Survive and Thrive: A Guide on Postpartum Eating and Meal Planning

 
Postpartum Meals
 

Photo by: Audrey Merket over at Dirty Dish Club

We are so concerned about our bodies when we are pregnant we do everything we can to keep healthy. Then something happens and the light switch turns off! The baby comes out and we often neglect ourselves due to stress, and the time it takes to care for an infant. Sometimes we can be temporarily overwhelmed with simple everyday tasks, such as brushing our hair and putting on a fresh pair of clothes for the day. Babies are a lot of work!

There are so many ideas and guides out there to help keep you mentally and physically happy postpartum. The one that I always come back to and find to be most important is EATING! First by nature, I'm a complete food lover, enjoy cooking, and experiencing food. Second, I think it's interesting how much we care about food pre-baby and how little we care about it post-baby. Third, eating properly is essential to any breastfeeding mother. 

When my son was born we were fortunate enough to have my mother with us for a few weeks to help prepare meals and help with tasks around the house.. We also had friends who brought us over meals after the baby came. It would have been extremely difficult without all the support we received. Eventually though, moms will leave and meals from friends will stop. You are now on your own.  Usually you are still adjusting to life with baby and thinking of preparing a meal is daunting. I remember some days getting caught up with taking care of my baby and realizing that I had not eaten yet that day or at least eaten very little. During those early days my son would breastfeed and then fall asleep on me. I remember neglecting my body because I was too afraid he would wake if I moved him to go make something to eat. "I'll eat later," is what I would tell myself. 

Here I've provided a simple guide to eating postpartum:

  • If you belong to a church, ask if they have a group or system in which people are able to sign up to bring your family meals soon after baby comes. This can be an excellent resource to you.
  • If you have friends and family who live nearby ask if anyone would be willing to do a Meal Train
  • If you have a parent, family member, or close friend who wants to come out and help when the baby comes take advantage of the situation (as long as you have a good relationship and their stay will not cause more stress) and put them in-charge of food preparation
  • Don't be afraid of stocking up on some frozen meals for convenience. Frozen pizzas, and TV dinners require almost zero preparation and almost no clean up. Make sure you are buying food that you LIKE,is good, and you will eat.
  • Buy a big thing of paper plates, cups, and plastic silverware. Eliminate dishes build-up for a little while.

Pre-Baby meals to make and freeze:

Soup:

  • I really enjoy eating anything made from my amazing friend Audrey over at the Dirty Dish Club. I have yet to taste anything she has made that I didn't love. Try her Chicken Quinoa Soup, and her Zuppa Toscana. She's the real deal. No Pinterest recipe fails here!

Chili:

  • Here is a simple throw everything in the crock-pot White Chicken Chili recipe that I have made for my family so a few years now. I've actually have had a handful of people ask me for this recipe when I have made it for them. It's a little embarrassing because there is absolutely NO skill involved for this chili, which makes it perfect for a postpartum mom. (Always double up on this recipe)
  • I don't think this counts as a "chili" but I wasn't sure where to put it and thought it fit in best here. This is a fantastic Slow Cooker Pork Posole back over at Dirty Dish Club.

Things in Tortillas:

  • Bean and Cheese Burritos: Here is a really easy and amazing re-fried beans recipe in the crock-pot. It will give you a few pounds of beans to freeze!
  • Flautas: Here is a tasty vegetarian dish that freezes well and it one of my favorites.

Bread:

  • When I got sick and had to go to the hospital for Hyperemesis Gravidarum my friend baked this Sourdough Bread after I came home. When I had a crazy wild precipitous birth my friend again baked me this bread. If you are into having a nicer, special bread for after birth THIS is the bread for you. 

Food that takes a small amount of preparation go a long way:

  • Hard-boiled eggs. Easy to prepare and is pretty filling. Did you know you can boil or bake them? Make sure you pay attention to how long they have been sitting in your fridge. The last thing you need is to eat a bad egg (lifespan of hard-boiled egg)!
  • Pasta Salads. I don't think an easy pasta salad really requires a recipe. Just throw in what you like! You can make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for snacks and lunches.
  • Potato Salad. Again, just boil up some potatoes, throw in some of those hard-boiled eggs you've already made, add some seasoning, mayo, and maybe a little mustard or ranch. I would say that this is more than "a small amount of preparation" but this dish can last you for days and days if you make enough.
  • Baked Potatoes. Did you know you can microwave a delicious baked potato? It takes 10 minutes! Throw in some tasty healthy toppings
  • Peanut Butter Oatmeal Balls. These are a perfect snack, will satisfy you, and give you an extra boost of energy!
  • Salads. Cut up lettuce and put them in individual serving size containers. Put a handful of these in the fridge and have easy toppings and dressing that require little to no preparation.

These are all ideas you can implement into your family as you prepare for parenthood. There are so many different meals and different ways to prepare your home for when baby makes their arrival. The key take-away is to make sure you are eliminating as much potential chaos as possible. I feel like it was easy to prepare or know what we were doing for dinner but never had any plans for those other meals, so really try and think what you can keep in your pantry and fridge for eating during the day. As my Father-in-law would like to say, "eating time is happy time,"