image001Cheese not only tastes great – for adults and for babies alike – but it is very good for you. It is loaded with protein and vitamins A, D, and B12. But even more than these, it offers a big boost of calcium with every bite. Cheese is rich in calories, which means it is great for growing bodies. In fact, cheese is a great food to incorporate into anyone’s diet – even vegetarians can enjoy it since it provides the vitamin B12 that is usually found in meats.

Parents are understandably eager to provide their babies with cheese at their meals. But there are certain cheeses that are okay for babies, and some that are not. When can babies eat cheese? Here are some of the basics.

When Can Babies Eat Cheese?

The answer to the question when can babies eat cheese depends greatly upon where in the world you are. In the United States, many doctors recommend that parents wait for at least eight months before introducing cheese, but many experts say the baby should be one year old or more. In the UK, cheese is often given at the six-month point, assuming the child can tolerate more solid foods at that point.

Much of the reason for the hesitation lies in the fact that cheese is a dairy product. Many experts say that the proteins in dairy products are not good for babies and can cause stomach upset. However, the milk protein in cheese breaks down as the cheese matures, and it doesn’t cause many problems for those who are lactose-sensitive or lactose-intolerant. Just like yogurt, cheese is one of those dairy products that most babies will be able to tolerate.

On the other hand, if food allergies run in your family, your baby might be more likely to be allergic to cheese. An allergy to dairy products in the parents or siblings might mean that your baby won’t be able to tolerate cheese at all. Cheese might also act as a “trigger food” for some conditions, such as asthma or eczema. It means that when you give your baby cheese, it might make those conditions worse.

What Are the Safe and Unsafe Cheeses for Babies?

When it comes to cheese, there are so many kinds that it can be tough to choose which one you want. Some cheeses are considered safe for babies, but some should be avoided.

1. The Safe Cheeses for Babies

When a woman is pregnant, she should avoid certain cheeses that may contain listeria, which is a food borne poison. Women are cautioned not to eat unpasteurized soft cheeses, but those that are made with pasteurized milk are considered safe for expectant mothers. The same goes for babies. When choosing the right cheese to give your baby, look for those that are okay for expectant mothers – those that are made of pasteurized milk. The following cheeses typically fall into that category:

  • Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Edam
  • Colby
  • Colby Jack
  • Swiss
  • Mozzarella
  • Monterey Jack
  • Romano
  • Babybel
  • Paneer
  • Provolone
  • Red Leicester
  • Cheshire
  • Jarlsberg
  • Gouda
  • Lancashire
  • Double Gloucester
  • Grana Padano

The following are cheeses that many people believe should be avoided because they are “softer” cheeses. However, these are perfectly okay for babies to have:

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Mascarpone
  • Cream cheese
  • Cheese spread (only those made from real cheese)

Of course, any cheese that you might want to give your baby should have a mild taste, as harsher or spicier tastes might turn your baby off to cheese immediately. However, feel free to give any of these cheeses a try – you never know what your baby might enjoy most!

You can watch this video and learn more about how to cook baby food--homemade ricotta cheese:

2. Cheeses You May Prefer to Avoid for at Least the First Year

Avoid these cheeses for the first year, because they are often made of unpasteurized milk:

  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Chevre
  • Queso Blanco
  • Queso Fresco
  • Danish Blue
  • Stilton
  • Saga
  • Gorgonzola
  • Roquefort
  • Wensleydale

3. Avoid Processed Cheese

Processed cheese is not truly cheese. Although they might look like cheese and taste like cheese, processed cheeses are actually loaded with chemicals. They are created based on real cheeses, but then they are mixed with flavor enhancers, colors, shelf stabilizers to make them last much longer, and all sorts of other chemicals, most of which can’t be pronounced by the average person. These are not the kind of things you want to give to your child, especially when they are growing! When you choose cheese for your babies, make sure it is a natural cheese, made from the best ingredients.

How to Introduce Cheese to Babies

When you are ready to give your baby cheese, there are a few ways you can make the process easier, as well as save money. Here are a few examples:



Cut cheese into pieces

Offer your baby small bits of cheese that they can pick up with their fingers and feed themselves.

Melt cheese

Melt cheese on a bit of bread or crackers.

Mix with veggies

Get those veggies in! Melt cheese over veggies and let it cool enough that your baby can pick it up with their fingers.

In a quesadilla

Put gooey cheese in a quesadilla and cut it up into bite-size bits.

Mix with eggs

Add a bit of melted cheese to scrambled eggs.

Over pastas

Remember to grate cheese over pastas.

Precautions to Take When Introducing Cheese to Babies

Just as with any new food, your baby might have an allergic reaction to cheese. Take these points into account when you introduce cheese to your child.



Watch carefully

If your baby is going to have a reaction, it will likely be within the first few hours after eating cheese. They might vomit, have diarrhea or break out in a rash. Those who have problems with lactose might have stomach cramps, gas and diarrhea. If these signs show up, it could mean that your baby is sensitive to dairy products.

Talk to a pediatrician

If your baby has eczema, asthma, or intolerance for most dairy products, give cheese only under the supervision of a doctor.

Try it a few times

Your baby might decide that he hates cheddar cheese, but might fall in love with ricotta. Just because one cheese is rejected doesn’t mean that all is lost! Try various flavors and see what your child prefers.