Many babies can have cheese as soon as they’re used to chewing or gumming different types of foods, normally around 6 to 9 months. To prevent choking, slice the cheese into tiny pieces the size of your baby’s fingertip.
But if your baby has chronic eczema or a food allergy, talk to the doctor first before offering your baby cheese. Cheese isn’t one of the top allergenic foods, but it can still cause allergic reactions because it contains milk protein.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Allergy and Immunology states that many children can start eating cheese after a few standard solid foods (such as baby cereal, pureed meat, vegetables, and fruits) have been introduced without an allergy. Even children with mild eczema or a household history of food allergic reactions or asthma can eat cheese and yogurt as long as they endure more common foods first.
When presenting an allergenic food, the AAP recommends offering it to your baby at home, instead of at daycare or a dining establishment. And similar to any new food, serve it for at least three to 5 days prior to offering something else. That method you can monitor for a response and know what’s likely triggering it.
Some children should not start eating cheese till the doctor has actually given the green light. Speak with the doctor if your baby:
- Has moderate to severe eczema after following a doctor’s skin treatment strategy
- Has had an immediate allergic reaction to a food in the past
- Was formerly detected with a food allergic reaction
Signs of a food allergic reaction are facial swelling (consisting of the tongue and lips), skin rash, wheezing, abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your baby reveals any of these signs– mild or severe– or has trouble breathing right after eating a new food, call 911 or your local emergency number instantly.
When selecting cheese for your child– whether it’s made from cow, sheep, or goat’s milk– make sure it’s pasteurized. (It will say so on the product label.) Cheese made with unpasteurized (or raw) milk is off-limits to children because it could be polluted with listeria monocytogenes, a type of bacteria that can cause fatal foodborne disease, specifically in babies.
Don’t worry about lactose intolerance. There isn’t really quite lactose in cheese and babies usually don’t have problem absorbing it.
Plain Greek yogurt is great too (and the more live cultures, the much better for your baby’s stomach).
Serve yogurt as is or mix in a preferred fruit– either fresh fruit that you’ve pureed or sliced up yourself or baby food fruit that’s devoid of sugar and other additives, according to iytmed.org.
What you should to avoid?
- Do not make yogurt the highlight of your baby’s diet in the first year. It needs to be just one small part of a different diet of solids.
- Don’t sweeten yogurt with honey for a baby below 12 months. Honey consists of bacteria that can cause botulism in children that age.
- Don’t offer reduced-fat or fat-free yogurt before age 2 unless your doctor advises it. Babies need the calories from fat.
- Don’t serve flavored yogurt to your baby. Buy plain yogurt and add to fruit at home if you like. Almost all industrial yogurt is sweetened with sugar or another sweetener. Inspect the label: Even “fruit” yogurt usually includes added to sweetener, as does yogurt spiked with vanilla and other flavorings. If there’s sweetener in it, leave it on the shelf.
Why yogurt and not cow’s milk?
You may wonder why eating yogurt is okay for babies, however drinking cow’s milk isn’t really suggested up until your baby is at least 12 months old. Bear in mind that when your baby begins eating solid food– normally around 4 to 6 months– breast milk or formula still comprises most of his diet. Solids gradually end up being a larger part of it during the rest of that first year.
Also, infants have the tendency to eat small amounts of yogurt. (Unlike milk, it’s a food, not a drink!) However if you offer cow’s milk, your baby might easily gulp down a fair bit of it, and excessive calcium from cow’s milk might slow down iron absorption. In contrast, it’s very not likely your baby could eat enough yogurt to make him iron deficient.
And here’s another problem: Cow’s milk is not nutritionally equivalent to breast milk or formula. So, you do not want your baby drinking cow’s milk in the first year, when he needs the nutrition of mother’s milk or formula.