What are the benefits of kefir? At what age and in what quantity can it be given to a child?

Kefir is one of the most healthy fermented milk products for both adults and children. This natural antioxidant has a beneficial effect on the digestive system, normalizes intestinal microflora and strengthens the immune system. Kefir can take an important place in a child’s diet if the recommended dosages and age characteristics of the child are followed when introducing complementary foods.

There is no consensus among doctors on this matter, however, in recent years, official pediatrics believes that a medicinal and nutritional fermented milk drink can be included in a child’s menu no earlier than from the age of 1 year. In isolated cases, as prescribed by a pediatrician, kefir is introduced into complementary foods from 8 months. Dr. Komarovsky, however, insists that this drink will not harm a six-month-old baby.

What is it for?

No matter how you feel about dairy products, kefir is a must for the daily menu of any person - both for those who are losing weight, and for those who care about their health, and for adults, and for babies. And the reason is that it is not just a tasty drink, but also healthy:

  • Fermented milk drink contains a lot of calcium. This mineral is essential for bone growth and teeth formation. In addition, it is involved in many processes in the body.
  • Kefir is effective in solving problems with stool: only a matured drink will help cope with constipation, but if it sits for a while, it will help with diarrhea.
  • This product contains vital protein, which in this form is easily digestible. This helps the child's muscles develop.
  • Kefir saves the gastrointestinal tract from pathogenic bacteria.
  • The content of lactic acid microorganisms supports the baby's liver.
  • A rich vitamin complex is an excellent source of vitamins for the baby’s body.

Cosmetological medicinal properties of kefir

Kefir is a unique remedy for rejuvenating the skin of the face, neck, hands and whole body, as well as hair. Live bacteria, of which there is a colossal amount in the product, activate processes in the skin, improve the condition of hair roots, and return exhausted and thin horses to a new life.

Hair Mask

Add a teaspoon of ground red pepper, a teaspoon of burdock oil, vitamin B2, B6 and B12 to 100 grams of kefir. Warm the mixture a little and rub into the hair roots. Wash off with herbal shampoo and warm water. Repeat the procedure twice a week.

What kind of kefir should I give?

When talking about introducing a new product into a baby’s diet, you should understand that you can’t just buy the first kefir you come across and offer it to your baby. Pediatricians recommend preparing it yourself. You should definitely not offer your baby a drink that is suitable for feeding adults. But many people are concerned about children’s kefir in stores, because in any case preservatives are added to it in order to be sold not for a couple of days, but for a week or two.

In addition, preparing kefir does not take much time. This will take one night or several hours, if you approach the issue using special household appliances. An important nuance in preparing the drink is the ability to choose bacteria for fermentation.

Complementary feeding with fermented milk products

According to WHO recommendations, complementary feeding with fermented milk products is introduced at 8 months. Such products not only renew the child’s sense of taste, but also give the body a lot of useful substances, improve digestion and improve immunity.

Table of contents
  • What are the benefits of fermented milk products?
  • Introduction of kefir
  • Why you can’t introduce kefir ahead of time
  • Ryazhenka on the child's menu
  • Biolact
  • Yogurt
  • Introduction to cottage cheese
  • Let's diversify the taste of dishes using cream and sour cream
  • Let's try the cheese
  • Doctor Komarovsky about fermented milk complementary foods

What are the benefits of fermented milk products?

They contain special bacteria, lactic acid, vitamins, proteins, microelements and other useful substances.

Thanks to this composition, fermented milk products are considered dietary and bring great benefits to the body.

• Fermented milk dishes are digested and absorbed more actively than other types of dairy products. This occurs thanks to special enzymes secreted by lactic acid bacteria.

• They improve appetite, improve the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and other organs.

• Strengthen the immune system.

• Contains calcium, vitamins B, C, D, folic acid.

• Less likely to cause allergies than other dairy products.

Introduction of kefir

Despite the numerous advantages of this drink, you should not rush to introduce it to your baby. It is recommended for children to try kefir from 8 months.

Like any new dish, at first you give no more than a teaspoon.

It is recommended to do this in the evening feeding. Within a week, the daily volume reaches 50 ml. 20 days after the first tasting - 200 ml per day.

This age norm is for children under one year old.

After a year, you can increase the daily volume, first to 300, and then to 400 ml.

Kefir should be given warm. It is better to warm it by placing the mug in a container of hot water. If you heat it on the stove, you can get cottage cheese instead of kefir.

Why you can’t introduce kefir ahead of time

• Additional load on the kidneys. It is difficult for a small body to cope with the processing of large volumes of protein and minerals.

For this reason, the kidneys have to work harder than usual, which leads to early wear and tear.

• Anemia. There are studies that have revealed problems with hemoglobin in children whose diet included kefir early.

• Increased acidity of the drink. It is difficult for the baby’s body to cope with its processing, which can lead to stagnation of the product in the body.

Due to the acidity of kefir, it is better to offer the baby a special children's drink. Acidity is reduced during production.

Ryazhenka on the child's menu

Ryazhenka is very nutritious and healthy. The time of its introduction is 8 months. Gradually increasing the daily volume, by the year you can bring it to 100 ml.

Only from 2 years old is it permissible to give a child 200 to 250 ml per day.


This drink is enriched with vitamins and is recommended for weakened children and infants suffering from digestive disorders. Children like it because of the added sugar.

Allowed from 8 months, but it is better not to introduce it into the diet before 9 months. They begin acquaintance with 20 ml, increasing the volume to 200 ml by 10 months.

Biolact can completely replace one feeding.


Special yogurt for children is allowed from 9 months. It has a natural composition and a short shelf life. It can be prepared at home. To do this, you need to add a special starter to the milk.

Until one year of age, it is better to give your child yogurt without additives. In the future, you can diversify its taste with fruits and berries or buy ready-made yoghurts with flavoring fillers.

The daily norm for children under one year is 150-200 ml.

Introduction to cottage cheese

It is also recommended to introduce your baby to this delicacy from 8 months. It will become an additional source of protein, calcium and phosphorus, vitamins B1 and PP for the body.

There is no reason to give it to your baby earlier, because before that he gets all the necessary substances from breast milk.

The inclusion of this dish in the menu follows immediately after kefir. Cottage cheese is given once a day.

The first portion is 1 teaspoon. Day by day, the volume increases and is brought to 50 g per day. From one year of age you can increase the portion to 100 grams per day.

You can prepare the product at home or buy it ready-made in the store. When purchasing, it is better to choose a product with a fat content of 5 to 11 percent.

It is better to adhere to age norms so as not to overload the child’s kidneys. You should not offer your baby regular cottage cheese intended for adults.

It will be difficult for the child's body to digest it.

Useful tips for mothers: FIRST FEEDINGS

The healthiest thing will be children's cottage cheese without fruit fillings that can cause allergies.

Let's diversify the taste of dishes using cream and sour cream

Cream and sour cream contain a lot of fat, they are rich in vitamins and iron.

You can use 10% cream from 8 months. They are offered to children with porridge or vegetables, added instead of butter. The daily norm is no more than 30 g.

It is preferable to postpone sour cream until the child is 1 year old. It is better to use a 10 percent product, improving the taste of soups and purees.

Let's try the cheese

Cheese consists of equal parts protein, fat and water. It is rich in calcium, sodium, vitamin A. Already at 8-9 months you can offer your child some hard cheese.

For the first time - no more than 5 grams.

The best option is to add grated cheese to some dish.

When purchasing, it is better to give preference to a lightly salted product without unnecessary additives with a fat content of about 45%.

Doctor Komarovsky about fermented milk complementary foods

A popular children's doctor believes that the first complementary foods should be fermented milk products. They are most similar in composition to breast milk. In addition, they contain lactic acid bacteria.

They fight harmful microbes, improve digestion and reduce the load on the liver.

The first product is kefir. It is best to give it during the second feeding. Starting with a minimum volume, you need to double it every day. Provided that the baby accepted the new product well.

After 5 days, you can add a spoonful of cottage cheese and a little sugar to the kefir. By 6-8 months you can increase the volume of cottage cheese to 30 grams per day, and by 8 months – up to 50 grams.

A week after your child is introduced to kefir and cottage cheese, you can completely replace one feeding. After this, it is better to postpone other new products for a few weeks.

Due to its numerous beneficial properties, fermented milk products are necessary for children. But you should not introduce them ahead of time. Only by introducing new treats in a timely and gradual manner can you achieve the desired result.

And in a short time they will become a full-fledged replacement for one, and then more, feedings.

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Arina Nagovitsyna

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JOURNALIST Higher education: Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communications

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When to give kefir

It is traditionally believed that until six months of age, a breastfed baby does not require anything other than mother's milk. Therefore, we can talk about introducing kefir into a baby’s diet no earlier than 6 months. When the gastrointestinal tract has matured, only then can you gradually offer your baby new foods. Early introduction of fermented milk products threatens hemorrhages in the intestines. Although this happens to microvessels, it is still not worth risking the health of the newborn.

It is usually recommended to introduce kefir at about 8 months, when you know that the baby is already eating cereals and vegetables normally. Although there is an opinion among doctors that complementary feeding should generally start with this drink. Among these pediatricians is Komarovsky, who has a lot of fans. It is he who advises introducing a fermented milk drink first and giving it several times a week, offering, of course, other products.

Many parents are concerned about allergies to dairy products when introduced early. As a rule, this happens if the baby has a reaction of the body to lactose, which is somehow contained in the milk from which you prepare kefir.

How to introduce kefir into complementary feeding for infants

Babies who receive plenty of mother's milk do not need to rush into this. First, you should introduce the toddler's stomach to fruit and vegetable purees. They are easier to digest and prepare the digestive system for the following foods. The optimal option is considered to be 7-8 months of age, and some simple rules will help the baby accept a new type of diet without any unpleasant consequences.

  • The very first portion should not exceed 2-3 teaspoons, after which supplementary feeding should be done either with breast milk or, if the baby is bottle-fed, with a special infant formula.
  • You should wait at least 2 days before the second time. This is done due to the fact that an allergy to kefir in a baby may not appear immediately, and you can only aggravate it with impatience. Such a break is necessary for the baby’s body to better get used to the drink itself.
  • Since kefir tends to increase appetite, it is better to give it in the first half of the day.
  • Adding sugar is strictly prohibited. This combination will cause fermentation in the baby’s stomach, which will lead to not very pleasant consequences in the form of colic and gas. If the baby does not like the sour taste of kefir, there is always the opportunity to sweeten it a little with a small amount of fruit puree.
  • If no negative reactions occur, you can safely increase the portion to 4-5 teaspoons.

As you can see, there are no special rules, and there cannot be. With a few exceptions, everything is exactly the same as when introducing other foods into complementary foods.

Cooking methods

The most common and simplest way is to prepare kefir from a portion of fresh milk and starter using a yogurt maker. To do this, simply boil the milk, cool it a little, add sourdough or a tablespoon of fermented milk kefir. In the morning the drink is ready, although it is better to keep it in the refrigerator for another couple of hours.

It is important to use either a starter with an appropriate shelf life or kefir, which should be stored for no more than 10 days.

The milk from which you make kefir also matters: homemade milk is too fatty for the baby, so it is advisable to use a low-fat drink or dilute homemade milk with water. In any case, a newborn is not ready to consume full-fat milk, which can lead to serious complications in the body’s functioning.

You can prepare the drink in a slow cooker in the same way. For this you also take 0.5 liters of milk and starter. Both bacteria, yogurt, and ready-made kefir are suitable. Depending on the recipe, the cooking time will be 5-7 hours.

Of course, you can prepare a drink without special equipment. To do this, you will have to control the process of cooling the milk and maintaining a temperature of about 37 degrees for several hours. Usually the container is wrapped in something warm for the whole night.

Preparing kefir takes a little longer than cottage cheese from the same amount of milk, so parents often tend to buy ready-made baby products in the store. Pediatricians have different opinions on this matter, because a store-bought drink still cannot be absolutely safe, since its shelf life exceeds what is permissible when preparing a live and fresh product. Of course, there are companies that deserve respect, but they also play it safe by adding substances to a regular fermented milk drink to extend the shelf life. As a result, an allergy may appear not to the product, but to additional components of the product, and parents panic that the child does not perceive kefir in the same way. Therefore, you should first offer a healthy homemade drink, and then draw conclusions and offer your child a store-bought product.


Let's look at the positive properties of kefir:

  • When consuming kefir, the intestinal microflora is able to recover and also be cleansed of various toxins, this has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the body as a whole;
  • Thanks to kefir, substances such as calcium, iron and vitamin D are absorbed, which must be taken by children under 2 years of age;
  • Helps strengthen the immune system;
  • Helps improve appetite;
  • Contains amino acids and vitamins, rich in calcium;
  • Affects the child's nervous system. It restores the baby’s strength, gives him energy for the whole day, and relieves the first signs of fatigue;
  • Useful for children with various developmental problems (rickets, anemia).
  • Kefir acts as an antiseptic, since it contains lactic acid, which has a healing effect for stomach disorders and infections;
  • Able to restore the baby’s body after illnesses.

And now the negative ones:

  • The presence of milk protein “casein”. It does not pose any danger to the body of an adult, but there are certain risks for a baby. “Casein” is poorly broken down by the enzymes of a small organism, and can also penetrate the intestinal wall, thereby causing allergies;
  • Kefir acids, various mineral salts that are included in its composition, have a detrimental effect on the kidneys, digestion, they act as strong irritants.

We conclude that there are many more benefits from taking kefir, so its benefits are obvious! The main thing is to follow the rules for introducing complementary foods, then no negative properties will have a detrimental effect on you and your little one.

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