When is it OK to Give Your Baby Yogurt and Cheese?
“No dairy until after 12 months of age” is the advice that many doctors and paediatricians may give – while others may say that yogurt, and cheese can be included in your baby’s diet from the age of about 8 months… very confusing!
The ‘No dairy until 1 year ‘ advice is usually givenbecause the medical experts fear that, if told dairy products like yogurt and cheese are OK for babies from the age of 8 months; some parents may think that all dairy products are OK – and replace breast milk or formula with cow’s milk when baby is too young.
This would be highly detrimental to a baby’s health and development because…
- Unlike breast milk or formula – cow’s milk does not contain all the nutritional elements that are essential up to the age of 12 months.
- Cow’s milk is not so easy for a baby’s system to handle.
- There is the danger of lactose intolerance.
- There is the danger of a milk protein allergy.
Why are yogurt and cheese OK at an earlier age?
- Even though they are dairy products, yogurt and cheese could not be used to replace breast milk or formula as your baby’s main ‘food’.
- Manyof those with lactose intolerance or milk protein allergies can eat yogurt and/or cheese without trouble, because during the culturing process lactose is broken down, and milk proteins are partly removed or limited.
- Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, and the protein is easy to digest.
As long as you understand this, speak with your own baby’s doctor or paediatrician, who may recommend starting your baby on yogurt and/or cheese at around 7 or 8 months of age (some paediatricians even recommend yogurt as a good first food – from the age of 6 months). If there is any family history of problems with dairy products, you may be advised to wait until your baby is older.
Whole-milk yogurt will always be recommended, as your baby needs fats in his or her diet for proper growth, and remember that there is sugar in yogurt – even plain varieties – but it is not added, it is lactose, a natural sugar that all dairy products contain.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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