How To Survive Thanksgiving With Babies and Toddlers

How To Survive Thanksgiving With Babies and Toddlers

November 1, 2016 2 By Lead Mama

Thanksgiving With Babies and Toddlers can get pretty hectic

Are you spending Thanksgiving with a baby or toddler this year? Are you dreading what may happen at the dinner table, or how much longer it will take to prepare for the Thanksgiving festivities? How about entertaining them? 



I know I am! I am a very seasoned mama, but this year I was dreading Thanksgiving because I already have a hard time just getting everyday things done. I don’t want to imagine what it will be like trying to cook and all that. 

I know you’re thinking but mama, you literally have had babies and toddlers in your care for the last twenty years! 

You are right, I have spent plenty of years at the mercy of surviving Thanksgiving with toddlers and them. 

Why is this year different? I don’t know? Have you ever felt that? 

Yaidan is still a very high needs child. Everyday is a worry of what will he get into, what foods will he refuse, what thing will he try to climb all the “what” can get tiring. 

Thanksgiving this year will just be us, so it is like cooking dinner on a regular night and with Yaidan, this isn’t easy to do. Most times he is on my hip. It seems like he still has colic, he still has lots of his crying fits. He basically cluster feeds now. And you guessed it, no-one else exists to him for the most part. He will go to others, for maybe ten to fifteen minutes at a time. Barely enough time for me to catch my breath. 

Mama, you aren’t alone in wondering how you will make it through

Thanksgiving With a Baby or Toddler

I have been following and joining many conversations on Facebook with other moms and what will they do with their baby or toddler while they are busy running around cooking, cleaning and entertaining guests. 

The common answer I see is, “the child will be so busy with guests and not to worry about it.” – But what if that isn’t the case? – What happens when it just isn’t that easy to do? What if you have a child with sensory or other limitations?

 I know the photos we see all across Facebook and Instagram will only show the fun parts of Thanksgiving, but what is really going on there? This year, I can’t show you my behind the scenes workload. If you would love to send in your Thanksgiving story with your baby or toddler, we would love to add it to this post ( email us the story and a photo that we can share to marilynprteam @gmail .com )

I cheated and we ordered catered foods! I honestly didn’t want to stress myself out. What else am I doing to make eating with a toddler easier, healthier, safer and overall stress free? I created a meal plan, a menu for Yaidan and collected some activities. 

Keep going, there are so many resources below, go through them all so you can have a wide variety of things to choose for your own baby or toddler.

Thanksgiving Toddler Food and Meal Plan

Have you been wondering what to feed your baby or toddler? 

Yes! This is so common, I’ve seen at least fifty conversions with at least one-hundred other moms replying to those posts; All wondering the same things about foods and our little ones. 

What to do when Aunty Jeanny wants Maxy (who is under six months old) to “try” some gravy, mashed potatoes or how about a lick of some ice cream, oh but Maxy will devour some of my pumpkin pie! 

Are … You … Cringing Yet?!!? I know I am. 

This taste or that lick isn’t good for such immature GI Tracts at all. Humans simply do not have digestive enzymes to digest anything but milk until after they are six months old. You are causing harm to their GI Tract by giving them something their body isn’t physically capable of processing just yet. You know those adults with things like GERD, IBS and other GI issues, well it all started with a taste, a bite and a lick of something other than milk before age six months old.

Put together a meal plan, with a menu. Include the whole days worth of food and drinks, not just dinner.
Here is  Free Download and Print Baby – Toddler Menu and Meal Planner.


So what can you give your baby that is older than six months old? They just aren’t exactly ready to chomp on everything on our plates but you don’t want them grabbing at your foods either. And you want to help them feel like they are inclusive of family Thanksgiving dinner. 

Check out some nutritional information about what we are eating on Thanksgiving Day

Food And Drinks For a Filling and Healthy Thanksgiving Baby or Toddler Belly

Ideas of food choices for older babies ( 6+ months ), toddlers and even some preschoolers can easily and safely enjoy Thanksgiving meals from brands such as Earth’s Best, Ella’s Kitchen and Gerber. 

Make Little Ones Little Foodies By Introducing Flavors And Textures – Even Spices! Little Ones Can Enjoy Cinnamon, Cumin & Rosemary. ~ Get Your Little Foodie Going This Holiday Season! – Deena Blanchard MD, MPH is a board certified pediatrician working at Premier Pediatrics.

A Baby or Toddler Thanksgiving breakfast can include some fruit , yogurt from Gerber, Cheerios an egg (for toddler) and a couple of ounces of Ella’s Kitchen juice. 

Baby’s First Thanksgiving Breakfast Meal Idea


Toddler’s First Thanksgiving Breakfast Meal Idea



A Baby or Toddler Thanksgiving Lunch can include Ella’s Kitchen – Chicken Casserole, some Earth’s Best Mac n Cheese with Carrots and Broccoli pieces, if there are any fruits left over from breakfast and the remaining juice from the morning. 

Baby’s First Thanksgiving Lunch Meal Idea


Toddler’s First Thanksgiving Lunch Meal Idea



A Baby or Toddler Thanksgiving Dinner can be the main feast! Earth’s Best has a tasty Turkey dinner. Your child wont have to miss a thing when it comes to sharing foods that are like our own, except their foods have just the right amount of seasonings that are just right for their developing and growing bodies.

Baby’s First Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Idea


Toddler’s First Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Idea



Thanksgiving Snacks For Baby Or Toddler

If you can prepare some snacks ahead of time, that would save you some anxiety on Turkey day. If not, here are some snack suggestions to keep on hand for your baby or toddler. Sometimes they just need a little snack in between meals. Have these ready to eat so reduce hunger meltdowns.


How about Toddler Thanksgiving Entertainment, What Can They Do? 

Set up a Toddler activity center. Get various art supplies that are safe for toddlers like crayons made for toddlers, paper, feathers, glue sticks, Popsicle sticks and other fun items. Let them explore the supplies and freely create something.

The more items that can be used independently without too much help from you, the better. One item can entertain a toddler for about fifteen minutes. That gives you time to check on the turkey! 

Prepare multiple activities ahead of time when it comes to having toddlers or preschoolers during the thanksgiving celebrations. Make a Thanksgiving Sensory Bin with items that let them use various senses. Items can be Thanksgiving themed felt pieces, colored rice, feathers,  buttons, pumpkin scented Playdoh and other Thanksgiving related items that are also safe for your child. 

Put together an activity center where it’s not in the way but you can also keep a watchful eye out. 

Check out Toddler Workboxes, setting this up ahead of time will save so much frustration on thanksgiving day. Click through this slideshow for more Thanksgiving fun that are baby and toddler friendly.


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