Marking the Milestones: Starting Yogurt
The first year of your baby’s life is filled with many milestones, including the date that he starts to eat solid foods. Along with the excitement of eating solids comes the task of trying to remember at what age you can safely introduce each new food to your little one. All babies are a little different as to when they're ready for certain foods, but you can follow some general guidelines for introducing new foods, including when to begin yogurt.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting, if possible, to start solid foods until your baby is 6 months old. Although some pediatricians say starting solids between 4 and 6 months is OK, depending on your little one’s needs, talk to your doctor first.
One sign your peanut is ready to move beyond just the bottle or breast is if she is able to hold up her head. This means you can sit her in a high chair or feeding seat without her head drooping. If she opens her mouth or reaches for food when she sees it near her, she may be ready to start solids. And if she weighs 13 pounds or more, you can give solid food a try.
Once you start, if she just pushes the food out of her mouth or lets it dribble down her chin, she might not quite be ready for solids. Try again in a week or two.
Yogurt is a soft, healthy option to try early on with your little one; you can introduce it as soon as 6 months, after your little guy has tried a few other solid foods. Plain, whole-fat or whole Greek yogurt are all good options. These types of yogurt are high in both fat and calories, which is just what your baby needs to keep his body and brain growing. Avoid yogurts targeted specifically toward babies because many contain added sugar that your baby doesn’t actually need.
Other Dairy Products
When introducing other dairy foods, such as cheese, watch your baby for cues. If she’s improved her motor skills and is ready to start eating finger foods, give her a few pieces of cheese. Slice the cheese or cut it into bite-size pieces to make sure she doesn’t choke on it.
The only dairy you should avoid until your baby is 1 year old is cow’s or whole milk. Even though it may look as if your little one is getting the hang of new foods, her digestive system isn’t mature enough to digest this type of milk as easily as breast milk or formula. Whole milk also doesn’t have the right amount of iron, Vitamin C or other important nutrients that babies need.
Although yogurt, cheese and other dairy products may contain cow’s milk, the milk is broken down in a way that makes it easier for little tummies to digest.
Watching for Allergies
Just as when you introduce any new food, you should watch for any type of allergic reaction when your baby eats yogurt for the first time. Once you offer your little guy yogurt, wait three to five days before introducing any other new foods. Continue feeding him any foods he’s already tried during this time. Symptoms of a food allergy include:
- Flushed skin or rash
- Face, tongue or lip swelling
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Coughing or wheezing
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
If your baby has trouble breathing, is wheezing, has swelling of the face or lips, or is vomiting severely, call 911. For mild allergic reactions, stop giving him yogurt and let your pediatrician know about the reaction.