Baby’s First Thanksgiving
For Younger Babies Still Eating Purees
Soft, yummy sweet potatoes are a perfect Thanksgiving food for baby—just make sure to leave off the marshmallows! Wash the skin of a sweet potato and pierce lightly with a fork. Slice the sweet potato into slices about 1 inch thick. Place on a baking tray and bake in a 400-degree oven until cooked through and soft (for a quicker method, wrap the potato in a paper towel and microwave on high for 5 minute increments until cooked). Scoop the flesh out of the skin, and mash out any lumps, using a blender or food processor if needed. Stir in some breast milk, formula, or water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is a creamy consistency. You can even sprinkle a little cinnamon on top for some extra flavor!
Pediatricians are now recommending that babies as young as 6 months begin eating small portions of meat to increase their iron intake, so it’s perfectly fine to let baby have some of the turkey. Run a few small pieces of thigh meat (the cut with the highest iron level) through a food mill. Thin the resulting puree with applesauce, milk, formula or water. Remember that digesting meat is more difficult than the veggies your baby is used to, so start by feeding him small amounts at mealtimes.
Stir applesauce together with non-fat Greek or natural yogurt until consistency is smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl, crush up infant cereal or wheat germ, and mix with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon. Sprinkle the cereal topping “crust” onto the apple mixture. If desired, bake the dish at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, and allow to cool before feeding it to your little one.
For Babies 7 Months and Up, Eating Some Solid Foods
In a frying pan, saute 1/8 cup butter, 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, and 1/8 cup celery until translucent and soft. Transfer to a bowl and add 4 slices of bread, cut into cubes, along with a pinch of sage, parsley, and thyme. Add 1/8 cup water or homemade chicken stock (note – store-bought chicken stock has too much salt!) and mix well. Spoon into a greased pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Make sure that the final product is soft enough to be gummed, and crumbles into pieces small enough that they won’t be choking hazards.
Though the traditional rule of “no berries until 12 months old” rule doesn’t strictly apply to cranberries, take care before giving whole berries to your baby: they are acidic, and the skin can present a problem. Instead, skip the issues by making a cranberry dipping sauce for other fruit using cranberry juice (be sure to use a low-sugar juice!) Boil 3/4 cup cranberry juice until it reduces into a syrup. Allow to cool, and mix in 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup vanilla natural yogurt. Serve with small chunks of fruit or other finger foods for dipping.
Mash some cooked plain cooked pumpkin together with a cooked carrot. Stir in unsweetened yogurt until it’s nice and creamy. You can also sub some silken tofu for the yogurt, just blend all ingredients in a food processor. A dash of nutmeg sprinkled on top will give the “pie” a festive flavor.
A Few Tips
Simple dishes with safe ingredients can be fed to baby right off the table (think mashed potatoes and green beans). Remember not to add salt to any of baby’s thanksgiving meal, as his young kidneys cannot process more salt than that already found in milk or formula. Check all canned or processed food, including vegetable stock and gravy, before feeding it to your munchkin. Too much salt can lead to severe kidney damage. Always introduce new foods one at a time, and at least four days apart, in order to check for any food allergies. And of course, remember to take lots of pictures of baby enjoying his Thanksgiving feast!