Before you say – “Ewww! Gross!” hear me out.
The baby is starting solid foods. Yogurt is full of good live bacteria that are beneficial to the gut and can aid in digestion. Yogurt can be introduced to babies at the six month mark, but cow’s milk is not supposed to be introduced until 12 months. My baby is exclusively breastfed, with exception to the ounce or two of fruit and veg puree that we are slowly introducing. I have been making our yogurt at home for years now. To me it seems natural to make yogurt from breastmilk rather than giving him cow’s milk yogurt.
If you research “breast milk yogurt” on the internet you’ll find some information but nothing really definitive. I figured I’d give it a try. I decided to try two different ways – a “raw” version and a cooked version (the way I usually make yogurt). In my mind, the worst case scenario was that it wouldn’t work out and I would have wasted ten ounces of milk, and if that happened, I’d just give it to the dogs over their dry food.
The first batch was “raw”. I heated the freshly pumped milk to 110 F and added in some of my yogurt culture and incubated it at 100-110F for 12 hours. The result was as I expected it to be. I had tried to make yogurt with raw cow’s milk about three years ago and got the same results. The yogurt was thin and watery, the cream had separated to the top and was thick, the rest was watery, but cultured (not unlike the runny stuff that will collect on top of good quality yogurt).
The second batch I used my normal method of heating the milk to 185 F and then cooling it to 110 F and adding the culture and incubating it the same as before. It too was just as runny and separated. I was hoping that this wouldn’t be the case, but fully expected it to be so.
Here’s the thing about breastmilk: it is not as fatty as cow’s milk, it also has a different composition of proteins. Also homogenization makes a difference too. So, you may now be wondering “what do you do with runny breast milk yogurt?” I plan on using it to thin purees. Avocado, butternut Squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes all need extra liquid – why not use cultured breast milk? I can also skim of the thicker, fatty top layer and serve that plain as it has a more yogurt like consistency.
Some websites recommend adding corn starch or gelatin to thicken the milk. But if the point is to give baby something purer than store bought yogurt, why would you want to add anything to it? I’m not doing it and you won’t find instructions on how to do that here.
I put the jars in the refrigerator and clearly labelled them, I didn’t want the Hubs to accidentally eat it. He liked that I experimented with this. When he saw it he asked me “Did you taste it?” I replied “Ewww, no! That would be gross!” and then said “You taste it!”. His response? “Ewww, no! Gross!” We had a good laugh out of that. We fed it to the baby that morning and guess what!? He loved it! Peaches and cream, anyone?