How to Safely Feed Your Baby from the Thanksgiving Table
Celebrating your baby’s first Thanksgiving meal together can be exciting! If you’re still exclusively nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, mealtime shouldn’t be much of an issue – it’s either breast milk or formula on the menu! But if your baby is older than 6 months, they have probably begun experimenting with solid foods. You may be wondering what you can safely feed your little one so that they can participate in the delicious feast that you and the rest of the family will enjoy.
At this stage, it’s essential to closely monitor your baby at mealtime as choking hazards are an issue. You’ll also want to avoid hard, chunky, or sticky foods. Take a look at our tips on how to make your holiday dinner baby-friendly so that you can all enjoy the holiday together safely.
Foods that Are Safe to Gobble
If your baby is nearing their first birthday and transitioning to solid foods, you can serve them several types of food from a typical Thanksgiving menu. All foods offered should be pureed or diced very small (about ¼-inch in size) and cooked until well-done (soft enough to gum).
Babies can enjoy roasted turkey if pulsed into a fine puree. Select tender thigh meat and blend it with a bit of formula or breastmilk to the proper consistency (should dribble effortlessly from a spoon). If your baby is a bit older, you can also offer finely diced or tiny flaked pieces. Again, the fattier dark meat pieces are more tender and easier to gum than the drier breast meat. No turkey skin for babies!
Giving your baby the healthiest start to life begins with feeding them natural and clean foods from day one. BEABA Babycook® Solo Baby Food Maker is the first and best-selling homemade baby food machine that helps parents make fresh, nutritious purees for babies with natural ingredients they can pick and control.
Younger babies should avoid cranberry sauce (it’s pretty acidic). However, if your little one is at least 9 months old, they can try it mixed with a bit of applesauce. Make sure that whole berries have been mashed and any added ingredients, like nuts, are cut very small or removed.
Sweet potatoes are full of healthy nutrients and are an excellent first food for many babies. A sweet potato puree or mash with nothing added is the safest option. (You may need to serve baby a portion from underneath the layer of marshmallows or nuts if that’s how they’re cooked). For younger babies, consider thinning out the consistency with breast milk or formula.
Babies can most safely enjoy mashed potatoes when they’re served on their own (no cheese or bacon). Make sure there are no lumps. Remember, the younger your little one is, the thinner and more watery the puree needs to be.
This beautifully crafted Avanchy Baby Bamboo Stay Put Suction Plate + Spoon features a no-slip silicone ring for cleaner, happier feeding sessions. Enjoy filling your natural bamboo baby plate with wholesome food! This bamboo suction plate has three perfectly portioned compartments for balanced meals: the main compartment is for vegetables, the top left is for proteins, and the top right is for carbohydrates.
Pureed or mashed-cooked green beans are safe for most babies. If they’re served as part of a casserole, just rinse off the mushrooms and cream before serving them to your little one.
Babies don’t really know what they’re missing when it comes to dessert so feel free to skip the pie entirely. But if they seem to be really excited about what everyone else is eating and you want to give it a try, scoop out the pumpkin filling and dilute it with some breast milk or formula. Older babies can try pieces of finely diced pumpkin and even try feeding themselves.
Make mealtime messes manageable with the OXO Tot Waterproof Silicone Roll-Up Bib. The soft, food-safe pocket is wide enough to catch virtually any stray pieces of food that miss your baby’s mouth. The fabric portion of the Bib provides ample coverage to protect your baby’s clothes and is shaped for comfort during mealtime. When you’re out and about, simply roll the bib’s fabric into the silicone pocket, securely close it, and tuck it into a diaper bag.
Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid Giving to Baby
The most important thing to remember about your Thanksgiving meal with a baby is to make sure that any food, whether diced, pureed, or mashed, is not too big or chunky for your little one. In addition, you should never feed a baby younger than one year honey, cow’s milk, nuts, dried fruits (including raisins), hard holiday candy, whole grapes, or marshmallows since all of these foods pose choking hazards. Here are a few others to avoid:
Although delicious, there’s really nothing nutritionally redeeming about gravy (it’s just fat, salt, and starch). Your baby won’t know what they’re missing anyway, so skip it.
Corn and Succotash
Corn is a choking hazard for babies. It also tends to induce digestive problems for little ones younger than 18 months.
Stuffing or Casseroles
There are a thousand different types of casseroles and stuffing recipes so this is one you should consider carefully. You probably won’t puree the stuffing or casserole so if your baby is less than a year old, it may be best to simply avoid feeding it to them. If you do decide to give it a try, consider the individual ingredients of the dish and determine whether there are any your baby may still be too young to eat. Eat a bit yourself first and evaluate the texture. Are there nuts? Is it very rich or salty? Does it have large pieces of hard vegetables? If the answer is yes, skip it.
Raw Veggies and Fruits
Raw, hard, firm-fleshed vegetables and fruits from a crudités or relish tray are delicious treats for adults and older children but a choking hazard for babies. They’re also harder for an infant’s immature digestive system to process. Avoid them.
Inspired by the Montessori principles of sharing and autonomy, the Inglesina Fast Table Chair is the legendary, must-have table chair that is as comfortable as it is convenient. For use at home, while traveling, or at the restaurant, parents love it because of its simple, twist-tight couplings and its compatibility with most types of tables, leaving them scratch free. Fast is ultra-light, collapsible, and easy to carry comfortably in the included carry bag.
Tips for Safely Feeding Your Baby from the Thanksgiving Table
- Bring your baby right up to the table. Take the tray off of the highchair and let them be part of the family experience.
- Monitor your baby closely. Remember, a baby always needs to be supervised around food. Pick one family member or friend to watch your little one if you run back to the kitchen for a second helping.
- A big Thanksgiving dinner can be an overwhelming experience for babies. This can affect how much they eat. Bring along some foods you know they like and will eat, adjust your expectations, and try to focus on just enjoying the experience.
- If you are a guest at someone else’s home, bring a mat to place beneath the baby’s high chair, an extra set of clothes, washcloths, a bag for dirty clothes, and your baby’s sippy cup, plate, and utensils.
- If dinner is running late, it’s ok to go ahead and feed your baby on schedule with the food you brought. Then simply bring them to the table when everyone else eats with a toy to distract them.
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