7 Tips for Enjoying Holiday Meals with Your Infant

7 Tips for Enjoying Holiday Meals with Your Infant

This holiday season will be my daughter’s first. She turns 1 year old in January. While she is eating a wide variety of foods and textures, she isn’t quite to the point of eating everything we do. For our holiday celebrations I will have to make some modifications so that she can enjoy our traditional foods and feel involved while still eating appropriately for her age. She is quite the headstrong little lady who wants to eat everything we eat – and more importantly, everything her big brother eats – even if it may not be age-appropriate for her. I keep her happy by giving her some of the same foods we‘re enjoying and always having several of her favorites available.

To help your infant enjoy holiday foods, use these 7 tips:

1. Plan ahead. The holidays can be stressful, but taking a little time in advance to plan out what everyone, including your baby, will eat at holiday gatherings will save you much stress down the road. Even if you are a guest at someone’s home, making a plan for your infant is essential. Also, if you start thinking in advance about what foods may be available, you have more time to make sure your infant has been introduced to them and tolerates the food well.

2. Prepare age-appropriate foods. At what stage of feeding is your child? Compare holiday food to the food you usually serve to determine its age appropriateness for your infant. Most foods can be pureed or cooked soft and cut into small chunks for self-feeders.

3. Keep it familiar. Include at least one familiar or favorite food. Even if your baby has had a food before, it could be in a different form or taste buds may have changed. By including at least one familiar or favorite food you know there is something that your infant can enjoy.

4. Consider seasonings. Remember to consider spices, seasonings and other flavor enhancers usually added to holiday dishes. If your infant has not been introduced to these yet, you may want to find an alternative, or if you are preparing the food, wait to flavor it after you’ve removed a small portion for her.

5. Ensure food safety. Watch how long food has been sitting out: more than 1 hour in hot and humid conditions or 2 hours at room temperature is the general rule of safety. However, it is better to err on the side of caution with infants because they are more vulnerable to getting a food borne illness.

6. Time feeding for travel. If you’re traveling for the holidays, consider adjusting your baby’s feeding schedule before you leave to make it easier for your child to adapt once you arrive at your destination, particularly if you’re jumping time zones. Consider packing some of your baby’s favorite foods in case you can’t find exactly what you need when you arrive.

7. Relax and enjoy! Remember that at this stage, eating solids is more about the experience rather than perfect nutrition. For infants under 1 year old, the primary nutrient source still should be breast milk or formula.

The holidays are a fun time to introduce your baby to your family traditions and should be enjoyable for everyone.

Find a Primrose School Near You

Inspire a lifelong love of learning. Contact your local Primrose to schedule a tour.

Find A School