Is Goat Cheese Safe for Babies? Pasteurization and More

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Goat cheese is a popular cheese with a distinctive and tart flavor. This article will cover the safety and nutrition of this cheese for your baby.

Overall, goat cheese is safe for your baby if it is pasteurized to kill potential harmful bacteria. However, the texture of this cheese can vary, so ensure that it is served appropriately for your baby’s age.

We will discuss more information about goat cheese, including cooked goat cheese, nutritional considerations, how to prepare it for your baby, and more. 

Is Goat Cheese Safe for Babies? 

Goat cheese is safe food for babies as long as it is pasteurized (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).

Pasteurization is the process of heating up goat’s milk to extremely high temperatures to kill off any potential disease-causing bacteria, such as listeria. Therefore, whether the goat cheese is ripe or unripe, aged or fresh, ensure the packaging explicitly states that the cheese product is made from pasteurized goat milk.

pile of goat cheese on a wooden board

Most goat cheeses are soft cheeses, spreadable, and creamy. However, crumbly varieties also exist. For the soft goat cheese, as long as it is entirely smooth, it can safely be served to babies when they are at least six months old (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

Add in some breast milk or infant formula to make the cheese a thinner and more watery consistency. Then, your baby can progress to a thicker consistency puree.

For crumbled goat cheese, either puree it with some breast milk or infant formula to make a smooth liquid puree or wait until your baby is at least ten months old to introduce the cheese crumbles. 

Finally, at ten months old, your baby can have soft pieces of goat cheese or small crumbles that are bite-sized and easy to chew. These small pieces can be good for baby-led weaning because your baby can pick up the pieces and bring them to the mouth. 

Let’s summarize this information in the table below (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). 

Age in MonthsCan Your Baby Have Goat Cheese?
6Yes, thin consistency puree
7Yes, thicker consistency puree
8Yes, thicker consistency puree
9Yes, thicker consistency puree
10Yes, small pieces of spreadable goat cheese or soft crumbles.
11Yes, small pieces of spreadable goat cheese or soft crumbles.
12Yes, small pieces of spreadable goat cheese or soft crumbles.

Some ideas for serving goat cheese to your baby include sprinkling it on top of fully-cooked pasteurized eggs, pairing it with ripe avocado, or adding it to oatmeal with soft fruit. 

Additionally, as a dairy product, many parents worry about providing goat cheese because of the risk of an allergic reaction.

However, rather than avoid giving your baby potential allergens, it is actually recommended to provide it early, such as around six months of age, to let your baby’s immune system become tolerant to it (source: University of Illinois). 

It is important to always monitor for an allergic reaction whenever a new food is introduced and provide new foods at least three days apart. Signs of an allergic reaction include eczema, swelling, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, and more (source: University of Illinois). 

Regarding lactose intolerance, while goat cheese still contains significant amounts of lactose, people tend to have an easier time digesting it compared to types of cheese made from cow’s milk (source: Sutter Health).

This could be due to the difference in the fat molecules in these types of milk, with shorter fat molecules in goat’s cheese. Additionally, when compared to milk, cheese tends to be easier to digest in those with lactose intolerance because of the decreased presence of lactose from the fermentation process.

two pieces quiche, goat cheese tart

Can Babies Have Cooked Goat Cheese? 

Babies can safely have cooked goat cheese as long as it is prepared correctly. However, it can easily be overcooked, which can result in dry and difficult-to-eat cheese. Therefore, ensure that the cheese remains soft and tender before serving it to your baby to reduce the risk of choking.

Is Goat Cheese Good for Babies?

Many nutritional benefits make goat cheese good for babies. It is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and iron (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]). In addition, goat cheese provides fats that your baby needs to grow. 

Goat cheese is also a significant source of probiotics. Probiotics are foods that contain healthy bacteria to support a balance of good and bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Probiotics have demonstrated favorable effects on the immune system, digestive health, anti-inflammation, and more (source: The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association). 

In conclusion, I hope this article helped you feed your baby goat cheese safely.