Baby Led Weaning Tips for Holiday Meals
Our baby-led weaning tips for including babies and toddlers in your holiday meals!
- Keep some foods you know your little one loves on hand.
- Don't shy away from seasonings and herbs. Flavor grows adventurous eaters.
- Pull your little one up close to the table so they can join in the love, laughter, and camaraderie of a holiday meal.
- Scroll down for baby-led weaning menu inspiration.
Introducing your baby to a holiday meal can be exciting. With a little bit of planning, we think your baby's first-holiday meal can be a sweet memory. In fact, we believe that when it comes to holidays, adopting a 'baby eats what you eat' approach to introducing solid foods is a unique opportunity to create precious family memories.
With some minor modifications, your little one can join in on the fun by eating at the table with the whole family. Remember that with baby-led weaning, the food's size and texture are critical. As always, try to minimize salt and sugar.
Practice baby-led weaning baby foods in advance.
Try to introduce your little one to baby-led baby foods before the big event. Eating solid food for the first time requires concentration, and introducing finger foods in a chaotic and noisy space might overwhelm your little one.
We also recommend avoiding your little one becoming overwhelmed by not putting too much food on their plate. Start with tiny portions and add more as necessary.
Also, if your baby hasn't tasted holiday dishes before, you may want to keep a few foods you know they love on hand.
Bring on the flavor. Savory flavors grow adventurous eaters.
Don't shy away from seasonings and herbs. Flavors like garlic, thyme, rosemary, and sour cranberry will develop your little one's palette and help them grow up to be an adventurous eater.
Let your little ones join in the fun.
Take the tray off the high chair and pull your little one up close to the table so they can join in the love, laughter, and camaraderie of a holiday meal. Babies tune into your every move, so show them the wonder of holiday meals. After all, it's not all about the food.
Embrace the fact that there will be a mess. It is what it is. Take pictures and be ready for an early bathtime.
But remember, a baby always needs to be supervised around food. Pick one family member or friend to watch the baby if you run back to the kitchen for more cranberries.
Here are our favorite Thanksgiving foods that are already suitable or easy to modify for baby-led weaning!
- Thinly sliced apple or stewed apple
- If you’re making a salad, chop up cucumbers. We recommend peeling for children under 2. Or serve halved or quartered tomatoes, and any other veggies for little ones and place aside.
- Soft pasteurized cheeses like goat and blue cheese or small cubes of hard pasteurized cheeses.
- Quartered olives with the pits removed. Olives can be high in salt so stick with 2 or 3 total.
- Soups like tomato and lentil. When cooking, cut up any veggies or potatoes small enough for baby, and use zero or low sodium stock. Soups also provide an excellent opportunity for babies to practice using a spoon!
The Main Event
- Turkey is high in iron and B vitamins. Ensure the meat is moist and juicy and that the skin is removed to avoid a choking hazard. Chop into small or give a whole drumstick for your baby to gnaw on! Note that dark meat is moister and contains the most iron.
- Serve gravy in a separate little pot to use as a dip for meat and veggies!
- Potatoes are an excellent food for baby-led weaning. Mashed or roasted, sweet or regular are all great options. Serve in small cubed or finger-sized pieces
- Cranberry sauce is a messy favorite and has an excellent texture for new eaters. Just ensure the whole berries are mashed and any added ingredients like nuts are cut very small or removed.
- Homemade bread or cornbread stuffing is a fantastic baby-led weaning choice, and the signature holiday flavors will be fun for your baby to explore. Just ensure the bread is soft and not too gummy and break up the stuffing to make sure there are no large clumps. If needed, you can moisten it with some gravy or salt-free chicken stock.
- Another option is to bake your stuffing in muffin cups, so you can omit ingredients that aren't suitable for babies from individual portions.
- Roasted veggies! Thinly slice carrots, parsnips and beets, coat in olive oil and roast.
- If making green bean casserole, often very high in salt, set aside some plain steamed green beans for the little ones.
The Final Act
- Pumpkin pie is nice and mushy for little ones. We usually half the amount of sugar the recipe calls for as the pumpkin and milk add enough sweetness
- Apple pie and ice cream.
- And finally, our family favorite, "sqooshy" cream, otherwise known as canned whipped cream!.And yes, we allow them to squirt it straight into their mouths :)
It’s all about balance! We hope these tips help bring everyone to the table for a memorable family meal this holiday season.
From our families to yours,
Joana + Lauren
Littlemore Organic snack puffs were intentionally designed to be ideal for baby led weaning.
- Babies can pick them up and feed themselves.
- They encourage babies to learn how to bite and chew.
- At the same time, they melt in the mouth so no teeth are needed.
- Their shape and texture are specifically created to not pose a risk for choking.
- Our savory forward flavors help wee ones learn to enjoy a wide range of tastes
- A crunchy, yet dissolvable, texture teaches babies that food has a shape, consistency, and solidness
- Unlike with most purees and pouches, we don’t add sugar which helps little ones learn that food doesn't need to be sweet.
- They can be used to dip into other yummy and nutritious things like apple sauce or hummus, making food fun, while also developing new motor skills.
- They take time to chew and eat, so they help your little one learn to pace themselves when eating and notice when they've had enough. This is hard to do with purees.
- They are delicious so kids (and their parents) love eating them.
Read more in our 3-part series on Baby-Led Weaning.
Baby Led Weaning Part #3: Introducing Allergens
Baby Led Weaning Part #2: Timing & Foods
Baby Led Weaning Part #3: What & Why