Your sweet baby is turning somersaults in your belly, and the nursery is coming together. The nesting instincts have kicked into high gear, and the desire to prepare every corner of your home for babies arrival is strong. Then it hits you, the timeless question, what are we going to do for dinner?
For many of us, dinner or meal planning in general often gets pushed to the back burner. Ordering takeout right or “scrounging something up" will just have to do, right? Wrong. I hate to be the one to break it to you, my friends, but those days are quickly coming to a close. Unfortunately, the conveniences that allow you to fly by the seat of your pants are about to dissipate. Once the baby arrives, having a plan for snacks and meals is one of the best ways you can set yourself up for postpartum success.
As you continue to curate your home we want to take a few minutes today to equip you some of our favorite ways to meal and snack plan postpartum. We believe it's vital that you take care of yourself mama so you can give your best to take care of the baby. A well-fed mama is an empowered mama so, lets jump right in with our go-to tips.
Stock the freezer
Stocking the freezer with pre-made freezer meals and snacks is an absolute game-changer. Making this part of your meal routine will set you up for success in the early days and for years to come. With a little one now in the picture, most of the time you'll only have one hand (and sometimes no hands) to prepare something to eat. Being able to heat something nourishing and filling, quickly, can be the difference between surviving and thriving.
Some of our favorite chefs have great recipes and tips for stocking your freezer with amazing meals:
The Pioneer Woman knows how to stock a freezer better than just about anyone.
Dietary restrictions? No problem! Danielle Walker from Against All Grain has a wide array of recipes to accommodate any special needs.
2. Sheet Pan & Crock Pot Dinners
Ok, we've all been thinking it, but we're gonna say it: The crockpot is the best invention of all time.
Throw everything in, turn the dial, and dinner cooks itself while you go about your day.
Incorporating easy cooking methods like a crockpot or sheet pan will make prepping and serving dinner exponentially easier.
We suggest chopping and measuring all ingredients at the beginning of the week. Once you're ready, throw everything together in the crockpot or sheet pan, and you're set. An easy dinner with typically only one dish to wash. These cooking methods are not limited to dinner, either! Here are some of our favorite breakfast and snack recipes that can be prepared in bulk.
The Slow Cooker Lunch Recipes are perfect to make for the week ahead
3. Delay Meal Deliveries
"Is there a meal sign up?"
People will be clamoring to bring you a meal and visit with your little one the day you arrive home from the hospital. While it may be tempting to schedule the deliveries to begin right away, might we suggest holding off for about two weeks? By this time, the baby is usually awake more, and have time to establish a schedule. At this stage, help with dinner is often even more appreciated as you've been working hard for two weeks, and the extra support is a breath of fresh air.
During those two weeks really take time to bond as a new family and lean on prepped meals and close family for any assistance. While you will absolutely want to show off your precious little one, we guarantee you'll be thankful you took the time.
4. Move meal planning off your plate.
Typically after the baby arrives, a large amount of the work of caring for the baby automatically falls to mom. Feeding baby in an of itself is a full-time job for at least the first four weeks. One of the best ways a partner can support mom is to take all planning and the cooking off her to-do list for at least the first eight weeks.
Being the sole person to prepare and serve meals can often be a heavy load for any member of the family. When you add the care of a newborn to the mix, meals can be absolutely overwhelming. A good rule of thumb is for the partner to focus on feeding mom so she can focus on feeding baby. Another favorite of ours is, mom takes care of what goes into baby, and dad takes care of what comes out.
When a mother can enjoy a meal without the stress of cooking, it's another way she can preserve her energy for the precious time with the baby.
Especially in the early days, it's easy to get swept up in the marathon of diaper changes, doctor's appointments, and baby bouncing. Which is why it's VITAL that you ensure you are well-fueled throughout the day. We've seen it time and again, when mama is taken care of the baby will thrive
For any of you veteran mama's, we'd love to hear your meal planning hacks. Leave us a comment with a link to your favorite recipe or meal planning hack.
Tennessee Family Doulas, located in Franklin, TN is a doula agency committed to creating calm and comfort for parents and newborns. From education to placenta encapsulation, our services are built to assist in all phases of birth and postpartum.