Feeding Our Families ~ Postpartum Meal Planning

When Iain was born there was just the two of us to feed and absolutely zero thought was given to planning food for the postpartum period.  Steve would come home with plastic cups full of prepared fresh fruit salad from the grocery store and we’d eat baked potatoes and pasta in bed and I don’t believe it felt like a strain at all.

By the time Elijah came along I had made some serious dietary changes.  Our kitchen life wasn’t quite so easy anymore.  We had just moved and the situation over-all wasn’t ideal.  It was really Steve’s first time caring for Iain alone and I think that was kind of over-whelming.  It’s not that he wasn’t an involved father before, he’s always been that.  It’s just there was no real need for him to be involved in the day to day caring aspects.  He would come home from work and everything would be under control.  There might be a couple of dishes to do, but otherwise he was free to devote his time to playing with and reading to our little guy.  This time around things felt stressful.  We ate a lot of prepared food the first couple of days, that did not do well by our bellies and I really felt pressured (not at all by Steve, just by the situation) to be back to “normal” much sooner then was reasonable and I seriously paid for it health-wise.

I was ill for much of my pregnancy with Galen and very worried about being able to care for everyone after.  With the memory of our last experience in mind I went manic- Type A and prepared a binder full of several weeks worth of food schedules.  Every possible detail was in there, right on down to how to prepare the herbal baths and infusions from the blends I had made during my pregnancy.

With Màiri our life circumstances were such that I couldn’t have possibly done anything in advance to prepare.  Every day was full to overflowing with just the tasks that needed to be accomplished to survive that day.  Luckily we had a wonderful community around us that organized around 3 weeks worth of home-cooked dinners for us, for which I will be forever grateful.

And here we are again, with more dietary restrictions then ever and more mouths to feed.  We have no real community nearby to speak of at them moment.  From the beginning I’ve felt that I would need to be really thoroughly prepared if things are to run smoothly after the baby comes.  And I thought the timing of this post would be just perfect because by the beginning of March, surely I would have just about everything in order.  While I’m not truly expecting this baby anytime soon (I tend to have very long pregnancies), the fact is we’re at the point where any time is fair game.

And so, as of yesterday this is what I had to share with you….

Pictures of snowmen.  Do I get any kind of credit for the snowmen having carrot noses?  These ones were supposed to be our family, in snowman form, on an unfortunately melt-y day.  Some of us didn’t make out too well.

And this one appeared outside my window to cheer me up on a day when I wasn’t feeling well…

Complements of Iain and Elijah, dear sweet souls.

In other words I was pretty much no where.  I believe I had two meals in the basement freezer.  Which is enough to get us through all of 2/3 of a day, provided nobody needs a snack.

I started off well.  In autumn when we were putting up the bounty of our garden, I did a lot of baking to preserve food with this time in mind; zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini bread, roasted pumpkin muffins.  One day I got well into making a large batch of apple sauce, only to discover I was out of canning lids, and so I made batch after batch of applesauce muffins instead.  The problem was that between then and now there have been more then enough occasions where we’ve just needed to grab something quick when running out the door or I was in need of an easy middle of the night snack, that, well every single last one of those things is long gone.

Trying to get back on track now, yesterday I spent the entire afternoon making Beef Bolognese.  I used the recipe found at the bottom of this page, times six, switching out coconut milk for the cream.

Currently there is a double batch of Carrot-Ginger-Coconut Muffins cooling on the counter and headed for the freezer.

I’m making lists.  I’m a great one for making lists you know.  I can plan and plan until the sun comes down, it’s the follow through that is sometimes lacking.  I have a list going of easy to prepare foods.  A list of food the kids don’t mind cooking and a list of foods to try to freeze.  I’m measuring out all the ingredients for our Wednesday morning hot cereal and storing it in jars with cooking instructions, making sauces and freezing chicken in them so that it can marinate and be ready to cook as it thaws.  We’ll have baking day twice this week, eating just a bit and freezing the rest.  And whenever I can I’ll be doubling the meals I make and freezing half.

I would love to hear other people’s experiences with postpartum meal planning.  What worked for you?  What didn’t?  Any fabulous meal suggestions?

Expect posts this week by:


21 thoughts on “Feeding Our Families ~ Postpartum Meal Planning

  1. Heather

    Oh my, roasted pumpkin muffins, those sound divine. I had a similar evolution in the kitchen, and with children as you have. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Rose

    I found that keeping a large mason jar *full* of homemade trail mix–roasted hazelnuts, unsulphured apricots, coconut shavings, dried cherries, raw walnuts, raw almonds, cacao nibs OR choc. chips, dried blueberries, a tsp or so of salt sprinkled in was a real help during those early nursing days of I Need Food Now! It’s easy to grab, nutrient dense and full of fiber.

  3. a little crafty nest

    Oh Melody…if we lived close to you, I’d bring a meal by for your freezer! Or I’d reel people in for a food train. These last few days/weeks of a pregnancy can easily fill up with the planning and list-making (at least for me, a thoroughly Virgo kind of mama). Making double or triple batches of soup is a great idea, as is baking. I really avoided lots of foods (I had great lists of the foods to avoid) because I was so worried about colic (which never happened). I’m certain fruit salad with a side of yogurt was a go-to food for me post-partum and easy for my husband and whichever little was around to help. I enjoyed homemade bread with soups, too. Smoothies. But I had two summer babes and one November babe. Your littlest one will arrive with the fresh spring greens and nettles will be wonderful to incorporate into your post-partum food plan. So all this rambling, I’ve come to nettles ~ steamed or made into a creamy soup. (My mouth is watering). Sending lots of good wishes on these last few weeks for you.
    xo Jules

  4. Rachel

    I had my second little one last spurn and have a ton of weird food restrictions for terrible migraines ie cheese, onions, citrus, soy, etc it’s a long list and I packed our extra freezer here is what came out good ( I found your blog via the feeding families so I don’t know your restrictions but you can always tweak them to be gluten free or find a version that works for you! ) turkey meatballs were awesome, sauce homemade or store bought, par baked pizza crusts ( make huge batch of dough spread out on pan bake till almost done then cool and wrap- they fit your pan and are ready for toppings, homadrefried beans ( use crock pot!), homemade hummus it freezes, minestrone make without noodles and freeze make noodles when eating it, empanadas! These freeze awesome make lots use food processes to make dough I used Martha Stewarts recipe, waffles if you have a waffle iron or pancakes freeze well, cookies, granola, last I found making a list of the meals and snacks in the freezer and taping it to the outside of freezer was great-cross off meals as you use them so you know what’s left in there feel free to email me if you need details! It can be done !

  5. Melody Post author

    Jules, you are a dear! But I do think that continent between us will be a bit of a hindrance. There will be fresh spring greens at some point, in theory. At the moment winter still seems to have a stronghold on us with no signs of letting up. I think this baby is likely to be rather well established here before we see any signs of green.

  6. MamaAshGrove

    Oh yes, the lists. For me, I often don’t even consult the many lists I make- it’s the act of writing things down, I guess!
    When I had my Sunbaby, our home school community threw me a “meal baby shower.” it was absolutely wonderful.
    You are so much better organized and full of food ideas than I am. . . so nothing I could say would be of any use to you, so I will send HUGS from sort-of far away! And to remind you of how big and proficient your boys are in the kitchen- they could probalby take care of everything after baby comes. :)

  7. sondra

    With seven weeks to go until baby number 3 enters our family, this post is quite timely. Just yesterday I made my list, remember all too well those post-partum days of less than ideal meals and chinese food so often we knew the delivery man by first name. We also have gluten allergies with both my boys, so just “grabbing” a snack at the grocery store or drive-through is not possible. On the docket are (all gluten free) banana waffles (with make ahead mix for when my husband needs to prepare breakfast), lots of chopped/frozen fruits for smoothies, frozen banana/yogurt “fake”ice cream (which happened by accident when I froze a smoothie), corn- chicken- and black bean enchiladas, pizza bagels (on gluten free bagels with veggie pureed ragu and moz. cheese) for the boys, lots of butternut squash puree to add to oatmeal or other baked goods in the morn, and plenty of trail mix. Some other things we keep on hand are frozen muffin tin sized servings of rice (which easily turns into rice pudding when you put it into some simmering coconut milk), and I also want to try making potato/carrot/veggie pancakes for the boys. Of course, my ideas/intentions are grand and will require lots of kitchen time so I usually have to double or triple a batch of something. But, the one question I do have is….how does everybody else mark their mason jars or plastic bags for the freezer? I tried permanent marker and it often “disappears” after spending some time in the deep freezer. any ideas?

  8. Melody Post author

    Sometimes masking tape labeled with a marker works. Sometimes it peels away. It partially depends on what you are trying to adhere it to. I’m getting to the point where I might just start tying tags around the necks of mason jars.

  9. Taisa

    Well that darn continent is going to be in the way of me bringing some food over too, unfortunately! I did manage to get a little in the freezer with the last pregnancy, but not nearly all that I had wanted. I froze some whole meals (soups and stews mostly,) but ended up being the handiest for me was the things I froze in single servings so that I could just warm them up quickly when I was hungry myself. I froze fish patties that way, and some casserole type things cut in pieces etc. With my first baby I froze a ton of meals but all of them had dairy in them and he reacted to it, so Perry ended up eating them on his own! This time we also made big batches of grain-free waffles and pancakes and freeze the extras for easy breakfasts which was handy. Good luck mama! You’ve been on my mind a lot- sending lots of warm thoughts your way.
    hugs, Taisa

  10. Sarah

    As much as I wanted fill my freezer full during my last pregnancy, I did not feel much like cooking and towards the end I had a hard time standing for long periods of time working in the kitchen. Somehow we managed! Good luck to you!

  11. renee~heirloomseasons

    I do understand, even without us having food restrictions and such, when I was pregnant and never stopped throwing up the whole entire time, well that was really tricky for us in the kitchen! Especially with the bread, which I know you don’t do, but you know our home baked bread is a big part of our everyday meals. And even knowing that I was likely going to be ill for the first few months, what was I supposed to do? Put 100 loaves of bread in the freezer!? Not even possible for someone like me who spends most of her time cooking and baking anyhow.
    You seem to be getting a pretty good start at it again! Between your incredibly capable and helpful boys, and your now more experienced husband, and your crockpot :)
    Yes, you still remind me of crockpots, or the other way around perhaps, or both.
    I so so wish I could bring you meals. Let’s just for a moment pretend that we are not all so so far away from each other…
    Sending happy baby and good food wishes!
    Renee <3

  12. renee~heirloomseasons

    Oh, and how about a shepherd’s pie waiting in the freezer for right after baby is born? I learned from Ginny that that is a traditional baby moon meal, and I remember we did that when Elsa was born…

  13. Melody Post author

    Shepherd’s pie is actually one of the two things that I mentioned having in the freezer ;) But I think more will be needed. Though I’ll probably make cottage pie (with a yam topping instead of potato) to make it more nutrient dense.

  14. sarah

    Ah yes, I remember feeling like that! Except I only have 1 child, so I have no idea how you do it all :) I never found any awesome recipes to freeze (none that I tried came out great) but my husband did love the stash of frozen cookie dough balls and waffles I made ahead. Luckily we had several weeks of dinners dropped off– so that got us through the really crazy part. I remember eating a LOT of hummus and trail mix :) Have you seen the crockpot freezer meals cookbook from Mama & Baby Love? The recipes aren’t the most amazing tasting or anything, but they are nutritious and quick and wonderful to have on hand for times like this! Best of luck to you, it sounds like you’re on track for having a pretty good stash by the time baby is here!

  15. Melody Post author

    That vegan shepherd’s pie looks delicious! Though you are not supposed to cook with flax seed oil (tsk, tsk). Similar constraints here unfortunately, as we can no longer have beans and we’re not really supposed to have mushrooms (though I cheat on that one from time to time and mushrooms sound really, really good right now).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>