Introducing Cheese to Your Baby
When can baby eat cheese and what kinds of cheese should you offer to baby?
As mentioned in the Dairy FAQ page, cheeses are typically offered to the non-allergic baby between 8 and 10 months of age. If your baby has a known or suspected dairy issue (either a milk protein or lactose intolerance) then you should wait to introduce cheese and other dairy when your infant is older. As always, you should consult baby’s pediatrician about introducing cheese to your baby as generalities may not apply.
Cheese is very good for baby and provides calcium, “good” fats and protein too. You can introduce cheese to your baby by offering the lighter tasting cheeses (Colby, Jack, Mild Cheddar) and also by offering her cottage cheese. Cottage cheese can be a really fun and tasty finger food for babies.
If baby cannot mash/grasp, melt cheeses over vegetables or add to veggie/meat purees. If baby can mash/grasp and has had Baby Finger Foods, cut cheeses into small bits and offer to baby as a snack.
Cheeses may also be offered to your little one via the old classic grilled cheese sandwich or mac-n-cheese – again, this will be dependent on how baby is with mashing/grasping other foods.
What about Soft Cheeses for Feeding My Baby, Are they Safe?
Cheeses such as Brie, Feta, Camembert, Roquefort, and Bleu Cheese are amongst those called “soft” cheeses. These cheeses are typically not cultured and in many countries, are not made from pasteurized milk; they are made from raw milk. Cream Cheese is not considered a “soft” cheese that you need to avoid because it is pasteurized.
Products made from raw milk may carry a bacteria called listeria. The incidence of listeria in the United States is very low as the vast majority of dairy products sold in the US are either pasteurized or cultured. The “safest” types of cheeses are Cottage cheese, ricotta, cream cheese, processed cheeses and hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan. As mentioned, cultured dairy products like yogurt are generally considered to be safe for both a baby and a pregnant woman. Check the labels on the cheese products you buy and ensure they are either cultured or made from pasteurized milk products.
How can I feed my baby cottage cheese; do you have any “recipes” for giving baby cottage cheese?
Cottage cheese is a good choice for dairy if your baby has been OK with yogurt and/or other cheese. The one thing about cottage cheese that you might be mindful of is the texture. For babies just starting out on dairy, cottage cheese might not be a good choice as a first starter due to it not being as highly cultured as yogurt. For those infants who do not have a lot of experience with textures and lumpy foods, cottage cheese may not be a good starter for dairy is due to the texture.
You can puree cottage cheese and mix it with fruits and even veggies if you like. If your baby is doing well with texture and dairy such as yogurt, cottage cheese is one of those foods that makes a nice finger food (albeit a very messy one).
Ideas & Types of Cheese for Feeding to Your Baby
Types of Cheeses: Colby, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Parmesan, Romano, Cottage Cheese.
Always buy Cheese from a Deli and ensure you buy full cheese and not a “Cheese food product” such as Velveeta or those packaged cheese slices. While there is nothing terribly wrong with these cheeses, we prefer our babies to have only natural real cheese without any artificial colors or fillers.
Colby, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Parmesan, Romano
- Shred it and offer is as finger food – it’s cheaper to buy a block and then shred it yourself but you can buy the pre-shredded cheese
- Melt it over baby’s veggies
- Melt it over some toast points, pita bread or any whole grain bread
- Stir it into baby’s rice and noodle dishes
- Add cheese to J&J’s Baby Meatballs
- Scramble egg yolks with shredded cheese for extra nutrition and added Yum.
- Grate some cheese over your baby’s meal to entice him to eat
- Cheese mixed and baked into pancakes (most particularly Buckwheat pancakes) is very yummy. Add a veggie to the mix for an extra yummy nutritious Cheesy & Veggie Cake “meal” or snack.
Cottage Cheese “Recipe” Ideas
- Mix cottage cheese with your baby’s favorite fruit purée or fruit dices – we still love peachy cottage cheese.
- Spread cottage cheese and fruit purée over toast, a bagel or bread
- Mash cottage cheese and avocado for a healthy “meal” or snack
- Cottage Cheese is yummy when mixed with noodles and some grated cheese for a “quick” Faux lasagna.
- Serve cottage cheese with a pinch of pepper and garlic or a pinch of onion powder and pepper
- Chop some (cooked) veggies and mix with cottage cheese – offer mixed with rice or noodles if you desire
- Blend cottage cheese with lentils and beans