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Infants, Yogurt and Milk

Expert Q&A


Updated February 15, 2006

Q. I purchased organic baby yogurt by Stonyfield Farms at my local grocery store. The product advertises it is for babies and toddlers. It does not specify at what age a baby can eat the yogurt. It is made with whole milk. My daughter is nine months old and I am wondering if this is okay for her to eat. I understand not to switch her solely from formula to cow's milk until she is one year old, but does this mean she cannot have ANY milk-based products, other than formula, until she has reached the age of one? Rachel, Memphis, Tennessee

A. You are right that infants should not be switched to cow's milk before they are a year old. The main reason behind this recommendation is that cow's milk doesn't have any iron in it, and so replacing breastmilk or an iron fortified infant formula with regular cow's milk before an infant is a year old would likely lead to your baby developing iron deficiency anemia. Some infants also have problems digesting large amounts of cow's milk.

If your infant is not at risk for food allergies, you can give some milk based products before they are a year old though. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics, in their Guide to Your Child's Nutrition, recommends introducing yogurt and cheese once a child is 9-12 months old.

If your baby is at risk for food allergies, like if they have eczema, asthma, allergies, food allergies or if they have other family members with these conditions, then you should avoid all dairy products until your baby is at least a year old.

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