When Can My Toddler Have Yogurt?

small child eating yoghurt
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Yogurt is not just thickened, sweetened milk, but rather it is a fermented milk product. Even those who are lactose intolerant can eat yogurt because its lactose is converted to lactic acid as it's made. In addition, milk proteins are broken down and made more easy to digest. Children as young as 6 months who are starting solids can begin eating yogurt if you're careful about what's in the brand you buy.

All Yogurt Is Not Equal

Yogurt can be a very healthy addition to your toddler's diet but it can be more of a junk food if you're not careful. Some brands contain artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, tons of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and thickeners. In addition, your child needs all the fat dairy can offer right now and full-fat yogurt is sometimes hard to find, especially without lots of added ingredients. Just remember, the fewer ingredients the better -- just milk and live and active cultures is best -- but if there is a small amount of sugar or pectin in addition to fruit, this is better than a lot of artificial ingredients.

I always liked to buy plain, full-fat yogurt and just add my son's favorite fruits to it. If you use a food mill or have a blender nearby, you can puree a bit of fruit (like mango or blueberries) and add the yogurt to make a smoothie. If you're handy in the kitchen, try making your own yogurt.

It's inexpensive, pretty easy and you know for sure that what's going in there is acceptable for your toddler.

Allergic Reactions

If you've gotten the go ahead to start on milk and your child has been drinking a cow's milk formula, then you probably already know that your child doesn't have a milk allergy.

Still, milk is not the only ingredient in yogurt that your child could possibly react to. Also, children who have been exclusively breastfed or have been using a formula made with something other than cow's milk should watch for the signs of an allergic reaction, too. Those signs can include: hives, difficulty breathing or asthma symptoms, swelling of the mouth or throat, vomiting or diarrhea and loss of consciousness. Know how to respond if your child exhibits any of these symptoms and be ready to call 9-1-1 immediately.