Grilled cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches are always a winner for children and adults. But should you give it to your baby when they want a bite?
Grilled cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches are safe for babies 6 months and up. But remember to cut them up into small pieces. The cheese of choice should be pasteurized or be a type of hard cheese to make it safe for consumption.
What type of cheese and bread are allowed? We’ll discuss all that and more below.
Is It Safe to Give Babies Grilled Cheese?
Cheese can become a part of a healthy and balanced diet for babies and children. It provides protein, calcium, and vitamins which are essential for their growth and development.
According to NHS, starting at 6 months old, you can start feeding your baby with full-fat pasteurized cheese. Unpasteurized cheeses and cheeses ripened with molds like brie are not recommended because they are at high risk of being contaminated with listeria (source: NHS).
Listeria is a bacteria that can cause diarrhea, upset stomach, fever, muscle aches, headache, and even meningitis when the bacteria gets to the central nervous center (source: CDC). We don’t want this for our babies.
However, not all authoritative sources agree on the safest age. Mayo Clinic says that you should wait somewhere between 8 to 10 months (source: Mayo Clinic). The CDC, on the other hand, advises feeding cheese to babies ages 7 to 8 months (source: CDC).
If you want to be absolutely safe, then you can wait the full ten months, but this will also depend on the pace of development of your individual baby, too. If you’re ever in any doubt, talk to a pediatrician or doctor.
Cheeses that many agree are best for grilling are cheddar, American, gruyere, and mozzarella among others.
Cheddar cheese can both be pasteurized or unpasteurized but it is still safe because it has low water content. The same is true for Gruyere. American cheese is pasteurized while mozzarella has to be made with pasteurized milk to make it safe for consumption.
While grilled cheese is chewy and warm, you can still feed it to babies as long as he or she can pull up into a standing position and walk with the help of furniture. Another sign is if your baby can finger feed on their own (source: Washington State Department of Health).
The Minnesota Department of Health suggests 3/4 oz. cheese in half a grilled cheese sandwich for one meal per day for a 1-year-old baby (source: Minnesota Department of Health).
Bread is also allowed for babies ages 8 to 11 months whether white, wheat, or whole wheat, as long as there are no seeds, nuts, or tough bits of whole grain kernels (source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction).
Again, there is some variation in recommendations. The CDC, on the other hand, suggests that babies aged 6 to 24 months can have a slice of bread as part of their healthy eating habits. For younger babies, the bread might need to be mashed or softened (source: CDC).
Here is a table listing the ages of children and whether grilled cheese is safe to be fed to them based on the above:
|Age in Months
|Safe or Not
|5 months and below
|7 to 8 months
|8 to 10 months
With all this said, it’s better to cut it into smaller pieces, mash it, or soften the sandwich according to the baby’s age or capacity to chew and swallow.
We also highly advise asking your pediatrician regarding the proper age to feed your baby grilled cheese sandwiches just to be sure.
How to Cut and Serve Grilled Cheese for Babies
You can give your baby grilled cheese as long as he or she can pull himself or herself up to a standing position, walk with the help of furniture as a guide, and finger-feed himself or herself (source: Washington State Department of Health).
Bread, cheese, or the grilled cheese sandwich should be cut into small pieces, strips, or in ½ inch length.
Bread is a good choice when it comes to baby-led weaning. Just remember to tear or slice it into small pieces, toast it when it becomes gummy, and stay with them while they’re eating to watch out for possible choking (source: Healthline).
We hope you found this article helpful!