8 Christmas Foods Perfect for Baby Led Weaning (+ 4 to avoid!)
Guest Post by Nicola of MummytoDex.com
The weaning journey you undertake with your little one is one of the most exciting times of parenting. Couple this with Christmas and you’ve got one very excited Mummy and baby! Whether your baby is six months old or twelve months old, there’s plenty of choice out there for Christmas foods for you both to enjoy, and a few you need to be wary of, or avoid all together. With Christmas approaching in a few short weeks, let’s have a look at some of the yummy Yuletide delights baby can partake in…
A traditional Christmas dinner will have turkey plus all the trimmings and this white meat is a great source of protein for your baby. For younger babies, serve it in finger length strips so they can grab hold of it easily, and for older babies, cut it into pea sized chunks so they can practise using their pincer grip.
A lot of people choose to forgo turkey these days and instead have goose, ham, salmon or even beef. All of these are suitable for baby led weaning as long as the ham doesn’t have a honey coating (babies under one shouldn’t eat honey due to the risk of botulism) and you watch the salt content.
2. Roast potatoes
There’s nothing better than a Christmas roastie – crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Our first baby was happiest on Christmas Day munching two or three of these and we served them in strips so they were easy for him to grab hold of. Cutting roast potatoes into strips also ensures they cool down quickly too, as the last thing you need on Christmas Day is a trip to A&E after baby getting a burnt mouth!
3. Steamed veg – carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans
Of course, no Christmas dinner would be complete without vegetables and you can’t go wrong offering your baby every vegetable under the sun. Every family does their Christmas dinner differently (in fact, in our house, each person has different veg as we are so polarised in our tastes!) but whatever veg you serve, give a good helping to baby. Cut vegetables appropriately (sticks the size of fingers for carrots as opposed to chopping them into coin sized pieces) and for younger babies, steam them until they’re soft so they can be easily chewed/gummed.
4. Cheese and crackers
One of my favourite Christmas snacks is a cheese board! We love partaking in a variety of different cheeses, crackers and buying some big juicy grapes. Baby of course can enjoy the cheese board too, although its best to avoid mould-ripened soft cheeses such as Brie and Camembert as they may contain a bacteria called listeria which can be harmful. Always quarter grapes before serving as these are a high risk choking hazard. Baby can enjoy Gouda, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Edam and pretty much every regional cheese you can think of!
5. Yorkshire puddings
Is a Christmas dinner complete without Yorkshire puddings? I think not! We love making pancakes for the baby and toddler in our house and Yorkshire puddings are pretty much the same ingredients, only they’re baked in the oven instead to create soft or crispy bites of deliciousness! You can tear the Yorkshire pudding into strips for smaller babies or give them whole for older ones.
6. Roasted veg – carrots, parsnips
Roasted vegetables are another great way to feed your baby on Christmas Day – we find that carrots and parsnips make the best roasted vegetables as you can cut them into finger sized pieces for baby before roasting so they’re easy to pick up.
Clementines are a traditional Christmas food thanks to St Nicholas who threw sacks of gold down the chimney in the legend of ‘the three purses’. In memory of this, it is now custom to put clementines in children’s stockings. Clementines are so delicious and a great fruit to offer to baby. For younger babies I squish the segments and for older one I cut each segment into two or three so they can practise using their pincer grip.
8. Mashed veg – potato, sweet potato, carrots, swede
Mashed veg is the perfect option for weaning babies – although if you are a staunch baby led weaner you may not believe in spoon feeding. Here you have a couple of option – pre loaded spoons or simply let baby at it. I sort of prefer the latter option, but to avoid too much of a mess, be prepared with a coverall bib and get the bath run ready for after the meal!
What about Christmas foods to avoid?
1. Pigs in Blankets
Sausages and bacon are extremely salty so I’d be inclined to avoid giving these to baby on Christmas Day. Not just that, but the small chipolatas are a choking hazard. However, if you do decide to offer them, make sure they’re sliced appropriately first.
Gravy is another no-no as it can be extremely salty – especially if you’re using the pre-packaged or instant kind. If you’re making your own, you can source low-salt stock cubes, but I’d still offer it only in moderation.
3. Whole nuts
Another favourite Christmas snack is nuts. I used to love getting the nut cracker out and helping myself to a huge variety of nuts while watching a Christmas film, but whole nuts are a huge choking hazard for children under 5. I think we’ll leave nuts completely off our Christmas shopping list this year as it’s just not worth the risk.
Christmas is a time of gluttony and no Christmas would be the same without chocolates – selection boxes, chocolate coins and tins of Roses and Celebrations to name a few of the Christmassy style chocolates you’ll find at this time of year. Babies shouldn’t really have sugar under the age of 1 so cut chocolates off the menu this year – there’s plenty more years to come where your child can enjoy chocolate advent calendars and Ferrero Rochers!
About the Author
Nicola is the blogger behind Mummy to Dex, a family + lifestyle blog focussing on her baby and toddler led parenting journey, including baby led weaning. She lives in the North West UK, with husband Neil and two boys, Dexter and Felix. For more baby led weaning inspiration you can visit her blog + socials on the links below:
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