If you’re a pregnant mama-to-be or newly postpartum, you have learned all there is to know about feeding an infant -- and maybe you’ve gone a little overboard with buying bottles, choosing a lactation consultant, or researching the best formulas for your baby. We can’t blame you; nourishing a newborn comes with a huge learning curve and you can never be too prepared!
But what about feeding yourself?!
For the past nine months, you’ve grown a human being and soon you’ll use all your energy reserves to deliver that little person into the world. Your body is amazing, but the process takes a toll, and post-delivery may leave you feeling drained, depleted, and HUNGRY.
Whether you’re in baby planning mode, or you’ve recently given birth, here are some tips for getting the nutrition you need during the postpartum period.
#1 Ask for food favors.
Use your baby registry for more than onesies and crib sheets. Request gift cards for food and grocery delivery services (like Uber Eats, ChowNow, and InstaCart) or food subscription boxes (like Daily Harvest and Imperfect Foods). And certain registries, like Babylist, make this easy-peasy by allowing you to register for home-cooked meals, cash funds, and other handy favors.
#2 Get on board with a meal train.
Tap your friends and family for a home-cooked meal. Most people want to help out in this way (and maybe they’ll get to meet the baby when they drop off your food!), so make it easy on them by using mealtrain.com, takethemameal.com, or another service. Ask a friend or family member to coordinate the details if you’re strapped for time or feeling uncomfortable initiating it yourself.
#3 Write it out.
You know that running list of groceries you get every single time you head to the supermarket? Yours might include bread, milk, eggs, carrots, nut butter, bananas, yogurt, granola. Keep that list on your fridge, or as a note in your phone, so if anyone offers to do your grocery shopping, you can have your list of staples on standby.
#4 Fill your freezer.
Not every pregnant person has the energy for this, but if you’re in the middle of that “nesting” phase and feeling up to it, prep or batch cook some food! Plan to double every meal you make, so you can freeze half for later. Prep some smoothie packs. If you’re feeling ambitious, spend the day cooking several items: casseroles, soups, taco fillings, pesto, marinara sauce, marinades, shredded chicken -- whatever makes sense for your family. And once your freezer looks ready for the apocalypse, be sure to reward yourself with a foot rub and some takeout. Real talk: filling your freezer with frozen pizza and pre-packaged meals from the store totally counts.
#5 Make a hydration station.
You know that staying hydrated during pregnancy is important, but it’s a habit you’ll want to keep up during your postpartum period. Plan to have “water stations” available throughout the house so that a sip of water is always within arms reach. "Within arms reach" is especially important if you're breastfeeding. Thirst comes on fast and intense sometimes and there's nothing worse than being pinned under a happy baby feeling like you might shrivel up from dehydration. Stock up on plenty of water bottles and task your partner with filling them up for you every morning (and throughout the day, if necessary).
#6 Eat when the baby eats.
While you practice sleeping when the baby sleeps, plan to also eat when the baby eats! Whether you formula feed or breastfeed, use that as your cue to start munching. Trust us, you’ll be busy during those first weeks at home with the baby, and you’ll forget to eat if you don’t have a plan! Stash some snacks (and water, of course!) next to the bed or rocking chair so that you can nourish yourself while your little one fills up. Keep easy-to-grab items nearby like granola bars or apple slices.
#7 Set up a speedy delivery.
Get your favorite restaurants on speed dial now so you or your significant other can easily call in a delivery or pickup order when hunger strikes (but motivation to cook does not). Bonus tip: write down your go-to order at each restaurant so your partner doesn’t have to interrupt you to find out if you want fries with your burger.
#8 Practice makes perfect.
Chat with your partner about how you’ll handle meal time once the baby arrives. Decide what to eat for that first meal home from the hospital (Takeout? A frozen pizza?) so you’ll have one less thing to think about when you walk through the front door with your little one in tow. And if your significant other’s cooking skills need some sharpening, ask them to start helping you out in the kitchen now so they’ll be more confident when it’s time to whip up something quick and nutritious on their own.
What are your tips and tricks for postpartum eating? Share in the comments below!