Holiday Pancakes for Babies + Toddlers
The holidays are a great time to expose your kids to new textures and tastes. Below I have provided some tips to prepare and serve pancakes to your baby or toddler. So, get to spreading the holiday cheer!
Babies + Texture: It's critical to push your baby’s palate by offering different soft (+ safe) textures. You can easily accomplish this by taking it one food at a time, starting with yummy pancakes!
Shape: Serve pancakes in a stick shape (the length and thickness of your pinky finger) so your baby can easily grasp the pancakes. For older babies, you can use cookie cutters to make holiday pancakes! It’s best to use festive cookie cutters that are long in length, such as a candy cane shape.
- Munching Skill: The shape of the pancake is important for establishing feeding skills. A stick shape can easily fit on your baby's gumline, and they should be able to hold and munch (chewing without teeth) successfully.
Dips: You can easily change up the texture of a pancake by having your baby dip the pancake strip into a thick or lumpy puree. You can make a thick puree by placing a banana or avocado in the blender with breastmilk / formula. Babies also need to be exposed to lumpy purees to help them transition to food textures that fall apart in their mouth. Start with fork-mashed sweet potato or firmer lumps like cottage cheese.
- Dipping Skill: Dipping a spoon or a piece of food into a puree is an important step for independent eating. Dipping usually begins around 9 months of age, but I’ve seen younger babies master this skill if they have the opportunity to practice it early and often! The First Foods Set provides you with all the tools to assist your baby with dipping.
Babies + Taste: If you think you should give your baby bland tasting food, think again! Babies need to have a wide variety of tastes in order to become an adventurous eater. And pancakes are a great way to offer your baby a range of flavors.
- Organic Pancake Mix: I love the taste and texture of Happy Baby Organics Pancake & Waffle Mix, and I use it clinically with my pediatric feeding clients. If you are looking for an organic option (with some added iron for baby, too) look no further! It conveniently comes in a small 8 oz bag that is perfectly sized for holiday travel.
Toddlers + Texture: When offering food to toddlers, it’s important to slightly change the consistency in order to decrease food jags and continue to work on feeding skills. You can easily do this technique with pancakes!
Thinner consistency: To make the pancake consistency thinner, add a little more water to the recipe.
- Biting Skill: This thin texture can help a child learn how to hold + bite through a food rather than hold + rip it with their teeth. Help them have fun learning this skill by using a festive snowflake or star shaped pancake. Teach them the skill of biting by having them bite off the edges of the yummy star shaped pancake.
Thicker consistency: To make the pancake consistency slightly thicker, add more mix to the batter.
- Bolus Formation Skill: The thicker texture will encourage your child to work on bolus formation (chewing and making a ‘food ball’ to swallow) rather than pocketing the food.
Lumpy consistency: To make the pancake consistency lumpier, add cottage cheese or finely chopped nuts to the mix.
- Tongue Lateralization Skill: The lumpy texture will help your child work on tongue lateralization (tongue moving side to side) while chewing.
Toddlers + Taste: No matter what you may read in the media, hiding foods (usually veggies or a protein) in a toddler’s meal can be a tragic mistake. In my feeding therapy practice, I see families struggling with trust issues at mealtime. This usually occurs when a toddler finds unfamiliar foods hidden in their favorite food. Unfortunately, this can lead to a refusal of homemade food. Avoid losing your child’s trust and jeopardizing their relationship with food by including them in the mealtime process!
- Control + Choice: Give your toddler control at breakfast by giving them a choice between adding a tiny amount of a veggie or a protein into the pancakes. “Shall we add one scoop of sweet potato or cottage cheese to our pancake mix?” This technique could also include having your child scoop a half of a teaspoon into the batter. Over time, and as your child becomes more comfortable, try making the scoop a full teaspoon, then a tablespoon and then an ounce. These slow and steady steps will turn into tasting and eating success! And your toddler will trust you at mealtime and learn to trust (and enjoy) new foods too!
I hope my pancake tips will make your holiday breakfast jollier! How will your family incorporate pancakes this season? Let us know and send us your pancake pics using the hashtag #ezpzfun.
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).