Next week, we feast! Every family has different traditions, but the main dishes are pretty consistent across every table in America: pumpkin pie and apple pie, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, and of course, a big delicious turkey as the centerpiece (with plenty of gravy). How do you introduce a new family member to all of these new flavors?
What you do is going to depend to some extent on the stage: if you have a newborn on your hands, for instance, the main priority is going to be tending to the baby’s needs (and your own – you need all the rest you can get!). EverydayFamily suggests skipping the family hubbub if you feel like you need to, or just making short visits. There’s always next year, and a toddler will be able to have fun trying all of the new foods.
If your baby is starting to try solids, there are plenty of options for Thanksgiving foods to introduce: you just need to follow the same guidelines you would for introducing any other food. You can find an exhaustive list of the current recommendations of food-by-month here at Incredible Infant. Or, check out their great Thanksgiving cheat sheet, which goes through each of the traditional foods and explains which ones can be pulled right off the table, mashed up, and fed to your eager kiddo. A few quick tips pulled from their list:
- Make sure it’s mashed up nicely so it’s safe for baby to swallow – after about 10 months, when they can feed themselves small bits of food, dice it SMALL.
- Turkey is ok after 7-8 months, but use a blender to get it pureed up nicely. Skip the gravy for now.
- Cranberries are acidic, so they’re best saved until after 9 months, but they’re loaded with Vitamin A – add to some applesauce to sweeten them up.
- Stuffing: depends on what your family puts in it, and everyone does something different, so, probably best to avoid. It’s mostly bread anyway, and there are more vitamin-heavy dishes on the table.
- Mashed potatoes: depends on what’s added, but if there’s not bacon or cheese, it’s ok after 7 months – just thin it out a bit with breast milk or formula.
- Sweet potatoes: Perfect for babies! Loaded with vitamins – a great first food. Introduce in the period between 4-6 months, and make the puree watery and thin. No nuts or marshmallows, though!
- Pumpkin pie: for 6-10 months, just scoop out the pumpkin part and thin it out. For babies older than 10 months, dice it up and let your baby go to town on it!
Finally: make sure you have the right gear! Your high chair is going to be a key part of letting your baby enjoy the family meal. The right chair is going to depend on what you’re doing: if you’re doing dinner at home, then a Stokke Tripp Trapp is perfect. It’s designed to pull right up to the table so that babies and toddlers can fully participate in family meals, making it the ultimate seat for a baby at Thanksgiving.
However, if you’re going to a relative’s house, you’ll want to bring along the Inglesina Fast Chair: this ultra-portable high chair weighs only 4.2 pounds, comes with a carry bag, and has a really great connection system that will fit it firmly onto virtually any table. This will be especially useful if you’re flying to Thanksgiving!
Finally: are you hosting? Wow, that’s ambitious! At the very least, your guests will be eager to entertain the baby, so that takes one thing off of your hands, but make sure you accept help, and check out these other tips from EverydayFamily. Good luck – let us know how it went!