When Is It OK To Give a Baby Cheese?

Front View Portrait Of Boy Eating Food
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Introducing new foods to a baby can be a delightful task. There's nothing cuter than seeing a button nose crinkle up at the taste or texture of something she's never eaten before—especially if she likes it the first time around. And it can be incredibly liberating to be able to feed your little one more and more of the same foods you and the rest of the family eat.

If cheese is frequently on the menu in your home, you can begin serving certain types of this protein-and-calcium-rich food to your baby before she turns a year old. Most pediatricians recommend offering cheese to babies with no family history of food allergies between 8 to 10 months. Those who have one parent or a sibling with a food allergy may be advised to wait a bit longer.

Once your baby's doctor gives feeding your baby cheese the green light, here's what you need to know about the kinds of cheese your child is most likely to take to in the beginning, plus some tips for working cheese into her diet.

Best Cheeses to Start With

A chunk of hard cheese could be a choking hazard for a baby who's not able to chew well yet, and so cottage cheese is a great cheese to start with. Offer your baby cottage cheese made with whole milk; it's important that she get the full-fat version of all dairy foods she eats. If she balks at the texture, puree it down a bit.

Other ways to help your baby acquire a taste for cottage cheese:

  • Mash it up with banana or avocado.
  • Mix it with finely diced fruit.
  • Spice it up with a pinch of pepper, garlic powder, or onion powder. This is a great way to begin introducing fuller flavors. T
  • Blend it with mashed lentils or beans.

Tips for Serving Cheese to Your Baby

Babies also can handle shredded mild-tasting cheeses such as Colby and American. If your budding gourmand seems to enjoy these types of cheeses, introduce her to others that are stronger, such as Parmesan or Romano. Some delicious ways to do that (that you may enjoy too):

  • Melted over warm veggies or on small pieces of bread or toast.
  • In a quesadilla cut up into appropriate portions.
  • Mixed into scrambled eggs. 
  • Grated over pasta.

Do steer clear of soft cheeses, though. Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, blue cheese and so forth typically aren't considered safe for babies. They aren't cultured or pasteurized and they're made from raw milk and so may contain bacteria.

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Article Sources
  • Greer FR, Sicherer SH, Burks AW. "Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease in Infants and Children: The Role of Maternal Dietary Restriction, Breastfeeding, Timing of Introduction of Complementary Foods, and Hydrolyzed Formulas." Pediatrics. 2008 Jan;121(1):183-91.