It might sound counterintuitive, but baby can start eating yogurt as early as 6 months old, but shouldn’t drink milk until 12 months. This BabyCenter guest column from Dr. Tanya Altmann breaks down the reasons why, but essentially it has to do with digestibility, nutrition and the fact that, once yogurt becomes yogurt, it’s not really milk anymore.
The same goes for cheese: It’s OK from 6 to 12 months. And for those non-dairy babies, almond milk and other alternatives should not be given to kids under 1 year old.
Yogurt is a terrific source of protein, calcium, vitamins, live cultures and probiotics, according to Dr. Altmann, and she includes it as one of her 11 essential foods for infants and toddlers. It’s also really easy to make at home, as this recipe from Wholesome Baby Food attests (there’s even a method for soy milk yogurt). We also found one from Homemade Baby Food Recipes for something they call “yogurt cheese.” And this story from First Cry is a great resource for the good and bad cheeses for baby.
Once baby reaches milk-drinking age, parents might want to consider goat over cow because, as New Kids Center points out, it’s easier to digest and contains less lactose and allergen proteins.