Baby Led Weaning | 8 Foods to Avoid This Christmas
It’s November. Halloween is over and Bonfire Night has been ticked off which means it’s time to start looking forward to the most wonderful time of the year – Christmas!
Baby led weaning over the festive period is one of the most exciting things to do with a baby. I have such fond memories of feeding a seven month old Dexter on Christmas Day back in 2016. He enjoyed a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings – including cranberry sauce which he very sweetly got all over his mouth and nose!
Baby led weaning is all about baby enjoying whatever you are eating and although I’m a huge advocate of baby trying a little bit of everything, there are some foods you need to be careful with and a few should avoid all together during the festive season.
So what are the most common foods you should avoid when baby led weaning at Christmas time? Read on to hear my thoughts.
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 by halving them.
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 only offer it in moderation.
3. Whole nuts
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Christmas is the perfect time to get a variety pack of nuts, source the nutcracker from the back of the cutlery drawer and get snacking. I love indulging 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!
5. King Prawns
I love to eat a prawn cocktail for my starter on Christmas Day, especially if it’s made with huge, juicy king prawns. King prawns however can be a choking risk for adults, let alone babies and should definitely not be served whole. If baby has mastered his pincer grip, chopping king prawns up into bite sized pieces is a good idea, otherwise I would just avoid it completely to be on the safe side.
The NHS recommends avoiding pate for the first year of baby’s life because of the amount of vitamin A it contains. The levels of it can be harmful to babies in utero as well as those under one year old, so it’s best to avoid this one on Christmas Day when baby led weaning (or pregnant!)
7. Honey Glazed Ham
Honey is another foodstuff which needs to be avoided before the age of one due to risk of botulism. Botulism is a rare illness which occurs when you consume a spore containing botulinum which can cause paralysis and even death. By the age of one, the human body has developed defences against these spores, but babies are still vulnerable and honey is one food where the spore may be present. Although the risk is very tiny, NHS guidelines suggest avoiding honey before the age of one and this includes products where honey has been used as an ingredient. For this reason I suggest avoiding honey glazed ham this Christmas and sticking to traditional turkey.
8. Blue cheese
Mould ripened cheese such as brie and camembert and blue cheeses such as stilton are made from unpasteurised milk and as a result are at risk of containing a harmful bacteria called listeria. Like botulism, a listeria infection is rare, however it’s best not to risk it and so when indulging in a cheese board this Christmas, make sure baby avoids the blue cheeses.
I really can’t wait for the Christmas festivities to start this year and am excited to introduce Felix to his first Christmas dinner. I hope you too enjoy the baby led weaning Christmas experience and let baby indulge in all of the many treats Christmas has to offer. We love lashings of turkey, loads of veggies, mashed potato, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, bread sauce and cranberry sauce! Have a fantastic time!