10 Best Yogurts for Babies
May 17, 2023
Baby yogurt is the perfect consistency for a first food. But not all yogurts have the same nutritional benefits. So let’s review what to look for when choosing baby yogurts.
Are you wondering whether it’s okay to give yogurt to babies?
The short answer is yes. But there’s an overwhelming variety to choose from at the supermarket. And as a children’s nutrition expert, I have reservations about many yogurts on the market for babies.
Yogurt is made from milk that’s fermented by bacteria and contains live active cultures (probiotics for your baby’s gut). Plain yogurt only contains milk and live active cultures and some versions are fortified with vitamin D.
And really, that’s all a little one needs.
In this article, you’ll learn when babies can eat yogurt, how to choose yogurt for your baby, and my top yogurt choices for little ones.
When Can Babies Have Yogurt?
Babies can eat yogurt when they’re about 6 to 8 months old.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you can introduce single ingredient solid foods in any order beginning at around 6 months old. Around 7 to 8 months old, you may offer a variety of foods from all the food groups, according to the CDC.
Plain yogurt is a single ingredient food but there are other factors to consider. Some fruit yogurts have seeds and fruit chunks that are choking hazards to little ones.
And cow’s milk allergies are one of the most common food allergies in children.
Use caution when introducing dairy and other food allergens. First, offer a small amount and only one new food at a time. Then wait about 3 days before introducing another food.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the AAP recommend waiting until your baby is one-year-old before introducing cow’s milk. That’s because a baby’s gastrointestinal tract is not quite ready to process liquid milk.
So, you might wonder why it’s okay for babies to eat yogurt and cheese.
Yogurt is fermented, so it’s easier for babies to digest than cow’s milk.
Also, solid foods at this time, including dairy, are considered complementary foods. They aren’t required for the bulk of a little one’s calories and nutrient needs. Babies are still reliant on breastmilk or infant formula for their nutritional requirements.
Introducing cow’s milk early won’t provide enough nutrients in the right balance to substitute for the nutrition from breastmilk or baby formula, which is still baby’s primary source of nourishment in the first year,
Also, fortified formula and breastmilk provide iron, a critical nutrient in the first year when your little one’s brain grows rapidly.
Not only is cow’s milk a poor source of iron, high calcium foods actually reduce the absorption of iron. Complementary foods provide an important source of iron for babies.
Baby Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt
Let me share a secret…
Plain yogurt for adults and children is made from the same ingredients. Both contain milk and live active cultures.
The major difference between yogurt that’s made and marketed to kids is the size of the container, the packaging, and the ingredients in the flavored varieties.
Baby yogurts tend to be blends of yogurt, fruit and may some have cereal, too. Yogurt isn’t the main ingredient, which lowers the amount of protein.
And that’s a good thing. The DRI for babies 6-11 months old is only 11g daily and 13 g daily for babies 1-2 years old according to the Dietary Guidelines.
As a pediatric dietitian, I recommend regular full-fat plain yogurt, whether it is adult or baby yogurt, over many kid-friendly yogurts because many baby yogurts contain added sugar.
For example, there are 6 g of added sugar in one of the most popular baby yogurt brands. Sugar is the second ingredient on the list!
A Word About Added Sugar vs. Natural Sugar
Sugar and carbohydrates are a hot topic. There’s a lot of misinformation and it can be confusing. Let me break down what parents need to know for babies and kids.
Kiddos (and adults too) need carbohydrates but there are different types and not all of them are equally nutritious.
Natural sugars appear naturally in foods such as fruits, dairy and honey. Added sugars, on the other hand, are added during processing. To make things more confusing, there are many types of added sugars, and they all go by different names.
So, you might not see “sugar” on the ingredient list.
That’s why looking for “added sugars” underneath the carbohydrates is the best way to find them.
So why are added sugars worse than natural sugars?
In some ways there is no difference in how they’re digested and how they affect the body. But added sugars tend to be simple sugars. They digest quickly and cause a fast rise in blood sugar (then the crankies may follow after the sugar-crash).
In comparison, the fiber in whole fruit slows the absorption of sugar during digestion. That keeps your little one full longer and keeps their moods steady.
You could argue that the presence of fat and protein in yogurt slows digestion and mediates the rise and fall of blood sugar, and it does, but babies need lots of nutrients to support their growth and development, and added sugar isn’t one of them.
In fact, the recommendations for infants is no added sugar in the first 2 years of life.
Lactose is the sugar naturally found in dairy so all cow’s milk yogurt will have sugar. Don’t worry about that.
Choosing the Best Type of Yogurt for Babies
Before two years old, babies should eat full-fat dairy and avoid added sugars, according to the Dietary Guidelines. When you’re deciding on a yogurt for your little one, look for regular adult or children’s plain yogurts made with whole milk and without added sugars.
Can babies have Greek yogurt?
Greek yogurt is strained plain yogurt. Straining the yogurt removes most of the liquid and produces a thicker yogurt with more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt.
Most of a baby’s protein still comes from formula or breast milk and they don’t rely on complementary foods for protein.
Since Greek and other strained yogurts are thick, they’re easier for baby to self-feed.
But they’re also high in protein, so offer small portions.
Can babies have flavored yogurt?
Here’s where baby yogurt and adult yogurt are different: Brands made for babies have pureed fruits instead of fruit chunks, granola, or candy bits.
Baby yogurts tend to be flavored with fruits, cereals and added sugars.
However, quality brands stick to natural sugars from fruits (also known as fructose) instead of adding sugar or sugar-free sweeteners.
Top Baby Yogurts
The best thing about baby yogurt is the 4 oz container or pouch–a more appropriate size for babies.
Stonyfield tops the adult and baby yogurt list for my most recommended yogurt brand. It’s organic, comes in whole milk, has no added sugars and contains vitamin D.
Babies 6 – 12 months old need about 10 mcg of vitamin D each day.
Baby formula provides enough vitamin D, although breastfed babies may need a vitamin D supplement.
Complementary foods like dairy can fill in the nutrient gaps, although not all yogurts contain vitamin D.
All of the yogurts on this list are made from whole milk and don’t have any added sugars. The only sugar is the natural sugar that’s found in cow’s milk.
1. Stonyfield Organic YoBaby Whole Milk Yogurt, Plain
YoBaby whole milk yogurt is certified organic, has no added sugars and is fortified with vitamin D. These come in convenient 4 oz cups for little ones.
One serving contains 5 g of sugar, 4 g of protein and 10% of the DV of vitamin D.
2. Earth’s Best Organic Strawberry Banana Fruit Yogurt Smoothie
Earth’s Best fruit yogurt smoothie comes in a resealable pouch. It’s made with pureed fruits and yogurt but there’s no added sugar in the strawberry banana flavor.
One pouch contains 15 g of sugar and 2 g of protein and 30% of the DV of vitamin D. Pureed fruit is the first and second ingredient so this smoothie has more natural sugar from fruit than protein from the yogurt.
3. Annie’s Organics No Added Sugar Mixed Berry Whole Milk Yogurt
Annie’s Mixed Berry yogurt is certified organic, fortified with vitamin D and has no added sugars. These containers come in kid-friendly 4 oz cups.
One serving contains 7 g of sugar and 4 g of protein.
4. Happy Family Organics Happy Baby Whole Milk Yogurt
The flavored Happy Family whole milk yogurt has vitamin D, but no added sugars and it’s USDA organic. This comes in baby-friendly 1.7 oz cups.
One serving contains 3 g of sugar and 2 g of protein.
5. Happy Tot Organics Super Morning Stage 4, Apple Cinnamon, Yogurt, Oats + Super Chia
Happy Tot Stage 4 yogurt has the flavor without the added sugars. Like the Earth’s Best smoothie, yogurt isn’t the first ingredient on the list, so the protein is lower than plain yogurt.
This all-in-one breakfast has oats, fruit and Greek yogurt. One pouch contains 10 g of sugar and 1 g of protein.
Best Adult Yogurts (Regular and Greek) for Babies
These brands are marketed for adults and families but plain whole milk yogurt has the same ingredients as plain baby yogurt. These typically come in larger containers so stick to a few spoonfuls for your little one.
Take a look at the difference in sugar and protein for regular and Greek yogurts. Greek yogurts are fine for babies as long as you offer a small amount.
1. Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Yogurt, Plain
Stonyfield is USDA certified organic and is made without the use of toxic pesticides. It’s also fortified with vitamin D.
A 4 oz serving contains approximately 5 g of sugar , 4 g of protein and 10% of the DV of vitamin D.
2. Dannon All Natural Quart Plain Yogurt
This brand is popular for making a variety of flavored yogurts but Dannon’s plain whole milk yogurt doesn’t have sweeteners. In a 4 oz serving, there’s 4.6 g of sugar, 4 g of protein, and it’s fortified with vitamin D.
3. FAGE Total Greek Yogurt, 5% Whole Milk, Plain
Fage only contains two ingredients: milk and live active cultures. This brand of Greek yogurt is known for its thick and creamy texture.
A 4 oz serving has approximately 3 g of sugar and 10 g of protein.
4. Siggi’s Icelandic Strained Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
Siggi’s is a strained Icelandic yogurt similar to Greek yogurt. This brand boasts it doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners and only uses milk from family farms that do not use growth hormones. Since it’s made by straining yogurt, it’s low in sugar and high in protein.
A 4 oz serving has approximately 3.8 g of sugar and 13.5 g of protein.
5. Chobani Whole Milk Greek Yogurt, Plain
Chobani is another brand of Greek yogurt. Plain Chobani doesn’t contain sweeteners, preservatives, or artificial flavors.
A 4 oz serving has approximately 4 g of sugar and 11 g of protein.
Want More Help with Feeding Your Baby?
Check out my FREE guide to all the feeding skills your little one should have by age one! And grab my FREE baby eating journal called Baby Learns to Eat so you can note and track all the changes with food and eating in your baby’s first year of life.
The Smart Mom’s Guide to Starting Solids is also a gem of a guide for the transition to complementary foods, available on Amazon.