Your baby’s first Christmas is a magical time for both you and them. While your little one is too young to fully appreciate what’s going on there’s no doubt that your baby can take in the warm family atmosphere that many of us are lucky enough to associate with Christmas. Christmas is a wonderful time to introduce your baby to the traditions you grew up with and a chance to start making Christmas memories and Christmas traditions for your new family.
Also, let’s face it……
Christmas dinner is the best meal of the year so it’s a shame to leave your baby out! Research shows that exposure to lots of variety and eating together as a family are beneficial for developing positive feeding habits for life and Christmas dinner really delivers on this. On a practical note, if you’re cooking dinner not having to prepare a separate meal will save much needed time on the day and if you’re travelling to family save you packing ‘baby food’.
How to Cook Up A Baby-Friendly Christmas Dinner
Turkey and veggie combo
Depending on what stage your baby is at you can puree, mash or finely chop some turkey together with your veggies side dishes. Yum! (You can also freeze some of the mixture for future meals.) Just use some baby stock or milk rather than gravy which is too salty for babies. As potato doesn’t puree well, leave that out if you are blending and mash separately or better still offer as a finger food. One of my family’s Christmas side dishes is a trio of sweet potato, carrot and turnip and is perfect for babies.
Festive Finger Foods
Providing your baby is older than 6 months then finger foods are an ideal way for them to enjoy the Christmas meal. Turkey cut into a long thin strip, batons of roasted or steamed carrot or parsnips and broccoli florets make great finger foods. You can even offer Brussel sprouts as a finger food making sure to half lengthways first. Whole peas can be a choking hazard so either mash in with other foods or squash and offer as finger foods.
Keep to your baby’s normal routine
It’s great if you can pull your baby’s high-chair up to the dinner table so they can be part of the fun. Just watch out for the tiny toys in some Christmas crackers which are not always baby friendly. However, dinner might coincide with nap time- No problem, just make up a bowl and offer later when they wake up. Do be sure to sit down with your baby while they’re eating so they can enjoy your company as well as the delicious food. In saying that don’t be too disappointed if your baby doesn’t eat well on the day, with so many goings on it can difficult for babies to concentrate on eating. Keep it relaxed and offer them a meal or milk every two hours or so but don’t stress if they don’t eat much. Remember ‘Parent Provides, Child Decides’!
Hold the salt
Don’t add salt when you’re cooking. Once cooked, take out some for your baby, before you season for everyone else. Ham, Spiced Beef (for those Corkonians out there!), gravy and stuffing are all very high in salt so it’s best to leave them off your baby’s plate. There will be plenty more years to enjoy these treats!
Serve up a baby friendly desserts
It’s best to hold off on offering your baby Christmas treats like Christmas cake, mince pies and pudding but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out. Try a simple festive dessert of Raspberry and Yogurt Sundae. Boil some fresh or frozen raspberries until they have thickened (you can puree for a younger baby), serve with some Greek or Natural Yogurt or try Apple Cinnamon Wedges. Place peeled apple or pear wedges onto a plate, sprinkle with some cinnamon, and microwave for about 40 seconds, once softened, leave them to cool and serve with some Greek Yogurt.
Whatever you eat for Christmas Dinner I hope you enjoy a wonderful family Christmas. Don’t forget to take lots of photos (I always forget!)