Yogurt is one of those fun things to add to your baby’s growing diet because it’s soft (no stressful thoughts of choking) and cold. So it’s an interesting new dynamic for exploratory and curious babies — and looks 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 an option to consider.
One practical reason to give your baby Greek yogurt when starting the transition to solids: it’s super thick, and that means she can really enjoy the texture and feel, and it also makes it a little harder to get through to throw the room. It’s also a great easy option instead of introducing it to sweetened yogurt. But as babies are slowly introduced to this side of food, there are still some things to consider. Is Greek Yogurt Safe For Babies Or Should You Stick With Other Versions?
Can Babies Have Greek Yogurt?
“Yes,” says Nicole Lattanzio, a child nutritionist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “Greek yogurt is a safe option for infants who have started solids. We want to choose a pure, full-fat version for babies to avoid added sugars and offer healthy fats.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends six months as the age at which your baby can start solid feeding, and that’s when the messy meals really start. “When a baby is ready to eat these foods, yogurt can be an appropriate food,” says Lattanzio. However, up until the age of one year, their meals should still contain formula or breast milk, so they should not be drinking cow’s milk yet. However, yogurt is considered safe because it is fermented, which means the substance is broken down and digested more easily.
But Greek yogurt is different.
How is Greek yogurt for babies different?
Basically, Greek yogurt is made differently than regular yogurt. Making regular yogurt consists of heating milk, adding bacteria, and letting it ferment. On the other hand, Greek yogurt is strained and absorbs much more milk than regular yogurt. Ever heard of whey? Whey is a primary protein found in dairy products and it is the liquid that remains after milk has been curdled and strained. The tedious steps of straining and thickening Greek yogurt eliminate the whey.
“What’s left is a casein-based yogurt that’s thicker. Casein protein takes longer to digest,” says Lattanzio.
Is Greek Yogurt Safe For Your Baby?
Many consider it a healthier option because it contains less sugar. But Lattanzio doesn’t necessarily think it’s a healthier option for infants, since Greek yogurt is high in protein, “which is safe but actually unnecessary for babies.” Based on total grams per day, an 8 month old baby would only need 15 grams. “Some of the Greek yogurts deliver that amount in just one container,” so it’s important to pay attention to the protein content if you’re considering adding this to your meals.
Ultimately, your baby can enjoy a delicious bowl of Greek yogurt within reason. But no matter what yogurt you give them, try to stick with the ones that are whole milk and unsweetened. This will ensure that your growing offspring are getting plenty of the nutrients they need to continue to sprout.
“When it comes to choosing Greek yogurt over regular, I advise families to choose what is culturally appropriate for them. Offering variety to expose different flavor profiles, textures and nutrients is also a great approach,” says Lattanzio.
Nicole Lattanzio, RD, pediatric nutritionist at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona.