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Food? What Food? … Life After Giving Birth

Eating meals was a huge challenge for me and my husband as newbie parents. Who knew? Here’s a few tips on how to get the parents’ food organized when everything else feels like chaos.

Getting Back Into the Kitchen

Full Disclosure

There is no denying now how completely naive I was was about what life would be like after having a baby. Sure, people warned me that my life would change. Of course it would. I knew that. Well, at least I thought I did. While reading about how babies are supposed to nap 2-3 hours several times a day, I would contemplate all the things I would do while my LO (little one) slept. I would learn how to bake bread, catch up on writing blog posts, maybe take some online courses, binge some new TV shows. It was going to be like a mini vacation during nap times. Ya, right.

First off, my little guy is a terrible sleeper. Putting him to sleep usually involves 10-30 minutes of rocking and, on really bad days, even longer. I also get very little sleep at night due to constant night feeding. So, needless to say, I walk around like a zombie most days. I have no time to put on makeup or do my hair. Just getting dressed is such a chore. Sometimes I forget to eat.

I never fully comprehended how physically exhausted, sore and emotionally spent I would be after giving birth. They call it labor  – now I get it. Making a human being was hard and pushing one out into the world was pretty damn hard too! I lived in my My BrestFriend breastfeeding pillow for 3 months at least, with my baby on my hip and bags under my eyes.

My world was rocked. Now don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely IN LOVE with my LO. The smiles, the changes week to week and the overwhelming sense of protection have all totally been worth every sleepless night, but apart from the sleep (or lack of it), the one thing I was totally unprepared for was feeding myself and my husband.

Which brings me to this post...I thought I’d share a few tips about food that I wish I had known before I gave birth. These might have better prepared me for ‘life after first baby’.  Yes, our little one is #1 right now, but, hey, you gotta eat too!

Tips For Before the Birth (and great gifts for new parents)

Register for Restaurant Gift Cards (preferably ones that you can order in from)

I had a baby, could barely walk and was completely exhausted. I was in no mood or position to cook. Luckily a very smart cousin of mine, who had two kids prior, bought me a gift card to my favorite restaurant  – fantastic gift! Not only did it get me out of the house for the very first time (I decided to call for pick-up to force myself to leave the confines of my couch), but it also took some major stress away from coming up with a healthy meal for a few nights. In hindsight, I wish I had asked for more of these for my baby shower as they would have been extremely helpful during that first few months after the baby was born.

Register for Grocery Delivery Service Cards 

Again, another gift card I wish I put on my gift registry. My mom (Kook 1)  – from experience – realized how challenged I would be consuming healthy food, or just any food, so she purchased a  grocery delivery gift card for me and my husband. From the comfort of my home, I was able to go online and have groceries delivered to my door so that I didn’t have scrounge for food in our stark cupboards. One great thing was being able to buy the easy fresh meals that are already prepared and a bit healthier than the endless pizzas we faced on so many days.

Prep Frozen Food

My mom has been concerned about my health and nutrition my entire life, to the point of annoyance (I am sure it annoyed her too LOL). Having a LO of my own now, I completely get where she has been coming from and hope she can forgive my lack of understanding of a mothers love. After my baby was born, she got busy making food that my husband and I could easily throw into the microwave to get a boost of nutrients and fill our exhausted bodies. Thus the Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos were born and many take home dishes. My husband became obsessed with his burritos and, even 5 months later, my mom is still making these for him. Having ready to go meals, ready to go for when you come home from the hospital is essential – well, maybe a luxury that any new parent would be grateful for. Honestly, it never occurred to me to make-ahead before I gave birth. Big mistake.

Tips for After The Birth

Visit Your Folks, In-Laws or Whoever Else Will Happily Have You And Cook for You!

I am extremely lucky that my parents are not only close by, but also retired. This has allowed me to stop by their place weekly for a delicious home cooked meal and some assistance in taking care of the little one. These visits also typically involve left over food that I was able to take home to my husband – thanks mom!. While definitely favoured in my direction, my parents also get to see their daughter and new grandchild frequently, which I think they have enjoyed 🙂

Accept Whatever Help Is Offered

As I said, after coming home from the hospital, I was on a complete emotional roller coaster. It was very hard for me to ask for help from anyone. While our family and friends were all waiting for an invite from me to come over to meet our LO, I was waiting for them to ask as I simply couldn’t work up the energy to initiate it. So when my mom started asking if she could make us meals, or my mother-in-law started bringing by food, I slowly began to accept it and eventually realized how silly I had been not asking for more in the first place. Being a new parent is hard. There is no shame is asking for some help! And friends/family, make sure you offer and push a little, as it is difficult to accept it in the beginning.

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

As I have now left the very challenging ‘4th Trimester’, the fog has slowly started to lift and I am beginning to find more time for me again. I am cooking more (even getting around to my bread making and blogging) and feeling much more confident in my abilities as a mother which feels great. It has been an incredible learning curve for me and  I really don’t think I could ever truly have been prepared for what motherhood, but I hope that at least some of you soon-to-be-parents can benefit from my experience and get your food in order before that bundle of joy (and it truly is) arrives!

It is good to be back on TKITK! Thanks mom for picking up the slack during pregnancy and after!

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