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Special ways to celebrate your baby’s first Thanksgiving

A baby’s first Thanksgiving is a special occasion that gives parents and the extended family alike the opportunity to make the holiday enjoyable and memorable. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate your baby’s first Thanksgiving. 

Choosing a festive outfit

While there are all sorts of extravagant baby outfits you can splurge on for Thanksgiving, the most important thing to keep in mind is comfort. You want to keep an eye on the temperature in particular - it may be a chilly day in November, but having all several people in a small house inevitably generates a lot of heat. Here are some tips to keep in mind when dressing your little one for Thanksgiving:

  • Dress your child in clothing made of natural, breathable fabrics like cotton.
  • Layering will help keep your little one warm and make it easier to subtract or add items of clothing as the temperature changes,
  • Avoid items that feature rough-edged velcro, tags, scratchy appliques, and tight headbands.
  • The ever-popular pilgrim outfit will make your baby look undeniably adorable, but make sure you go for pieces that are soft against the baby’s skin.
  • If you don’t want to dress your baby in a themed outfit, then just get a pilgrim or turkey baby hat. 
  • Another option is to get a customized onesie made for the occasion. Make sure the onesie is in a soft fabric with your chosen slogan emblazoned.

Start a unique family tradition

To make your baby’s first thanksgiving extra special, start a family tradition. If you already have long-standing traditions unique to your family, find a way to involve your little one when observing them. If you don’t have any, a new member of the family gives you the perfect opportunity to strengthen your bond by starting a tradition that you will celebrate and enjoy for years to come. Here are some ideas for Thanksgiving traditions:

  • Watch a Thanksgiving parade. You can watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or visit a local parade with your little one.
  • Watch Thanksgiving movies. There are a variety of options, from classics like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to goofy gems like Free Birds, for you to enjoy together as a family.
  • Collect Thanksgiving-themed stuffed animals or toys. Add a new toy (allow your child to pick!) to the collection each year.
  • If you love crafts, try the classic turkey handprint tradition to help you track how much your little one’s hand has grown each Thanksgiving. To make it even more special, put the handprints together in a frame and hang them on your wall.
  • Donate to a non-profit organization or a local charity. Make a monetary donation in your baby’s name, and then pick a different friend or family member for each subsequent year. As your little one gets older, they will appreciate the fact that such a helpful tradition was started in their honor.

Activities and games

No family get-together is complete without some entertainment and games. Keeping your little one entertained during Thanksgiving festivities can help make the day a lot more fun for you as well. Here are some age-appropriate tips to consider:

  • Newborn - 3 months

Newborn babies mostly eat and sleep all day. Consider buying a baby slip or wrap to help keep your newborn close and comfortable during his/her naps while you go about the different Thanksgiving activities. At this age, geometric shapes and high contrast colors fascinate them more than pale solids, so you might want to keep them occupied with bright toys or mobiles when they’re awake. 

  • 3 - 6 months

As infants get older, they become more active. Younger babies can roll over on their own and reach for objects, so incorporate floor time into the Thanksgiving routine to keep them entertained. Infants at this age are also able to recognize faces, so a game of peek-a-boo with different family members will entertain them for hours. 

  • 6 - 9 months

Most babies within this age range start to crawl and pull objects toward themselves. It might be a good idea to set up a designated play area using a playpen so that they have space to move around without getting in the way. Older infants also enjoy fascinating events, so a magic show by one of the family members after Thanksgiving dinner will be riveting for them to watch.

  • 9 - 12 months

By this age, your little one can sit unassisted, and may even begin to stand and/or walk with aid. They will relish walking around the house holding onto the hands of their grandparents, aunts, or uncles. Other enjoyable activities include throwing games, rolling objects back and forth, and dropping items into a bucket. 

Thanksgiving food ideas

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should exclusively breastfeed your baby until they are 6 months old. After that, the AAP recommends introducing one new food at a time so that you can keep an eye out for allergic reactions like vomiting and rashes. 

If your little one is ready for solid foods, you can prepare a few Thanksgiving staples just for him/her. Steer clear of salt and other seasonings when preparing food for the baby. You can set aside unseasoned mashed sweet potatoes or peas for your little one to try at dinner with the family. Some foods to avoid when feeding infants include desserts with nuts, raw veggies, casseroles, and stuffing.

Babies who are approaching their first birthday can have more variety at their first Thanksgiving meal as long as what they eat is soft, well-done, and diced into small chewable pieces. Some options to try include mashed potatoes, turkey, pumpkin pie, bread, peas, and cranberry sauce. 

Traveling with a baby on Thanksgiving

Traveling with a baby on a family-oriented holiday like Thanksgiving can be quite hectic. Here are a few tops to make your travel a bit more comfortable:

  • Carry all of the baby’s essentials in a diaper bag that you can keep with you at all times. That way, you’ll have all the things you need to maintain your little one’s comfort and health nearby.
  • Try to maintain the usual feeding and napping schedule you have at home to provide them with the security they need to adjust to new places.
  • Take a few familiar items with you on your journey, be it their favorite toy or blanket. These items will bring your baby comfort when they feel overstimulated with the change of surroundings.

Final thoughts

Your little one’s first Thanksgiving should be a fun and rewarding event for the whole family. Whether you’re traveling, enjoying a meal together, or simply playing, celebrate the occasion in your own unique way and make it special for your baby.

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