Milk and dairy products

Essential information to rememberSince cow’s milk can reduce your baby’s appetite for other foods, including iron-rich foods, don’t give her more than 750 ml (25 oz) per day.

Photo: Sophie Charest

This section covers cow’s milk, yogurt, and cheese. Breast milk, commercial infant formula, and other milks are covered in the first chapters of Feeding your child.

Milk, yogurt, and cheese contain protein and minerals, including calcium. They help build and maintain healthy bones and teeth. Cow’s milk is also enriched with vitamin D, which helps the body use calcium more efficiently.

You can give your baby yogurt and cheese once he has started eating iron-rich foods at least twice a day.

Choose high-fat milk and dairy products rather than “light” or low fat options. Your child needs these fats to grow and develop properly. Make sure that milk and dairy products are pasteurized (see Why serve pasteurized milk).

Cow’s milk: not before 9 months

Between 9 and 12 months, once your baby is eating a varied diet including iron-rich foods, she can gradually start drinking pasteurized 3.25% cow’s milk (3.25% milk fat). For more information, see Other types of milk.

Cheese

Choose pasteurized cheeses.

Start with cheeses that can be eaten with a spoon, like cottage cheese or ricotta.

Next introduce grated or thinly sliced hard cheeses (mild and white).

Yogurt

It’s best to choose plain yogurt, to which you can add pureed fruit or pieces of fresh fruit. Commercial fruit yogurt contains added sugar or sugar substitutes.

As with all dairy products, opt for high-fat yogurt. Low-fat and fat-free yogurt are not suitable for the needs of young children.

If you make your own yogurt, use whole milk (3.25% milk fat).