Christmas is a great time to be starting to think about weaning your baby. Or, if you’ve just started introducing solid foods, it may be even better. There are so many seasonal foods available at this time of the year that are just perfect to offer to your infant too. Additionally, Christmas is all about family and food. So trying to involve your little one in mealtimes around this period is a perfect way to help influence their eating habits for the better.
Bring Baby into Christmas Mealtimes
I’ve written before about my top tips for including your baby in family meals – and Christmas is a perfect time to start. Your baby will enjoy all the fun and excitement of festive meals – and mealtime environments are so important when weaning your baby. In addition, I’ve talked in the past about the ideas of conviviality and commensality (basically the social benefits of enjoying a meal together) and Christmas is a brilliant opportunity to tap into this aspect with your little one.
Don’t forget that as well as turkey and Christmas pudding, Christmas is also about filling your plates with vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, sprouts, cabbage – you name it, and (especially early on in weaning) vegetables are perfect first foods for your baby too.
On top of this, we know two very important facts from research which also makes baby’s first Christmas perfect…
- Vegetables are the best foods to offer babies first when you start introducing solid foods.
- Including children at your meal times helps them with development and food acceptance.
Adapting Christmas Dinner for your Baby
All elements of the Christmas meal are pretty good for your child. There are some foods you should avoid giving to babies under one year of age but other than that there is often such a variety of foods around at Christmas which are perfect for them. However, it’s good to make sure you get the texture right and that you’re not adding any sugar or salt to foods you’re giving to baby. Additionally, other recommendations around this time still stand too. Such as introducing allergen risk foods after 6 months and only one at a time, so you can notice any allergic reactions.
Whether you’re BLW or offering purees, there will hopefully be plenty of veggies, potatoes, meats etc that you can offer to your baby at the same time you’re eating.
Most young children can simply have a version of your Christmas dinner that suits their age and stage – whether that’s blended, mashed or as finger sticks of soft foods. Offering the same or similar foods to what you’re eating is great as well, as it helps to make sure that your children copy and learn to eat the same foods as the rest of the family. Which can make feeding much easier later on! Additionally vegetables, potatoes and meat can all be served in multiple ways – soft cooked, as finger foods, mashed, pureed or even whole.
As an example of a perfect Christmas dinner for baby, see my recipe idea below. Remember that you can, of course, change any of the vegetable suggestions that are made and swap in other veg if you have it. It’s just the gravy, salt, or any added sugar that you need to be a little wary of.
Baby’s Christmas Dinner Recipe
Servings: around 2-3 servings, but this will vary from child to child and depending on their stage of feeding.
- 150 g mashed or minced cooked turkey (swap for ¼ cup of lentils if you’re baby is vegetarian or vegan)
- ¼ onion chopped finely
- 1 small potato, peeled & chopped finely
- ¼ cup of cabbage
- ¼ small swede, peeled & chopped finely
- 2-3 sprouts, chopped
- a dash of olive oil
- Cook the onions in some olive oil until it is slightly brown
- Then add the potato, sprouts and swede and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the cabbage.
- Cook on a low heat until all vegetables are soft.
- Use a fork to mash the cooked turkey and add it to the vegetable mixture.
- Blend or mash (along with a dash of baby’s usual milk) to desired texture, depending on your little one’s weaning stage. Add more milk to make the mixture thinner or just a little milk to make the texture nice and thick.
I hope you find this post useful. Christmas is such a lovely time of year to bring your baby to the table with you and I hope you all get to enjoy the benefits of it.