Can Babies Eat Cream Cheese? When?

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Famous for its thick texture and creamy taste, many parents wonder if they can feed their babies cream cheese. Also, when is too early? So let’s talk about it!

As it is pasteurized, babies can eat full-fat cream cheese when they are at least six months old. It is an excellent source of vitamins, calcium, and protein to help them grow.

Want to know more about different varieties of cream cheese and popular brands? Read on to learn about feeding it to your baby.

Is Cream Cheese Safe for Babies?

Overall, babies can consume cream cheese when they are at least six months of age (source: National Health Service). At this age, babies can consume thicker-consistency purees (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

In fact, full-fat cream cheese is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and other vitamins that are beneficial to your baby’s healthy growth and development. 

It is important to note that the cream cheese (or any cheese or dairy product) needs to be pasteurized in order for it to be safe for your baby (source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).

Pasteurization is the process of heating a food product to kill any potential bacteria that may cause a foodborne illness. While commercially made cream cheeses you find at most grocery stores are pasteurized, avoid any varieties that may be made with raw milk. 

While cream cheese, in general, is safe for babies at least six months old, the variations in textures (such as whipped or with pieces of food) do make a difference in the appropriate age your baby can consume it. Let’s discuss this in table form (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

Age (in Months)Can Your Baby Eat Cream Cheese?
4 to 6 monthsNo, cannot eat cream cheese
6 to 9 monthsYes, can have smooth cream cheese that has no chunks or pieces
10 to 12 monthsYes, can have more textured cream cheese, such as flavored varieties

At six months old, your baby can have varieties that do not contain chewable chunks of solid food (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

However, 10 to 12-month-old babies can have flavored cream cheeses with pieces and chunks, such as strawberry, garlic and chive, butter pecan, and more. Avoid any flavors like jalapeño (source: Cleveland Clinic). Also, you may want to avoid some with cold smoked fish like salmon due to the small risk of listeria or other bacterial contamination.

Furthermore, some brands of cream cheese offer different types and consistencies that have different implications for your baby.

Let’s use the popular U.S. brand, Philadelphia, as an example. They offer light, half-fat, or cream cheeses with a third of the fat. However, stick with the full-fat version as your baby needs the fat content to grow. 

Additionally, Philadelphia offers whipped and soft varieties of cream cheese. Since your baby can handle thicker-consistency pureed textures at six to nine months old, it is safe to give them small amounts of whipped cream cheese as well. In the eight to 12-month age range, a serving size of cheese for your baby is half an ounce (source: Cleveland Clinic). 

Additionally, feed your baby one flavor at a time and for a couple of consecutive tries to rule out any food allergies. 

Can Babies Eat Cream Cheese Frosting?

cream cheese frosting on cupcakes

Yes, babies can eat cream cheese frosting when they are at least six months old. However, there may be some health considerations because of the sugar content. So let’s dive into it!

A regular cream cheese frosting typically contains cream cheese (of course!), sugar, butter, and perhaps some vanilla extract. However, it is best to opt for an alcohol-free vanilla flavoring or vanilla bean if you are making it for your baby at home. 

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind the sugar content. While regular cream cheese just has a small amount of sugar, cream cheese frosting has much more added sugar, often in the form of confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar.

Avoid giving your baby too much sugar as it can contribute to excessive and unhealthy weight gain. 

Therefore, while safe, it is best to avoid feeding your baby cream cheese frosting and offer regular cream cheese instead.

If you do feed your baby cream cheese frosting, homemade is best because you can control exactly how much added sugar it contains. 

In conclusion, I hope this article helped unpack the safety of cream cheese for your baby, the implications of the different flavors and varieties, and at what age your baby can safely consume it.