When can babies eat goat cheese?
Goat cheese may be introduced as soon as your baby is ready for solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.
Background and origins of goat cheese
When you think of goat cheese, you might picture the white, soft, tangy cheese that is also called chèvre, a French word for the animal whose milk is used to make it. In fact, this style of fresh goat cheese has many names: caprino, feta, gbejna, labneh, mató, queso fresco, and snøfrisk to name a few. That’s because it is popular in cultures around the world, and despite its many names, the cheese is made using the same basic cooking method: coagulate milk, separate solids (curds) from liquid (whey), and compress to form fresh young cheese.
Fresh goat cheese can also be aged to become harder and sharper. For the purposes of introducing goat cheese to your baby, the information here pertains to fresh creamy goat cheese that is sold as a log, as a wheel, or in a tub as a spread or as crumbles.
Is goat cheese healthy for babies?
Yes! Fresh goat cheese has lots of protein and healthy fats, as well as calcium, copper, iron, and vitamins A, B2, and B6—essential nutrients to power your baby’s growth. Goat cheese can also be an easier cheese to digest than cheese made from cow’s milk, thanks to a molecular make-up that’s easier on the body’s gastrointestinal system. Lastly, goat cheese is generally lower in sodium and therefore a better choice for babies to eat than many cheeses, which can be very high in sodium. (Early and excessive exposure to sodium is thought to play a role in hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.)1
When selecting goat cheese for your baby, look for a cheese that is:
- Low sodium (less than 100mg per serving)
- Whole fat
Once your child is 12 months old, you can try exploring a wider range of cheese while still keeping an eye on sodium levels.
Is goat cheese a common choking hazard for babies?
It can be. Most cheeses present a choking risk for babies and children under the age of five, and goat cheese’s stickiness can be challenging for babies to consume. To decrease the choking risk, thin goat cheese before serving by whipping it with a little bit of breast milk, formula, yogurt, or goat’s or cow’s milk.
Is goat cheese a common allergen?
Yes, milk allergy is the most common food allergy in infants and children.2 While milk allergy typically refers to cow’s milk, goat’s milk protein is similar to cow’s milk and may cause a reaction.3 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.4 5
If you have a family history of allergies, or suspect your baby may be allergic to milk, consult an allergist before introducing goat cheese. Otherwise, as with all new foods, introduce goat cheese in scant amounts the first couple of times and watch closely as your baby eats. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the quantity over future servings.
How do you prepare goat cheese for babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline. The preparation suggestions below are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional, nutritionist or dietitian, or expert in pediatric feeding and eating. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: Spread goat cheese thinly on thin rice cakes, toast, or baby crackers/teething rusks. To make the cheese more spreadable, simply mix it with a little bit of water, breast milk, formula, yogurt, or small amount of milk with a fork until smooth. Goat cheese may also be mixed into other foods and mashes as desired.
9 to 12 months old: This is a great age to introduce goat cheese crumbles as around this age babies develop a pincer grasp (where the thumb and pointer finger meet), enabling them to pick up small pieces of food. You can, of course, continue to spread goat cheese on thin rice cakes, toast or teething rusks and add it to other dishes as you like.
12 to 24 months old: Anything goes! Serve goat cheese on its own in sections or crumbles and use goat cheese liberally in your recipes.
For more information on how to cut food for babies, visit our page on Food Sizes & Shapes.
Recipe: Whipped Goat Cheese & Cauliflower
- Goat cheese
- Avocado oil, flaxseed oil, or extra virgin olive oil
- Use a sharp knife to break down 1 small head of cauliflower into florets. Steam until soft and let cool to room temperature.
- Place 4 ounces of goat cheese in a mixing bowl, a food processor, or a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Add a generous pour of avocado, flaxseed, or olive oil. Whisk until smooth. If the mixture is too sticky, add more oil or a splash of water.
- Add a dollop of whipped cheese to a bowl that suctions to the table, and place a few florets on top. Encourage your baby to eat with their hands. Make a dish for yourself to eat alongside your baby and don’t be afraid to eat with your own fingers to model.
Goat cheese is creamy, tangy, and tart—a nice balance to sweet foods like beets, butternut squash, strawberry, watermelon, zucchini, and other fruits and veggies. Its earthiness also pairs well with hearty foods like beef, chicken, mushrooms, and pistachios. Goat cheese tastes great on its own, but it also lends itself well to flavor boosters: try mixing with fresh herbs like chives or tarragon, or with spices like coriander or paprika.
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2019. Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25353
- Food Allergy Research & Education. Milk Allergy. Retrieved April 20, 2020
- Food Allergy Research & Education. Milk Allergy. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
- GiKids – Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy. (2020, February 26). GiKids. https://gikids.org/digestive-topics/cows-milk-protein-allergy/
- Wood, R. A., Sicherer, S. H., Vickery, B. P., Jones, S. M., Liu, A. H., Fleischer, D. M., Henning, A. K., Mayer, L., Burks, A. W., Grishin, A., Stablein, D., & Sampson, H. A. (2013). The natural history of milk allergy in an observational cohort. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 131(3), 805-812.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2012.10.060