Asiago cheese is best introduced after baby’s first birthday due to its sodium levels, though a small sprinkle of pasteurized asiago cheese before then is fine. If you are able to find pasteurized asiago cheese with lower sodium levels (ideally under 100 mg of sodium per serving), you can go ahead and share with baby as early as 6 months of age.
In general, the best cheeses for babies younger than 12 months old are pasteurized and low in sodium, including emmentaler cheese, fresh goat cheese, labneh, mascarpone cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese, paneer, fresh ricotta cheese, and swiss cheese.
One of Italy’s oldest cheeses, asiago originated in the foothills of the Italian Alps in a town of the same name. That cheese likely tasted quite different from the asiago of today, in part because it used to be made from sheep’s milk. Today, asiago is generally made from cow’s milk and its production is regulated by Protected Designation of Origin, a European law that requires asiago be made from the milk of cows in certain alpine provinces in Italy. Asiago comes in two forms: asiago fresco (fresh asiago) and asiago d’allevo (aged asiago). Made with whole milk, asiago fresco or asiago pressato is aged for under two months. It is much soft and sweeter than the widely available aged asiago, which is made with skimmed milk.
Juliet Rose, 14 months, eats shredded asiago.
Leila, 18 months, eats shredded asiago on egg noodles.
Oliver, 20 months, eats shredded asiago with pesto pasta and doesn't love it.
No. Asiago tends to be high in sodium, which should be limited in infant diets. That said, a small sprinkle of pasteurized asiago is fine. Asiago cheese can be made from unpasteurized (raw) milk. Generally, unpasteurized cheeses carry a higher risk of foodborne illness, but those aged for more than 60 days—like most asiago—pose a lower risk. Read our cheese page for more information and consider the risk in the context of your individual child.
Nutritionally, asiago cheese contains plenty of healthy fats to support cell structure, plus protein to help baby’s body create new cells. Asiago is also rich in calcium to build strong bones, vitamin B12 for brain development and healthy blood, plus selenium and zinc.
Yes, it can be. Cheese is a common choking hazard for babies and children. To reduce the risk, slice very thinly or grate the cheese and avoid serving in cubes or large crumbles. As always, make sure you create a safe eating environment and stay within arm’s reach of baby during meals. For more information on choking, visit our section on gagging and choking and familiarize yourself with the list of common choking hazards.
Yes. Asiago cheese is made from cow’s milk, and cow’s milk is a common food allergen in young children, accounting for about one-fifth of all childhood food allergies in the United States. Keep in mind that some asiago cheese may be made from sheep’s milk and dairy products from other ruminants such as sheep, goat, and buffalo may provoke similar allergic reactions to cow’s milk dairy products. That said, there’s good news: milk allergy often disappears with time. Research shows that the majority of children with cow's milk allergy will outgrow it by age 6 and many babies with milder symptoms of milk protein allergy (which can show up as painless blood in stool) are able to successfully reintroduce cow's milk as early as their first birthday, with the guidance of their doctors. Note: Aged cheeses generally contain histamines, which may cause rashes in children who are sensitive to them.
Milk is a known trigger of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, also known as FPIES. FPIES is a delayed allergy to food protein which causes the sudden onset of repetitive vomiting and diarrhea to begin a few hours after ingestion. Left untreated, the reaction can result in significant dehydration. Thankfully, like other forms of milk allergy, FPIES which presents early in life is generally outgrown by the time the child has reached 3-5 years of age. While the exact rates of FPIES are unknown, it is believed to be an uncommon condition (although better recognition of the disease has led to increased reporting in recent years).
Although it is not an allergy, lactose intolerance can result in gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea, after ingestion of dairy items containing lactose. For those with older children who are lactose intolerant (keep in mind this is uncommon for infants and toddlers), some good news: compared with milk and certain other dairy products, many cheeses may be better tolerated by those with lactose intolerance, particularly aged cheeses, which have lower lactose content. Note that if your child is lactose-intolerant, it’s important to find calcium-rich foods to consume regularly to ensure a balanced diet and support bone health. Search for naturally low-lactose cheeses and dairy products labeled “lactose-free.”
If you suspect baby may be allergic to milk, consult an allergist before introducing dairy products like cheese. Based on baby’s risk factors and history, your allergist may recommend allergy testing, or may instead advise dairy introduction under medical supervision in the office. If the risk is low, you may be advised to go ahead and introduce dairy in the home setting. As with all common allergens, start by serving a small quantity on its own for the first few servings, and if there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future meals.
Recommended Guide: Introducing Allergens
No. Aged cheeses like asiago are fermented and naturally contain certain beneficial bacteria, which may have a positive influence on the microbiome, and therefore on digestion, but more research is needed. Note that pooping patterns can vary significantly from child to child. Be sure to talk to your pediatric healthcare provider if you have concerns about baby’s pooping and digestive function.
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience.
Avoid due to sodium levels. Unless you have access to pasteurized asiago cheese that has less than 100 mg of sodium per serving (like a pinch of grated asiago), it’s best to avoid asiago until baby’s first birthday. When serving cheese regularly, focus on cheeses that are lower in sodium, such as emmentaler, fresh goat cheese, labneh, mascarpone cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese, paneer, fresh ricotta cheese, and swiss cheese.
Offer thin slices of fresh, pasteurized asiago or grate atop foods as desired. Avoid serving cheese in cube shapes, as these present a high choking risk.
Continue to serve fresh asiago in thin slices or melted atop other foods. Offer small amounts of grated or finely shredded aged asiago, either on its own or as part of a meal. You can also serve aged asiago in small, bite-sized pieces cut from a thin slice of cheese. Avoid serving cheese in cube shapes, as these present a high choking risk.
Read our Sodium and Babies FAQ page to learn more about how much salt babies should have.
Asiago Cheese - Parmesan cheese works, too. If you’re sharing with babies under 12 months of age, consider reducing the amount of asiago to minimize sodium.
Preheat oven to 400 F (204 C).
Peel and cut the potatoes into wedges about the size of two adult fingers pressed together.
Coat the wedges with oil and spices. It’s okay to modify that amount to suite your tastes or substitute any spices that you want the child to learn to love.
Evenly space the wedges on a sheet tray then sprinkle half of the grated cheese on top.
Roast the wedges for 10 minutes. Flip the wedges and sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese on top. Continue to roast for 10 minutes more. They are ready when a knife easily inserts into the thickest part of a wedge.
Serve the Potato Wedges
Offer sweet potato wedges and let the child self-feed.
If help is needed, hold a sweet potato wedge in the air and let the child grab it from you.
Eat sweet potato wedges alongside your child to model how it’s done.
To Store: Cheesy sweet potato wedges keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Pediatrician & pediatric gastroenterologist
Pediatrician & pediatric allergist/immunologist
Pediatric occupational therapist, feeding & swallowing specialist, international board-certified lactation consultant
Speech-language pathologist, feeding & swallowing specialist
Registered dietitian and public health/clinical nutritionist
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