Find Out How To Create A Thanksgiving Meal Just For Baby
Thanksgiving is a fun time for families to get together, relax, and of course; eat! For little ones just starting solid foods, Thanksgiving is actually an easy holiday to manage. Traditionally, many dishes served during Thanksgiving are healthy and veggie packed – perfect for babies. There are just a few extra steps parents should take to insure that their baby’s first Thanksgiving is not only delicious, but safe.
Basic Thanksgiving safety for babies:
While Thanksgiving dinner may contain a great variety of healthy foods, not all dishes are safe for a baby.
The following are off limits to a baby under the age of one:
• Honey carries spores called Clostridium botulinum that can cause botulism (food poisoning). An adult sized digestive system can handle these spores, but a baby’s underdeveloped system cannot, and they can get food poisoning if allowed to eat honey.
• Dairy products made from cows milk.
• Nuts, dried fruits (including raisins), holiday candy, whole grapes in gelatin or fruit salad, and other small items pose a huge choking risk for babies.
• Marshmallows on yams also pose a baby risk. The soft texture of marshmallows make them super hard for babies to manage, and marshmallows can become lodged in a baby’s throat.
• Never give a baby any turkey or other meat that’s still attached to the bone as the bone is a choking risk.
Babies who are one to three years of age can have dairy, honey, and even soft melted marshmallow on yams (with supervision). However, the same care should be taken with choking hazards; no nuts, dried fruits (including raisins), holiday candy, whole grapes in gelatin or fruit salad, or other small items. A three year old can still choke on these items. It’s also wise to leave the drumsticks to the adults. While some three year olds could maybe manage meat on bones, it’s much safer to give a three year old meat that’s been cut off the bone.
How to prepare baby’s Thanksgiving dinner:
Babies, barring the safety precautions stated above, can have many of the same foods adults eat at Thanksgiving. However, there are some special preparations tips to follow.
Newborns to six months: No thanksgiving food for this age group. Babies this age should still be having breast milk or formula. If the baby’s pediatrician has given the go ahead on solids, all foods should be very finely pureed and strained.
New eaters from six to eight months: New eaters should have all their foods pureed or super mashed then thinned with breast milk or formula. So if a baby is being served yams, a small portion should be blended well in a blender or mashed well. (Remember to omit the marshmallows).
Babies who are six to twelve months and who are more experienced with solids: Babies who have some experience eating can make the move to heartier textures. For example, for turkey and mashed potatoes, a quick whirl in the blender is all the food needs. A thick oatmeal texture is fine for this age and stage.
Babies one to three years: Babies in this age group can start to have small pieces of turkey or a scoop of stuffing (without small lumps) safely. However, parents should gage their baby’s experience with eating and prepare Thanksgiving foods with the baby’s experience in mind.
Read How to Make Quick and Healthy Homemade Baby Food for a much more in-depth look at how to prepare baby food properly for different age groups.
Safety tip for all baby age groups
Regardless of a baby’s age or eating experience, no baby should be left alone while eating. Even safely prepared food is not safe to eat, if a baby is not being supervised. Baby’s love to stuff their little cheeks – and while that’s cute, it’s not safe, so someone needs to be with an eating babe.
Easy thanksgiving foods for baby:
Pumpkin pie: cut the crusts off and for a younger baby mash well. A baby over the age of one can even have some whipped topping – fun!
Mashed potatoes: super easy, because they usually don’t need much work to get baby ready. Puree a bit more for new eaters.
Stuffing: Press a scoop of stuffing flat in order to identify any chunks, such as celery, sausage, or nuts. Only serve smooth, lump-free stuffing to a baby.
Cranberry sauce: Canned jelly cranberry sauce is perfectly safe for a baby, but whole cranberries can pose a risk. Puree whole berry sauce to a smooth texture.
Vegetables & fruits: Never serve raw veggie platter vegetables to a baby. Make sure that a baby’s thanksgiving veggies and fruits are cooked soft, and mashed to the proper texture. If steamed crisp vegetables are on the Thanksgiving menu, set a small portion aside and cook them a little longer for a baby.
Bread & rolls: Babies under a year should only have bread that’s been toasted to avoid choking (un-toasted bread is too soft). Avoid rolls for this age group. Babies over a year can have rolls if they’re supervised.
Thanksgiving beverages: Babies shouldn’t have fizzy holiday sodas or citrus drinks. The best holiday drink for little ones is apple cider (not too spicy).