Baby Led Weaning

Growing healthy babies with healthy appetites

Cheddar Cheese

Now, cheese is a trickier prospect than it initially sounds, so here are my thoughts.

My friend, who is Annabel Karmelising her eight-month-old child, is now getting to the stage where her darling boy (and he IS a darling) is eating finger foods. Cheese-wise, she went out to the supermarket and bought the blandest, most organic-est cheddar she could get her mitts on. I think it was a 'Strength 1' cheese, on that peculiar cheese tastiness index that all supermarkets seem to have adopted recently. (Don't get me started on that – since when did 'strength' have any bearing on taste?) Naturally, the bold boy loved it and now happily feeds himself flavourless cheddar whenever the opportunity arises. However, the system does mean that their's is now a two-cheese household.

Bearing in mind that I carelessly combine both a capacity for laziness and disorganisation, I can't handle the pressure of maintaining a ready supply of both parental and infant cheeses, so we just started Babybear off on a vintage cheddar. (Size 5! Get us!) Happy to report that she enjoyed it, but the problem was that it crumbled into pieces almost immediately which was very frustrating for a hungry nipper.

We've shopped around, airily dismissing the brittle curded offerings of Somerfield, Tesco and Safeway, but finding both the Isle of Bute organic cheddar from Sainsbury's and the Canadian Mature from M&S rather tasty. The Marks one is best on points for the kiddies as it is quite greasy so doesn't fall apart but I personally like the sainsbury's one better.

All in all, my advice would be to start your child on the cheese you like and adjust upwards or downwards from there. As for working out how to cut it up, it rather depends on the crumbliness or otherwise of the cheese. That Canadian Cheddar can handle being cut up into a chip shape, and with the others sometimes a small squarish slice about 5cm x 5cm x 1cm holds together well, but there's more wastage.

(Gad, who knew there was so much to cheese? And I didn't even go near the whole dairy intolerance thing. Mostly because I don't know anything about it. As usual, if anyone has anything to add about cheese/baby led weaning etc, post away. I should go now, as my head has just exploded due to calculating the perfect Baby Led Weaning dimensions for a slice of cheese. I used to be a career woman, for god's sake.)

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21 Responses to “Cheddar Cheese”

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a non-cheese eater, I'm a bit vague about all this grading malarky. DD, DH and I all avoid the stuff but Stinkerbell fair loves a chunk of her Grandad's cheddar. Have since discovered Baby Bel cheese – an ideal out and about food as it comes in its own wrapping! Stinkerbell happily munches away on the cheese while making lovely air patterns with the rubbery skin thingy (which she quickly discovered is not for eating!!) Probably not as good for her as the organic stuff Grandad eats but heyho, she's happy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    of course… good idea, especially for taking out and about.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Would just like to share that while I was pregnant we went to have dinner with a friend one evening. I sent him an embarrassingly long list of things I was abstaining from, and he was a gem. We were presented on the night with a lovely array of mexican food, topped off with a bowl of grated mild cheddar, or “British Safety Cheese” !!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    We only have the real tab laughingly strong stuff in our house, nothing less than a five!
    Euey had his first taste a couple of days ago and I got the you've poisoned me face to start with but he soon grabbed more when it was offered.
    He's particularly partial to a toast soldier of cheese on toast at the minute.

  5. Anonymous says:

    can you believe that Babybear has never had cheese on toast because until reading this i had COMPLETELY forgotten about it. what an idiot i am. we're having some tomorrow (made with British Danger Cheese).

  6. Anonymous says:

    Question coming up for anyone who knows about dairyless cheese options.
    My little M is lactose-intolerant. She's almost 9mo now but I'm not planning to try milk products on her again for a couple more months. 'Til then, we've got lactose-free formula milk, Alpro soya yoghurts and … well, that's it. The only weaning book I bought is by Annabel Karmel (yes, I know), and once your baby reaches stage 2, suddenly she seems to advocate sticking cheese in every recipe, rendering most of them useless for us unless we can find a substitute. A friend told me that Holland & Barrett sell a variety of cheese which doesn't contain cow's milk, but the search I ran for “cheese” on their website threw up “Chesty Cough Syrup”, among other bewildering items!
    I don't suppose there's anyone out there who knows what other options there are for the cheese-avoiders?

  7. Anonymous says:

    ^ That comment was from E-J … I signed in, but came up as Anonymous.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi all – loving this blog! At what age did you start giving your LO's cheese?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just leave the cheese out! I don't even put cheese on my pizza and it's lush!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Unless you have reason to suspect that your baby is going to have a reaction, there's no real need to wait around: one of the great benefits of leaving weaning till 6 months…
    Whether baby will like it at first is another matter – both taste and texture bother some kids (but we've been hearing elsewhere on the site of a baby who eats cheese but refuses many other things, so who knows?)
    Anyway… my Beeble wouldn't eat raw cheese at first, but would happily eat pasta in a cheesy sauce. She's now decided she *will* eat a lump of cheese, but only if she sees Daddy eating it first and can swipe it off him. Babies….
    PS to the lactose-free cheese mum who alas didn't get a prompt reply. A Google search for 'Lactose-free cheese' brings up an impressive range of UK products and suppliers :-)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Tink loves cheese and not just mild ones! Blocks, pasta and welsh rarebit, she does cheese!
    I just noticed this thread was started when she was 4 hours and 20 minutes old and I still hadn't met her!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Euan loves cheese. Cooked, he likes cheese on toast, or mashed up with baked potato, otherwise he has it grated – especially likes extra mature cheddar. If I give him chunks of cheese, he tends to spit it out after a couple of chews, so we are sticking to grated for now.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Goodnessdirect have a huge range of lactose free cheese type things – I can't vouch for what any of them are like though. The only lactose free thing I buy routinely is the Swedish glace cornetto alikes as they are gluten free too.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I wish IzzyMouse did. She's strictly a philadelphia only child at the moment. Very frustrating as her dad would eat it for every meal if he could, and I go for the palate-scorching 6 selection at any opportunity.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The Pickle loves the Babybel Cheddar variety (of the range it's the only one that doesn't list salt as an ingredient). She seems to love the idea that I unwrap it especially for her, she has been so desperate to get hold of it sometimes that she has bitten through the plastic wrap and wax!!!!!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Sorry meant to also add that strong cheeses she loves – parmesan in small quantities, and most definitely a strong cheddar too but this does sometimes bring on the 'bleeeuuurgh' face and a little shudder yet she still goes back for more.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Fidget's first experience of cheese was to swipe a piece of my plate – lovely mature cheddar – so we've stuck with that. He would live on cheese, bread, hummous and banana given a chance.
    My concern is about salt – isn't cheese quite heavy on salt and has anyone found a good low salt mature cheddar?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I'm new around here! Been blw for a few weeks now. Ruby who is 7.5 months loves mature cheddar. I've been trying to limit how much I give her because I hadn't realise how much salt was in it. However she would eat it for every meal if she could! She also like Philadelphia!

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is a very late reply, so I don't know if it's still relevant to you or not, but my 2 1/2 daughter is also lactose intolerant. Almond milk is great, esp when they're little and need extra fats. We also use nutritional yeast, which comes in flakes and can be bought at a health food shop. You just cook up the flakes with a bit of dairy-free margarine and some rice/soy/almond milk, and hey presto! Cheese sauce, minus the cheese! It's truly amazing stuff, and extremely good for you (and bubs!).

  20. Anonymous says:

    thanks for that. my friend just found out her wee boy is lactose-intolerant, i'll pass that tip on.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I gave my 6 month old a chew on some cheese (strong cheddar) I was having – and she immediately got a scary mouth rash – like I had given her a stinging nettle to eat. Checked with the HV today who said some babies do get face rashes from cheese, marmite (and I can't remember what else…). Has anyone else had this happen? Am a bit scared of trying cheese again… Ta!

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