Now bring us some figgy pudding…
‘Tis the season for festive foods and traditional treats—and flavors that may be unfamiliar to the littlest members of your family. It’s a great time of year to encourage your kids to try new things; you just don’t want them to feel overwhelmed by it all. Here are a few tips you may find helpful as you navigate holiday parties and gatherings with friends and family:
- Don’t overwhelm: Whether your child is ten months or ten years old, they may be uncomfortable with the idea of a food they don’t recognize or one they imagine they won’t like. So, slow and steady is the name of the game here. Introduce one new food at a time, and if your kid seems to genuinely hate it (could be the texture, could be the flavor…) give them some time before you ask them to sample it again.
- Do your research: Make sure you know what’s safe for your baby to eat at their current age. If your little one is interested in trying turkey or pumpkin pie, is that okay? Maybe, maybe not…here's a handy WebMD reference chart, so you don’t get ahead of yourself.
- Communicate with family & friends: If someone other than yourself is going to be looking after and/or feeding your child during the holidays, be sure to communicate what is and isn’t okay (including what’s age-appropriate, any food allergies, etc.).
- Be prepared for a mess: Especially with new foods, your baby or toddler may be more likely to spit them out and make a big ‘ole mess. If you’re at someone else’s house, be sure you’re prepared and in a spot where airborne food won’t do any permanent damage to upholstery, rugs, etc.!
- New routines + new foods can be too much at once: If you’re traveling with baby over the holidays—or even if you’re just at the neighbors for a get-together—try to stick to your child’s usual napping, bottle, etc. routines as much as possible. And if you’re staying at grandma’s or a hotel for the first time, baby may already be overwhelmed by the change of scenery. It may not always be the right time or place to start introducing new flavors—and that’s okay.
- Have fun, and enjoy making new traditions as a family: This may be the first year your kid tries—and loves—stuffing, cranberry sauce, or grandpa’s famous potato casserole. It’s fun to see your kids experience new flavors that they will come to treasure year after year.
Bon appétit to you and yours!