safe for your baby?

Many see it as a healthier option because it contains less sugar. But Lattanzio doesn’t necessarily consider it a healthier option for infants, because Greek yogurt is high in protein, “which is safe, but actually useless for babies.” Based on total grams per day, an 8 month old baby would only need 15 grams. “Some Greek yogurts provide this amount in one container,” so it’s important to keep an eye on the protein content if you’re considering adding it to their meals.

Ultimately, your baby can enjoy a delicious bowl of Greek yogurt within reason. But whatever yogurt you choose to give them, try to stick to those made with whole milk and unsweetened. This ensures that your growing little one is getting enough of the nutrients they need to keep sprouting.

“When it comes to choosing Greek yogurt over regular yogurt, I advise families to choose one that is culturally appropriate for them. Providing a variety of exposure to different flavor, texture, and nutrient profiles is also a great approach,” says Lattanzio.

Experts:

Nicole Lattanzio, RD, pediatric dietitian at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona.

Share.

Comments are closed.