Learn how to serve cheese to baby, which varieties are easiest to eat, and which options are considered low-sodium. I give tips for offering cheese for baby-led weaning and as a Stage 3 finger food for babies around 9 months and up.

cheeses for baby on purple plate

Cheese for Baby

Cheese is an accessible, nutritious food that’s easy to serve to kids from an early age with a few small tweaks to make sure it’s easy to chew and swallow. There is so much variety in the flavor, texture, and consistency of cheeses, which means there are always new options to try.

You can start offering cheese soon after a baby starts solids, or around 6 months, as long as it’s prepared in a way that’s easy for them to ingest.

Generally, you want to start with very soft cheese that is similar in texture to thick baby foods, such as ricotta, blended cottage cheese, or farmer’s cheese. You can spread creamy goat cheese onto toast sticks or offer it on a spoon.

Then, once a baby is ready for baby finger foods, you can do soft goat or feta cheese crumbles and soft shredded cheeses like mozzarella and cheddar. Then you can move on to little pieces of cheese or cheese slices.

The main thing to keep in mind with cheese is that you want to avoid any that are hard or in large chunks, both of which could be a choking hazard.

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baby hand eating cheese

Which cheese Is good for babies?

Soft cheeses including ricotta, farmer’s cheese, goat cheese, cottage cheese, and soft shredded cheeses are great choices for baby starting around 6 months and beyond.

How do I give cheese to babies?

You can offer baby very soft cheeses spread on toast sticks about the same size as your finger, or from a baby spoon. As they get older, you can offer goat cheese crumbles and shredded cheeses. Then progress to small pieces of diced cheese, slices of cheese, and cheese sticks.

Do I need to worry about sodium in cheese?

Salt helps hold moisture in cheese and prevents bacteria growth, so many cheeses are high in sodium—typically around 300-450 mg per serving. That doesn’t mean that we can’t offer cheese to kids, but you may want to consider how much you serve it compared to lower-sodium foods and simply serve it less often.

Some cheeses like goat cheese, whole-milk mozzarella, and Swiss cheese are lower in sodium with about 50-100 mg per serving. Goat cheese and mozzarella are nice, soft options for baby, so they’re great choices.

Learn more about babies and salt.

goat cheese crumbles for baby

Cheese for Baby: 6 Months

For a baby who’s 6 months old or older, you can offer very soft cheeses like ricotta, cream cheese, farmer’s cheese, or very soft goat cheese from a baby spoon. Or you can spread it on a lightly toasted piece of bread to for baby-led weaning style foods.

shredded cheese for baby

Cheese for Baby: 9 Months

Once a baby is 9 months old, or is able to pick up smaller pieces of food with their fingers, you can offer soft goat cheese crumbles or soft shredded cheeses like mozzarella. These are usually a great early baby finger food option and Stage 3 baby food.

sliced mozzarella cheese for baby

Cheese for Baby-Led Weaning

To offer cheese to a baby being fed with the baby-led weaning feeding method of starting solids, you can spread a very soft cheese onto a finger-size piece of bread. Or mash it onto a spoon and let baby feed themselves.

(Some people do offer baby a larger piece of cheese, like a cheese slice, though I find those pieces to be a little challenging for most babies to manage at an early age. And it can be wasteful if they only eat a little of that big slice.)

sliced cheddar cheese for baby

Best Cheese for Baby Finger Foods

Once a baby is around 9 months old, you can offer small pieces of soft cheese crumbles or shredded cheeses.

Over about 12 months old, you can do very small diced cheese. Be sure to cut it small, so it’s roughly the size of two peas or so, to avoid a choking hazard. Avoid using any very firm cheeses, as well.

When a baby is over about 16-18 months old, they may be able to start taking bites from a cheese stick. That may take some practice, so model how to take bites to help them learn how to not take a giant bite and get too much cheese in their mouth at once.

cutting up cheese stick for baby

Lower-Lactose Cheeses

According to Harvard, these cheese are lower in lactose and may be easier for some lactose-intolerant people to digest: “Firmer cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella, and Swiss cheese tend to be lower in lactose.” And they add that creamy cheeses—such as cottage cheese, ricotta, and cream cheese are higher in lactose and may be harder to digest if there’s an issue with lactose.

Baby-Friendly Recipes with Cheese

If you want to try cooking with cheese, these are some favorite recipes to share with babies and toddlers—especially in 1-year-old meals. Click the “get the recipe” button for more info on each idea.

Easy Cheesy Rice (with Veggies!)
This Cheesy Rice recipe has four options to add in veggies and has been a staple of my family's diet for a few years now. It's SO easy and versatile—and stores wonderfully in the fridge. And it's downright delish!
Easy Cheesy Rice (with Veggies!)
cheesy rice in bowl with hands and pink nails.
Easy Cheese Waffles
Mix up your usual waffles with this savory version of Cheese Waffles. It's an easy kids lunch that can also double as breakfast or dinner too! Try them plain or with a simple dip of salsa or warmed marinara or pizza sauce.
Easy Cheese Waffles
cheese waffles on gray plate
Easy Quinoa Patties (Favorite Quinoa Cakes)
These quick Quinoa Patties are a delicious way to serve quinoa to kids—and adults! Plan to make the quinoa ahead of time so these come together in minutes.
Easy Quinoa Patties (Favorite Quinoa Cakes)
quinoa patties on purple plate
Easy Cheese Crackers Recipe
Mix up this easy-to-work-with cracker dough, then let the kids help roll and cut their way to the yummiest homemade cheese crackers recipe. These crackers have whole grains and a delightfully crisp texture. So good!
Easy Cheese Crackers Recipe
Pizza Muffins (with Veggies!)
These work well to make ahead and warm up for an easy lunch or dinner. These taste best served warm.
Pizza Muffins (with Veggies!)
Easy Veggie Muffins
Serve up veggies in a kid-friendly form with these SO-good Veggie Muffins. They have broccoli, carrots, protein, and kid-approved flavor!
Easy Veggie Muffins
veggie muffins on gray towel
4-Ingredient Baked Chicken Meatballs
With just four simple and affordable ingredients, you can make tender Baked Chicken Meatballs to share with the kids. Bonus: You can tuck a veggie into the mix, and they are perfect to batch-cook and stash in the freezer!
4-Ingredient Baked Chicken Meatballs
baked chicken meatballs on cookie sheet.
Easy Spinach Grilled Cheese
You can also do this with full size spinach if that's what you're able to find. Just discard any stems before starting the recipe.
Easy Spinach Grilled Cheese
Creamy Pasta with Broccoli
Feel free to cut this recipe in half to make a smaller portion for your family. (Or make the full batch and enjoy the leftovers!)
Creamy Pasta with Broccoli
creamy broccoli pasta in white bowls.
Creamy Vanilla Cottage Cheese Dip
With a smooth and creamy texture and a nice amount of protein and fats to fuel little bodies, this cottage cheese blend is perfect for spreading or dipping.
Creamy Vanilla Cottage Cheese Dip
cottage cheese dip on plate with fruit and graham crackers
Peach Cottage Cheese Smoothie
This simple cottage cheese smoothie is easy to make and is super creamy without many ingredients. You can even share it with your kiddo! Be sure to blend it very well to ensure the creamiest texture.
Peach Cottage Cheese Smoothie
Cottage cheese smoothie in three cups.
Quick Cottage Cheese Pancakes
These Cottage Cheese Pancakes have just a few ingredients and are packed with nutrients. So yummy! Double the ingredients to make a larger batch to feed a family of four as this recipe is on the smaller side.
Quick Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Best Tips for Babies and Cheese

  • Start with very soft cheeses to avoid choking hazards.
  • Spread ricotta, cream cheese, or cottage cheese onto finger-size toast sticks or offer a pre-loaded spoon to a baby doing baby-led weaning.
  • Offer soft cheese crumbles or shredded cheese starting around 9 months as an early finger food.
  • Offer very small pieces of soft diced cheeses in the 12- to 14-month range.
  • Offer a whole cheese stick or slice, modeling how to take bites, in the 16- to 18-month range.
  • Choose lower-sodium cheeses like goat cheese and whole milk mozzarella if you are concerned about sodium intake.
  • You may also like Baked Apple Slices, Quinoa Baby Cereal, Apple Puree, Banana Puree, and Carrot Puree.

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