Let's get started with Part 1: FOOD! We will cover how to make feeding your family easier with a newborn, how to properly nourish the nursing & postpartum mom and of course the sweet sleep deprived daddy.
1) Make it now, you wont go hungry later!
- Freezer meals:
Crock pot Freezer Meals: New Leaf Wellness has lots and lots of healthy freezer meal ideas for your slow cooker meals. These are often the easiest freezer meals to make as all you have to do is throw the ingredients into the bag!
Wonderfully Made Doula Service's pinterest page has a wonderful board full of easy, healthy and absolutely delicious crock pot meals for after baby.
Freezer Stove Top Meals:
I personally love soup for freezer stove top meals, but there are a lot of other options out there. Here are just a few yummy soups & stews .
Meals that can go in the microwave:
For this one, there are so many different options! Some of my favorites are breakfast burritos, chili verde burritos, teriyaki rice bowls, etc... already prepared in a glass dish. Almost any type of casserole split into small portions and put into glass containers will do. This way, even if you forget to defrost or just don't have time, you are still in luck with a quick meal. Another one I want to mention that falls into this category which is not a meal, but super helpful, is making your favorite muffins and freezing them! Then when you want a little homemade snack, you can simply pop one of these little guys in the microwave! One of my favorite recipes for muffins is from this tiny little muffin cookbook that has been in our family for years. These bran muffins are not only yummy and healthy, but lets face it, sometimes things don't always "move" as quickly in the postpartum months, so they may be able to assist you a little in that area too!
The Best Bran Muffins
2 large eggs
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup milk
1/4th cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups wheat bran cereal
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin cups, or use paper or foil baking cups.
Beat eggs and brown sugar in a medium-size bowl until smooth. Whisk in milk and oil. Stir in wheat bran cereal. Let soak 10 minutes (longer, if more convenient).
Thoroughly mix oat bran, all-purpose flour, and baking powder in a large bowl.
Add soaked bran mixture and fold in with a rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Scoop batter into muffin cups. Bake 20-25 minutes or until brown and firm in the center. Turn out onto a rack to cool.
NOTE: Oat bran can be found in the cereal or health food section of most grocery stores.
VARIATIONS: Brush muffins with 2 or 3 tablespoons of maple syrup as soon as they are removed from the oven.
Add 1/2 cup raisins or 1/2 cup walnuts to batter.
Meals that are cooked in the oven:
Get creative with this one. Either purchase a bunch of tin casserole dishes from Costco, or if you don't care to use tin, use a few extra glass casserole dishes if you have them. You can do just about any type of casserole. Broccoli rice and cheese casserole, macaroni and cheese, lasagna, enchiladas...just use your favorite recipe and start cooking!
I promise that having freezer meals on hand is going to save your life after pregnancy and while they take some time now, you will not regret making them. Now if for some reason you don't get to do this, I know how life goes, especially when your pregnant, then your something else you must know about is...
2) Bring me some food!!!! :
It is time to sign your friends up to bring you a meal! If you don't want to personally do it, which I totally get, have your best friend or some close family post it on facebook. Our group of moms uses this all the time and it works great! http://www.takethemameal.com/
It is an easy meal system where you can know what type of food is coming ahead of time and who is coming. If you like visitors and want people to dote over your new little bundle, great! If not, you don't have to let them in! And don't feel bad about it, other moms especially, totally get it. People bringing meals is what truly helped me right after pregnancy. Like I said, I only made a few freezer meals. Meals were brought to me for 2 weeks and it was wonderful.
3) e-cart grocery shopping:
I have personally never tried this, but I know moms who do, and they say it is so handy. At least perhaps for a couple weeks postpartum this would be a great option. Not only do you probably not feel like going out and about, but also you won't have to worry about people wanting to touch your tiny baby...and other grocery store germs, YUCK! Not all Raley's and Belair have e-cart, but most do. You are probably wondering how much it cost, surprisingly, it is totally worth it! If you order $100 dollars in groceries, its totally free! If not, it is a little less that $5. You can check out Raleys.com for more details.
4) Postpartum Nourishment:
This may not sound like something to you that is going to make your life easier postpartum, but it is! Good healthy food is going to nourish your body when you are exhausted and don't have any energy, keep your mood uplifted when you feel your life has changed so much, and keep things moving in the bathroom when...well, when things are just aren't the same as they use to be. Oh, and super important, the right foods are going to help you keep a good healthy milk supply for nourishing your baby. Choosing snacks like apple slices and almond butter, already prepared steel cut oatmeal, carrots and cucumber sticks with hummus, etc... are all great choices for grabbing something quick while giving our bodies a good dose of fiber and macro nutrients. I do want to go a step further though from talking about the foods that most of us know are healthy and we are all pretty familiar with. I am going to assume that when we talk about healthy foods, that when we talk about healthy eating, we know to stay away from highly processed and refined foods and go for whole foods whenever possible. There are a few foods I want to mention that are a real powerhouse for the postpartum mother. One of these is bone broth! Not only is it pretty easy to make, it is cheap too! It is simply made by boiling bones (preferably beef or pork, you can get them pretty cheap from your local butcher), some select vegetables such as celery, onions, garlic, etc... and boiled until the broth is rich and savory. It will probably need to cook all day, around 9 hours. So what is so good about this food? First of all, it is full of cartilage! During pregnancy and childbirth your joints have been through A LOT! You have been stretched pulled and pushed from the inside out! Minerals! If you add a little bit of vinegar to your broth when boiling, you will extract tons of minerals from inside the bones. It is also very hydrating, which you need lots of to produce milk. It has tons of other great benefits too! Another very important supplement for your body is Omega 3 fatty acids. This can be found in salmon, nuts, flax and chia seeds, shrimp, along with a number of other items. The great thing about Omega 3's is that it is going to give you lots of energy and is great for depression should you struggle with that after pregnancy. The last one I want to mention here is fermented foods. Your bodies immune system can become a bit compromised during pregnancy along with after. When you are snuggling your new little newborn, the last thing you want is to catch a cold. This one is especially important if any antibiotics were used during your labor or after. Fermented foods include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut. Among these, you may find some that you like better than others. In our house we really like kefir and make our own using kefir grains. Nutrition during the postpartum months is just as important as it is during pregnancy. This is a time when your body needs to rejuvenate, rest, and heal in order to care for your little one as they grow along with providing the nourishment to feed your little one so that they can grow. Taking care of yourself is so important through out all of motherhood!