Yogurt for infants?

I live in Brazil and I have a baby in his 5 months. We are vegetarian and the baby's diet is uniquely the breastmilk of his mom. Now she is coming back to work and we are trying different types of food to feed him along with the breastmilk.

Our question is about yogurt: is it ok to complement his diet (in the absence of his mom's milk) with yogurt? Please, notice that we want very much to continue to breastfeed him.

Sorry for this poor English and thank you in advance

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Eduardo,

Your English is fine! I am so glad you wrote, it is fun to get questions from so far away and to learn how concerns are similar/different from the U.S. I have a cousin who lives in Brazil and understand that yogurt is a popular food there.

Yogurt is a great baby food. It contain lots of high quality protein, plenty of calcium, and beneficial bacteria. It is appropriate to offer yogurt to babies generally after six months of age, and then only as a supplement to formula or breast milk, not as a replacement. You indicate that you would like to try yogurt in this manner, which is fine.

Choose the plain, full fat yogurt. Babies do not need the added sugar of the flavored variety. If your baby does not care for the yogurt plain, try adding a little mashed fruit such as banana, applesauce or papaya.

Any cow's milk product should be avoided prior to 6 months so as to avoid potential allergic reactions to the milk protein. It also gives the digestive track a longer chance to mature so has to better handle it. Cow milk has a much higher protein content than human milk so a baby should not be given it as a replacement for formula or breastmilk since the solute load is too much for the kidney's to handle. However, a small amount in the diet is fine, and can provide some high quality nutrients.

As in most cases, moderation is the key, some is good, a lot is not better. The older your baby gets, the more and more you can add dairy products, until at one year, he can be completely weaned to drinking whole cow milk from a cup.

Thank you for writing.

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