Cheddar cheese baby food

Foods to avoid giving babies and young children


Babies should not eat much salt, as it's not good for their kidneys. 

Do not add salt to your baby's food or cooking water, and do not use stock cubes or gravy, as they're often high in salt.

Remember this when you're cooking for the family if you plan to give the same food to your baby.

Avoid salty foods like:

  • bacon
  • sausages
  • chips with added salt
  • crackers
  • crisps
  • ready meals
  • takeaways


Your baby does not need sugar. 

By avoiding sugary snacks and drinks (including fruit juice and other fruit drinks), you'll help prevent tooth decay.

Saturated fat

Do not give your child too many foods that are high in saturated fat, such as crisps, biscuits and cakes.

Checking the nutrition labels can help you choose foods that are lower in saturated fat.

See more on food labels.


Occasionally, honey contains bacteria that can produce toxins in a baby's intestines, leading to infant botulism, which is a very serious illness.

Do not give your child honey until they're over 1 year old. Honey is a sugar, so avoiding it will also help prevent tooth decay.

Whole nuts and peanuts

Whole nuts and peanuts should not be given to children under 5 years old, as they can choke on them.

You can give your baby nuts and peanuts from around 6 months old, as long as they're crushed, ground or a smooth nut or peanut butter.

If there's a history of food allergies or other allergies in your family, talk to your GP or health visitor before introducing nuts and peanuts.

See more on food allergies in babies and young children.

Some cheeses

Cheese can form part of a healthy, balanced diet for babies and young children, and provides calcium, protein and vitamins.

Babies can eat pasteurised full-fat cheese from 6 months old. This includes hard cheeses, such as mild cheddar cheese, cottage cheese and cream cheese.

Babies and young children should not eat mould-ripened soft cheeses, such as brie or camembert, or ripened goats' milk cheese and soft blue-veined cheese, such as roquefort. There's a higher risk that these cheeses might carry a bacteria called listeria.

Many cheeses are made from unpasteurised milk. It's better to avoid these because of the risk of listeria.

You can check labels on cheeses to make sure they're made from pasteurised milk.

But these cheeses can be used as part of a cooked recipe as listeria is killed by cooking. Baked brie, for example, is a safer option.

Raw and lightly cooked eggs

Babies can have eggs from around 6 months.

If the eggs are hens' eggs and they have a red lion stamped on them, or you see a red lion with the words "British Lion Quality" on the box, it's fine for your baby to have them raw (for example, in homemade mayonnaise) or lightly cooked.

Hens' eggs that do not have the red lion mark should be cooked until both the white and yolk are solid. So should duck, goose or quail eggs.

Avoid raw eggs, including uncooked cake mixture, homemade ice creams, homemade mayonnaise, or desserts that contain uncooked egg that you cannot confirm are red lion stamped.

Rice drinks

Children under 5 years old should not have rice drinks as a substitute for breast milk or infant formula (or cows' milk after 1 year old) as they may contain too much arsenic.

Arsenic is found naturally in the environment and can find its way into our food and water.

Rice tends to take up more arsenic than other grains, but this does not mean that you or your baby cannot eat rice.

In the UK, there are maximum levels of inorganic arsenic allowed in rice and rice products, and even stricter levels are set for foods intended for young children.

Do not worry if your child has already had rice drinks. There's no immediate risk to them, but it's best to switch to a different kind of milk.

Raw jelly cubes

Raw jelly cubes can be a choking hazard for babies and young children.

If you're making jelly from raw jelly cubes, make sure you always follow the manufacturers' instructions.

Raw shellfish

Raw or lightly cooked shellfish, such as mussels, clams and oysters, can increase the risk of food poisoning, so it's best not to give it to babies.

Shark, swordfish and marlin

Do not give your baby shark, swordfish or marlin. The amount of mercury in these fish can affect the development of a baby's nervous system.

Further information

For more information and advice about babies and food, see:

  • food allergies in babies and young children
  • your baby's first solid foods
  • baby and toddler meal ideas

Food allergies in babies and young children

Allergies and breastfeeding or formula feeding

Exclusive breastfeeding or first infant formula is recommended for around the first 6 months of life.

If your baby has a cows' milk allergy and is not being breastfed, talk to your GP about what type of formula to give your baby.

If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, you do not need to avoid foods that can trigger allergic reactions (including peanuts), unless you're allergic to them.

Introducing foods that could trigger allergy

When you start introducing solid foods to your baby from around 6 months old, introduce the foods that can trigger allergic reactions one at a time and in very small amounts so that you can spot any reaction.

If your baby already has an allergy, such as a diagnosed food allergy or eczema, or if you have a family history of food allergies, eczema, asthma or hay fever, you may need to be particularly careful when introducing foods. Talk to your GP or health visitor first.

Foods that can trigger an allergic reaction are:

  • cows' milk
  • eggs (eggs without a red lion stamp should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked)
  • foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye
  • nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)
  • seeds (serve them crushed or ground)
  • soya
  • shellfish (do not serve raw or lightly cooked)
  • fish

These foods can be introduced from around 6 months as part of your baby's diet, just like any other foods.

Once introduced and if tolerated, these foods should become part of your baby's usual diet to minimise the risk of allergy.

Evidence has shown that delaying the introduction of peanut and hen's eggs beyond 6 to 12 months may increase the risk of developing an allergy to these foods.

Lots of children outgrow their allergies to milk or eggs, but a peanut allergy is generally lifelong.

If your child has a food allergy, read food labels carefully. Avoid foods if you're not sure whether they contain the food your child is allergic to.

How to tell if your child has a food allergy

Allergic reactions usually happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.

They can cause:

  • sneezing
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • red, itchy, watery eyes
  • wheezing and coughing
  • a red, itchy rash
  • worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms

Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can occur.

This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.

Do not be tempted to experiment by cutting out a major food, such as milk, because this could lead to your child not getting the nutrients they need.

Talk to your health visitor or GP, who may refer you to a registered dietitian.

Food additives and children

Food contains additives for many reasons, such as to preserve it, to help make it safe to eat for longer, and to give colour or texture.

All food additives go through strict safety testing before they can be used. Food labelling must clearly show additives in the list of ingredients, including their name or "E" number and their function, such as "colour" or "preservative".

A few people have adverse reactions to some food additives, like sulphites, but reactions to ordinary foods, such as milk or soya, are much more common.

Further information

Find out more about:

  • Foods to avoid giving babies and young children
  • Food intolerance explained
  • Food colours and hyperactivity

Page last reviewed: 5 November 2021
Next review due: 5 November 2024

When can cheese be given to a child and what

Cheese has incorporated all the best that is in milk. High calcium content (about ten times more in cheese than in cottage cheese), vitamins A, B, D, PP and E, phosphorus and minerals, already fermented, easy to digest protein. But with all this splendor, cheese is not suitable for feeding children under 10 months. There is too much protein in cheeses (there is even more of it in cheese than in meat), and after all, an excess of protein is just as dangerous as its lack. A high proportion of minerals and a large amount of salt in almost all types of cheese overload the baby's kidneys. nine0003


The baby's body is not yet able to cope with excess salt and protein, so most pediatricians do not recommend giving cheese until 10-12 months.

Choose products for babies under one year old

Dozens of varieties of cheese are sold in the store. Not all are suitable for kids. We immediately discard the entire group of blue cheeses, smoked cheeses, cheeses with hot peppers, etc. Too spicy, too salty, not suitable for baby food. In the remaining assortment, we are looking for cheeses with a low fat content, preferably no more than 30-35%. In the usual varieties "Gouda", "Edam", "Creamy" fat content is 42-55% and up to 70%, they cannot be used in the diet of children under one year old. nine0003

Next, among the remaining cheeses, sort out those with the inscription "pickled cheese". These are the varieties "brynza", "suluguni", etc. The technology of their preparation includes several days of soaking in brine. These cheeses are too salty, which is dangerous for the baby. You can significantly reduce the amount of salt in cheese by soaking a small piece in cold water for 2-3 hours. It is better to change the water a couple of times. The taste, of course, will become insipid and uninteresting, but such cheese will only benefit the child. Of the remaining cheeses, we look at varieties with a minimum salt content. These are Ricotta, Mozzarella, Cheddar, etc. If the cheese seems too salty, a piece can be soaked in water and only then given to the baby. nine0003


Ideal for baby food - special baby cheeses. They are low-fat, with a reduced amount of salt and minerals.

At 11-12 months, the baby can be introduced to the taste of cheese, a couple of times a week to give a piece the size of a pea.

After one year, cheese can be increased to five grams per day. Offer cheese at least one meal away from meat, such as pear or zucchini. It is not recommended to treat the baby with cheese daily, it is better to set aside 2-3 "cheese" days a week. After one and a half years, the daily portion of cheese can be increased to 10-15 grams, by two years - up to 20 grams. nine0003

It is convenient to add grated cheese to an omelette or vegetable puree. If the baby does not make friends with cheese, do not insist. Tastes change, perhaps closer to school he will love cheese sandwiches.

Lactose-free cheese is available for children with lactose intolerance; it is low in fat, but, unfortunately, often too salty. A slice of lactose-free cheese can be soaked in water for several hours and offered to the baby.

Eat to your health!

What kind of cheese and when can children: at what age can cheese be given to a child