Dressing is a holiday favorite that even baby can enjoy. Finely chop the veggies and cook until very tender. To keep the dressing moist and easier for baby to eat, add a little extra broth to the mixture before cooking. For smaller babies, smash the mixture with a fork before serving or give a quick pulse in the food processor and thin with breast milk or formula. Older babies can handle small, soft bites that they can grab or scoop with a spoon. Scoop from the inner part of the casserole to get the soft portions, avoiding the crustier top and sides, which may be hard for baby to chew. For food safety’s sake, skip the dressing (or stuffing) for baby if it’s cooked inside the turkey cavity. Harmful bacteria such as salmonella can reside there and transfer to the dressing if not cooked to a proper internal temperature.
Baked in a casserole or roasted in the oven, sweet potatoes are a nutritious holiday food choice for your baby. Loaded with vitamin A and an earthy sweetness, even the pickiest babies will love this one. For the littlest diners, serve it peeled, well cooked and mashed. Older babies can enjoy them mashed or cooked soft and cut into small pieces for a fun finger food. For babies serve sweet potatoes sans nuts, and if the dish is loaded with sugar or marshmallows, skip it or make an extra serving without the added sweeteners.
Turkey is a great source of protein and iron, nutrients that growing babies need. Finely chop and mix with breast milk or formula or for older babies. Also consider chopping or blending with mashed or roasted sweet potatoes or even a little unsweetened applesauce. Turkey makes a great finger food too, so try cutting up small pieces for your older baby to pick up and enjoy as is.
Cranberries are a good source of Vitamin C and antioxidants, but because of their tartness they are often cooked with lots of sugar, which baby doesn’t need. Cranberries can also be very acidic and may not be well-tolerated for babies younger than eight months old. Instead of piling them onto the older babies’ plate, use them as a way to accent a dish. Puree a small amount with turkey or chop finely and mix into stuffing. Or cook a separate batch sans sugar then puree, adding a little cinnamon or roasted apple or applesauce.