Can Babies Eat Probiotic Yogurt? [Including Activia]

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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You may know that probiotics are a healthy way to improve gut health, health conditions, and more. However, can your baby safely have probiotics, such as in yogurt? 

Overall, probiotic yogurt is likely safe for your baby, including Activia. However, always check with your baby’s pediatrician before giving your baby probiotics and foods with live cultures. 

Let’s talk more about probiotics for babies, the safety of probiotic yogurt, and more. 

Is It Safe to Give Babies Probiotic Yogurt?

It is likely safe to give your baby probiotic yogurt (containing live cultures) starting when they are six months old, but it is always best to check with your baby’s pediatrician first.

A 2019 literature review found that probiotics were not effective in reducing infant colic (a symptom characterized by extended periods of unexplained crying) but did reduce the overall crying time (source: The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews).

However, the research is limited because of the ethical implications of conducting clinical trials and experiments on infants. 

scooping probiotic yogurt with spoon

It is also challenging to determine the effectiveness and safety of different strains of live cultures for babies. Therefore, consulting with a pediatrician can provide a clearer answer on the appropriateness and safety of probiotics for your baby, even in food sources such as probiotic yogurt. 

If approved by your baby’s pediatrician, it is important to ensure that the probiotic yogurt is made from pasteurized milk (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).

Pasteurization is the process of heating the milk to a very high temperature to kill any bacteria that may be present. Any commercially-made yogurt should be pasteurized. However, it never hurts to double-check. 

Otherwise, yogurt can be an excellent source of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and more for your baby. However, it is best to opt for a yogurt variety that is lower in added sugars. Avoiding yogurt that is high in sugar can help prevent tooth decay (source: National Health Service [NHS]).

Also, if your baby is under age one, make sure any yogurt you give them does not have any honey due to the risk of infant botulism. 

As mentioned, your baby can have yogurt starting at six months old. At this age, it is safe to introduce thin purees, so adding some extra infant formula or breast milk can help thin the yogurt to a more watery consistency (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

After six months of age, your baby can have thicker purees, such as the consistency of most yogurts. However, do not introduce any yogurt with fruit pieces or chunks of any kind until they are at least ten months old. 

Can Babies Eat Activia Yogurt? 

probiotic yogurt brands including activia on store shelves

Activia is a safe and pasteurized yogurt that you can give to babies as long as it is the appropriate texture for their age. For example, some Activia yogurts may have fruit chunks or pieces, so they should not be given to babies until they are at least ten months old (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

However, the Activia varieties that are entirely smooth can be given to your baby starting at six months old. 

Also, opt for plain and unsweetened varieties to limit the amount of added sugar your baby consumes. 

Can Probiotic Yogurt Help with Constipation or Diarrhea in Babies? 

Probiotic yogurt may help with diarrhea in babies. A literature review from 2008 shows that probiotics can help treat diarrhea in infants and children (source: Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology).

Recent studies also demonstrate the benefit of probiotics in preventing antibiotic-related diarrhea as well (source: The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews). 

On the other hand, a systematic review determined that there is a lack of evidence suggesting that probiotics can help constipation (source: Revista Paulista de Pediatria). However, since there is very little high-quality, evidence-based research done on infants in this area, the review focused on children and adolescents. 

In conclusion, probiotic yogurt can be a nutritious and safe food for your baby if served appropriately.