In a lot of ways, yogurt is the perfect food for little ones.
It’s easy for them to eat, plus it’s packed with vitamins and minerals that their growing bodies need.
(It can get a little messy, but that’s a small price to pay!)
When shopping for yogurt, you’re going to see both baby yogurt and regular yogurt in or near the dairy aisle. It will leave you wondering if there really is a difference other than the price tag.
So let’s break down baby yogurt vs regular yogurt: What’s the difference?
The difference between baby yogurt and adult yogurt is subtle. Adult yogurt generally has more sugar and less healthy fats, because baby yogurt is typically made from whole or organic whole milk. However, baby yogurt is more expensive and shopping in the kid’s aisle can encourage you to buy wild, overly-sugary flavors like Starburst or Skittles that your baby or toddler doesn’t need.
Let’s take a closer look and figure out whether baby yogurt is worth the extra cost.
Baby Yogurt Explained
Baby yogurt is specifically designed to meet the needs of growing babies and small children.
It’s typically made with whole milk or organic whole milk and has a variety of ingredients that are great for both the body and the mind.
While most yogurts contain the same ingredients, there are a few things that you need to be on the lookout for.
Make sure that the sugar content is low.
There is not usually as much sugar in baby yogurt as there is in adult yogurt.
Typically, flavored yogurt has more sugar than plain and vanilla yogurt does.
Yogurt should have probiotics in it as well. While you generally find this in all yogurt, there are a few exceptions.
It’s more common to find yogurt without probiotics if you are searching for lactose free yogurt. Probiotics will be listed on the back of the yogurt with nutritional information.
When shopping for yogurt, pay attention to the ingredients.
You want to avoid preservatives as much as possible, and watch for artificial sweeteners and yogurts that have too much sugar.
(This is common in yogurt that is flavored like candy, such as cotton candy yogurt.)
As you scan the ingredient list, you’ll also want to pay attention to vitamins and nutrients included.
You should see high levels of Vitamin D, probiotics, and healthy fats.
When you avoid the negative things like excess sugar found in baby yogurt, your little one can enjoy the benefits of yogurt, such as:
- More fat in their diet thanks to the whole milk
- Healthy digestion thanks to the probiotics
- Increase in vitamins, such as Vitamin D
- Yogurt helps manage weight
- Yogurt supports your immune system
While these are not all of the benefits of eating yogurt daily, they are the main ones that will impact your baby.
There are several types of yogurt on the market for babies.
Yogurt melts are popular, but these are not always safe for small babies. They can choke easily if the yogurt melt does not quickly dissolve in their mouth, so it’s best to hold off on yogurt melts until your baby has strong swallowing skills — around 9 months to a year old.
You can also find Yoplait for kids, YoKids Yogurt, Redwood Farms yogurt, Simply Go-Gurt, and several other brands.
All the main brands usually offer small containers which can be spoonfed, pouches, and/or Go-Gurt-style tubes.
Pros and Cons of Baby Yogurt
So now that we know what baby yogurt is and what to look for on the label, what are the benefits and drawbacks to feeding specially-formulated baby yogurts to your little one?
- Specially formulated for babies
- Tons of health benefits
- Often has more healthy fats than regular yogurt
- Fewer preservatives and flavorings when compared to regular yogurt
- You can find more organic brands available
- Available in melts, pouches, tubes, and cups
- Often it costs more than adult yogurt
- Available in candy flavors with large amounts of sugar
Regular Adult Yogurt Explained
You can find regular adult yogurt in the same aisle as most baby yogurt.
(Yogurt melts are the only baby yogurt that does not need refrigeration.)
It can leave you wondering whether it’s really worth the higher price tag. In order to make that decision, it’s important to consider the differences between baby and adult yogurt.
Adult yogurt is available with more lactose free options. For example, you can find more yogurt made from almond milk and soy milk when browsing the adult yogurt sections.
If your baby needs lactose free yogurt, the adult section is going to have more options.
You’ll also discover that there are more natural flavors geared towards adults and fewer overly sugared flavors.
For example, it’s easier to find plain vanilla yogurt and cherry yogurt in the adult section, along with peach, strawberry, and other flavors that would be great for kids.
In children’s or baby yogurt sections, you’ll find lots of intense flavors like Skittles, Starbursts, or chocolate. These are probably too sugary to give a baby regularly.
But even still, the regular adult yogurts will generally have more sugar than plain baby yogurts.
However, baby yogurt companies tend to outshine adult yogurt companies regarding the level of organic products available.
It’s much easier to find organic yogurt for children as more and more parents begin to understand the benefits of feeding their children an organic diet.
The level of probiotics is higher in adult yogurts to promote digestive health in adults. Babies do not need this same level of probiotics for their digestive health.
Other vitamins and nutrients are found in higher concentrations in adult yogurt, which of course is formulated for adults. A baby or toddler may not need these amounts.
Finally, serving sizes of adult yogurts might not suit a baby or toddler.
A large tub of adult yogurt is great for feeding baby in small amounts, but individually packed servings of regular yogurt will be too big and you’ll end up wasting a lot of food.
Pros and Cons of Regular Yogurt for Babies
Can you and should you feed regular adult yogurt to a baby or toddler?
Here are some things to consider:
- Easier to find a variety of flavors
- Available in all natural and organic varieties
- Easier to find lactose free yogurt
- Offers plenty of vitamins and nutrients
- Less fat content
- Additional vitamins and probiotics your baby doesn’t need
- More likely to have a higher sugar content
- Large servings that are not always appropriate for babies
To answer the question, can I give adult yogurt to babies?
Yes, you can! Baby yogurt and regular adult are extremely similar, you just need to watch out for high sugar content, artificial flavorings or preservatives, and serving sizes.
Baby yogurt is convenient because it’s perfectly formulated for growing little ones, and it comes in packaging that’s easy for snacking.
But scooping a small bowlful of adult yogurt out of a tub works just as well if you’ve chosen a low sugar, organic brand.
The convenience and nutrient formulation comes at a higher cost, and overall baby yogurt doesn’t usually justify the price. But if you can afford it, it’s more convenient and reliable than buying adult yogurts for a baby.
For more, check out:
- NoseFrida vs Electric Aspirator
- Tummy Time vs Sitting Up
- Bottle Warmer vs Hot Water vs Microwave
- Baby pouches vs jars
Hope this helps!