By this point you probably expect life with a new baby, at the very least, to look like this:
Feed, feed, feed, burp, rock, diaper, watch baby sleep, feed, feed, feed, burp, diaper, eat?, feed, feed, feed, shower?, diaper, feed, burp, sleep???
Attending to your own basic needs (like eating food) in addition to caring for a tiny human can be a monumental challenge. And let's not forget, you're still healing from what can be considered a traumatic event. Whether you're expecting soon or a friend is due to have a baby, you NEED to read this.
Behold, the ultimate list of postpartum foods that are:
- Easy to make
- Can be eaten with one hand
- Help with milk supply
- Improve your mood (ALL THE HORMONES!)
- And alleviate constipation (oh, hey stitches and hemorrhoids!)
These are the top 10 food ideas that helped me survive the hardest time of my life.
1. Energy Bites/Bliss Balls
These little guys are so full of protein, can be made ahead of time and can most definitely be eaten with one hand. You can easily add ground flaxseed for extra fibre to help alleviate constipation (don't forget to drink a ton of water!). My favourites are the Pumpkin Tahini Energy Balls and these Coconut Brownie Bites.
Tip: Swapping in tahini or sunflower seed butter is a good source of iron when you introduce baby to solids later. Just mold them into little sticks to promote self-feeding.
2. Casseroles, Lasagna, etc.
A popular choice from visitors and with good reason. These dishes are often easy to reheat and typically cover multiple meals for the whole family.
Tip: If you can, opt for dairy-free or less cheese, or recipes with veggie alternatives. Postpartum constipation and hemorrhoids will thank you.
3. Baked Oatmeal
I love that oatmeal can be eaten cold or warmed up. Overnight oats or fresh oatmeal would work too, but baking it allows you to freeze pre-sliced portions ahead of time. Oatmeal is also considered a good source of iron that may help boost milk supply.
4. A Big Salad
This one is more for visitors (I don't expect any new parent to whip up a salad). A little strange but it's totally worth asking the new parents. We were well fed thanks to generous friends and family, but my body craved veggies! Not only will the extra nutrients help with healing, it's just mentally uplifting to bite into a bright, fresh, crispy salad.
Tip: Buy pre-made salads from the grocery store or make this simple chickpea salad that will last you all week.
Same deal as the salads. Think outside the box and see if a new mama would like a large green smoothie on your way to visit. It's tough getting in any servings of fruits or veggies during the postpartum period. Or if you're more ambitious, portion out smoothie ingredients into plastic freezer baggies so they're ready to blend, grab and go when needed.
6. Dump Dinners
Say what? Dump dinners! These are slow-cooker meals you prep in bulk and freeze ahead of time. Then when you need it, toss everything in the slow cooker with water or broth and you've got a hot lunch, dinner or snack available all. day. long.
Tip for visitors: DO THIS ONE. Especially if you're visiting weeks after birth. Chances are the new parents will no longer be inundated with free food and left to fend for themselves. Dump dinners are great for this transition.
7. Breakfast Muffins and Cookies
I'm a huge fan of anything that can be made ahead of time, frozen, easily reheated and held with one hand. If you can stock up on muffins and cookies that are nutrient-dense like these Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies, do it.
8. One-Pan Meals
Simplify, simplify, simplify. Less appliances in use, less pots to clean, less dishes to put away. Just throw all your ingredients on a single pan, bake it and eat it. This is a great way for partners to save time and devote more energy towards you and baby.
Granola is a great snack for those sleepless nights when you're up to feed baby every 1-2 hours. Especially if you're breastfeeding and burning a ton of calories. Store some granola in a jar with a spoon alongside your water bottle and you're set.
10. Anything edible, seriously.
Let's face it. You're in survival mode and you just need to eat, whatever it may be. Parenthood is all about celebrating small wins, and at the start, one of them is being able to literally put food into your body. So if you didn't have time for freezer prep, and you only have enough energy to open a bag of crackers, that is TOTALLY okay.
So enjoy that casserole your friend lovingly dropped off, or all that soft cheese you've been craving throughout pregnancy. You just had a baby, which means you're pretty much allowed to do anything.