Introducing Cheese to Babies

INTRODUCING CHEESE TO BABIES

Cheese not only tastes great but is also nutritious and loaded with essentials such as proteins, calories, vitamin A, D and B12. As your baby grows older, you can’t wait to add cheese to their food for all the extra taste and nutrition. Continue reading for all you need to know about introducing your baby to cheese.

When can a Baby Eat Cheese?

Most babies can be offered cheese as soon as they start chewing or gumming different foods. This usually starts around 6 to 9 months. Depending on where you are in the world, experts differ in opinion on when is a good time to start feeding cheese to babies. Some suggest waiting for at least 8 months and some say it should at least be a year.

The hesitation is due to the fact that cheese is a dairy product and milk proteins in them are known to cause stomach upsets in babies younger than a year old. However, some argue that milk proteins break down as the cheese matures and don’t cause any problems. On the other hand, some babies could be allergic to milk and dairy products. Therefore, such children should only be given cheese when their paediatricians give a green light to it.

Health Benefits of Cheese for Babies

Cheese is delicious along with being easy to incorporate into a wide variety of foods. Not only will your baby eat without much fuss, but they’ll also get plenty of health benefits from cheese. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Cheese is rich in calcium. It is needed for the development of strong teeth and bones.
  2. Cheese is rich in protein needed for building the body and nutrients such as Vitamin D.
  3. Vegetarian families benefit greatly from cheese as it is rich in Vitamin B12 and protein which are otherwise abundantly found in meat.
  4. Cheese is loaded with calories that will keep your baby supplied with all the energy they need throughout the day.
  5. If the baby has trouble gaining weight and has special nutrient needs, cheese is a perfect addition to the diet.
  6. Cheese is good for the teeth and is known to prevent tooth decay.
  7. Babies with milk allergy are known to outgrow their allergies faster when baked cheese is introduced into their diet.

List of Safe and Unsafe Cheeses for Infants

There are many different varieties to choose from when you’re looking for best cheese for baby. However, not all cheeses are suitable for babies; especially, those made from unpasteurized milk must be avoided at all costs.

  1. Safe Cheeses for Infants 

Women have to be extra careful when choosing dairy products such as cheese as it carries with it a risk of Listeria infection – a food borne bacterial infection that can be fatal to babies. Therefore it is advisable to only consume cheese made out of pasteurised milk.

For those wondering what kind of cheese can a baby eat, here is a list:

  • Cheddar
  • Edam
  • Parmesan
  • Colby
  • Colby jack
  • Mozarella
  • Swiss
  • Romano
  • Monetary jack
  • Paneer
  • Babybel
  • Red Leicester
  • Provolone
  • Jarlsberg
  • Cheshire
  • Lancashire
  • Gouda
  • Grana Padano

TYPES OF CHEESE

Here is a list of soft cheese for babies which most people avoid. However, they are perfectly okay for babies to have:

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Mascarpone
  • Ricotta
  • Cream Cheese
  • Cheese spreads that are made out of real cheese.

2. Cheeses that can be Preferred to be Avoided for Minimum One Year 

Here is a list of cheeses you should avoid for the first year as they are often made out of raw/ unpasteurized milk:

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

3. Avoid Processed Cheese 

Processed cheese is not entirely cheese. Although they may look and taste like cheese, they are usually loaded with chemicals. They are manufactured based on a real cheese but with flavour enhancers and preservatives to make them last longer. Therefore try not to buy any off the shelf processed cheese to feed your baby; those chemicals are unsuitable for them. Look for natural cheeses in organic stores that use all natural ingredients.

How To Introduce Cheese To Babies?

When you decide to introduce cheese to your baby, there are a few good ways to go about it. Remember to start with only with those cheeses that have a mild taste. Harsh or spicier cheeses might taste repulsive and make them dislike it immediately. Here are a few methods to start with:

  1. Melt cheese 

Melt cheese over a bit of bread or crackers to feed them as a snack.

2. Cut Cheese into Bits 

Give them tiny bits of cheese small enough for them to pick up. Make sure the bits are smaller than their finger nails to avoid choking.

3. Mix with Vegetables 

Melt some cheese over diced vegetables and wait for them to dry. Let them be in small bits easy enough to pick up.

4. With Eggs 

Addle a little to scrambled eggs while preparing it.

5. With Pastas 

Cream cheese for baby can be started with pasta. They spread well and taste great.

Precautions To Take While Feeding Cheese To Babies

Like with any other new food that you introduce them to, cheese also carries a risk of allergy. Check out these precautions before you start:

  1. Observe Carefully 

An allergic reaction can start as early as 20 minutes or within the first few hours. Look for symptoms such as swollen lips, redness in the eyes and face and rashes on the skin; these are indicators of an allergic reaction. If your baby is lactose intolerant, you might see gas, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

2. Consult the Pediatrician 

If your baby is known to have allergies to dairy products or has eczema or asthma, talk to the pediatrician about feeding cheese and only do it under their supervision.

3. Try Different Cheeses 

You baby might develop a taste for one cheese and dislike many others. Therefore, if they don’t like any that you’re giving them, all is not lost. Keep trying different varieties of cheese.

Delicious Cheese Recipes for Babies

The best thing about cheese is how easily they can be incorporated into many of the foods that you prepare. Here are three great ideas for some delicious cheese recipes for babies:

  1. Cheese Omelette 

Eggs and cheese are a yummy combination. To up its nutrient quotient, add minced vegetables that your baby can easily swallow and digest.

What you will need:

  • One Egg
  • One teaspoon of milk or water
  • One tablespoon of shredded cheese
  • One teaspoon butter or oil

CHEESE OMELETTE

How to make:

  • Whisk the milk and egg together in a bowl
  • Set the pan to medium heat and melt the butter on it. Once it stops bubbling, pour the egg mixture into it
  • Spread the mixture evenly over the pan
  • Let it cook until the mixture holds together into an omelet
  • Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the omelet and fold it in half
  • Cook for another 30 seconds
  • Cut it into bite sized bits and serve

2. Cheese Rice

If you have already introduced your baby to rice, it’s time to make it tastier.

What you will need:

  • Two table spoon baby rice
  • 2 carrots
  • 100 gram cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon grated cheddar cheese

How to make:

  • Get the vegetables ready. Wash, peel and slice them.
  • Boil the vegetables together until they are tender.
  • Save the water after you strain the vegetables. You’ll need about 60 ml of it to blend the vegetables together.
  • Pour the baby rice into it along with the cheese and cook.
  • Stir the mixture until the cheese melts.
  • Serve warm.

3. Cheesy Pasta

Pasta is delicious, thrown in a bit of cheese and your baby will love it.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of cooked pasta
  • Half a cup of chopped soft cooked carrots or in pureed form
  • Grated cheese that your baby likes

How to make:

  • Mix the chopped carrots with pasta.
  • Sprinkle grated cheese on top.
  • Serve warm.

Cheese is a great addition to your baby’s food. Experiment with different types to figure out what they like.

Also read: 1 Year Old Baby Food Ideas