Often parents want to know if they can feed their baby kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is popular in Europe. It has a very sour taste, and most people need to add flavors or sweeteners. It looks like milk, but is thought to have the texture of yogurt.
While kefir is perfectly safe for your baby to consume after their first birthday, they may not like the sour taste. Kefir can be made at home or purchased at many stores. It’s usually sold plain, like regular milk, but flavored varieties can also be found. The most popular flavors are fruit varieties. Kefir is considered healthy and can be consumed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is most popular in Russia, Poland, and Lithuania.
It has grown in popularity over the years, and can now be found in the United States at specialty stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
Can I Give My Baby Kefir? Answer: Yes, at One Year
People consume kefir the same way they consume milk, and it very popular with sweets, such as cookies. Kefir contains yeast, and many people use this to make sourdough bread or substitute it for buttermilk when they bake.
When a baby is growing and developing, they need a great deal of vitamins and nutrients to make sure they are healthy. Before your child’s first birthday, formula and breast milk ensure your baby receives the right amount of vitamins and nutrients to grow and develop. Around their first year, and when they’re ready, you can begin the transition from breast milk or formula to regular milk and similar products like kefir.
Important Changes at One Year
It is important to wait until after your child’s first birthday before giving them milk. Your baby’s digestive system cannot properly digest the milk proteins before they reach the one-year mark. Milk contains a great deal of sodium, potassium and chloride, and too much of these ingredients can have a negative affect their kidneys.
Most importantly, though, is that your baby needs the right amount of vitamins and minerals during their first year, and milk alone does not have all of them, especially vitamin E, iron and zinc. Giving them milk before their first birthday could cause them to have an iron deficiency, and in more severe cases may cause internal bleeding.
Once your baby is ready for milk, it becomes their most important form of nutrients. Milk is a great source of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A that will help build your child’s bones and teeth. It will also help your child’s muscles.
Most milk is fortified with vitamin D, which helps the body absorb the calcium it needs. Milk provides protein for growth and carbohydrates that give your child the energy they needs to play all day long.
A Good Transition to Milk
According to KidsHealth.org children between the ages of one and two should consume between 16 and 24 ounces of milk per day. Note that it is possible for your child to consume too much milk. More than two to three glasses of milk during the day can fill your child up, making them less likely to be hungry at dinner for other foods they need in their diet.
Some children have trouble making the transition from formula or breast milk to milk. If this is the case for your child, try mixing milk with formula or breast milk. Use more formula or breast milk the first few times, and gradually increase the amount of milk and reduce the amount of breast milk or formula until your child is drinking 100% milk. If your child is still refusing, make sure they receive the 16-oz. minimum by giving them foods rich in milk, such as puddings, custards, yogurts and shakes. You can also use kefir if you find that they digest it more easily.
Kefir Has It’s Own Benefits
While cow’s milk is best for children under the age of three, kefir is perfectly fine for your child to consume. The vitamins and minerals in milk or kefir are their main source of nutrients at this age, so it’s good idea to make sure that they’re getting the proper daily amounts.
If you have any questions about feeding your child kefir, it is important to contact their pediatrician to discuss your specific questions or concerns.