Is cottage cheese good for your baby, and do they even need it? When our children are old enough to start solid foods, we often wonder what is safe to give them.
When it is time for lunch, we scramble through our pantries and fridges trying to find something that our baby will enjoy, that will be healthy and that will be safe. So what about cottage cheese?
Whether or not you can give your baby cottage cheese does not have a simple answer. In fact, whether or not you can give your baby cottage cheese has this answer: it depends. That is right, it all depends on where you live and what cottage cheese products are available to you.
Can I Give My Baby Cottage Cheese? Answer: Pasteurized Only
For the most part, cheese is a healthy food to give your baby. It has great vitamins and nutrients, and its soft texture makes it easy for babies to chew. This is because most of the cheese our babies are consuming are in the form of grilled cheese or commercial shredded cheese sprinkled over vegetables. These cheese are safe because they have been pasteurized and processed, and they are perfectly safe for anyone to consume.
Cottage cheese, on the other hand, has the possibility of not being pasteurized. In some parts of the world, cottage cheese is not pasteurized and contains bacteria known as listeria. Listeria is very unhealthy for pregnant women or babies to consume. Unpasteurized cheese is known as “soft” cheeses, and these need to be avoided by babies until after their first birthday. Soft cheeses include Feta and Bleu, amongst others.
Check for Pasteurization
In most parts of the world, commercial cottage cheese has been pasteurized. But since there are some parts of the world that do not pasteurize their cottage cheese, you need to carefully read the labels of your cottage cheese before feeding it to your baby. If it has been pasteurized, it is perfectly safe. If it has not been pasteurized, you need to avoid feeding it to your baby until after his or her first birthday.
Once you have found a pasteurized cottage cheese, it is a great food to add to your baby’s diet. The not-too-intense flavor will be perfect for your child’s developing taste buds, and its soft textures will be great on his or her developing digestive system.
Cottage cheese is also a great food because it is easy to serve. Simply put some on your child’s tray and watch as they enjoy eating it, as well as playing with it. If your child is old enough to start using utensils, cottage cheese is a great food to toss in a bowl and have your child scoop out with a spoon. Its soft consistency is easy for them to spoon through, yet thick enough to stick to the spoon and not easily fall off on its way from bowl to mouth.
How to First Feed It To Your Baby
When first introducing cottage cheese to your little one, it is always best to either serve it alone or with another food your child has already enjoyed. It is always best to wait three days in between feeding your child new foods. This way, if your child does have an allergic reaction, you will know which food caused it.
Cottage cheese is considered a dairy product. If you know that your child has any lactose or dairy issues, it is best to avoid introducing cottage cheese into their diet until after your child’s second birthday. At this age, your child’s digestive system may have fully developed and may be able to take dairy foods. If your child has any dairy intolerances, you need to consult with your child’s doctor first before introducing cottage cheese.
Reminders and Tips
Remember, before your child can have cottage cheese, you need to check the cottage cheese label and learn if it has been pasteurized or not. Unpasteurized cottage cheese is not safe for any babies under one year of age because it can contain bacteria known as listeria. This bacteria is very harmful to your baby’s health. Once you have found an pasteruized cottage cheese, it is a great addition to any meal or served alone as a snack.
As always, if you have any questions about cottage cheese, certain brands to use and certain ones to avoid, and how to start introducing cottage cheese to your baby’s diet, it is always best to consult your child’s doctor. He or she will be able to discuss your concerns and answer your questions in more thorough detail.