When you’re baby arrives, your life may feel like it has turned upside down. The simplest tasks like eating and going to the toilet, seem difficult. I certainly didn’t realise how much of my time would be spent holding and feeding my baby! Often you only have one hand to do things – like eat food! – so having a few simple meals that can be eaten whilst nursing a baby can be handy.
It is easy to forget about eating or not prioritising meals when all your focus is on your baby. But this is a vital time to get that food in. Your body is recovering from pregnancy, labour and birth (and possibly surgery), you may be breastfeeding and you are sleep deprived. Ensuring you are getting adequate food in will help you feel the best that you can and boost your energy levels. Breastfeeding alone requires an additional 500 calories to your usual food intake, which equates to a whole extra meal. That doesn’t even take into account the healing and recovery your body is going through too!
Here are some nourishing meal ideas that will help to aid your recovery, boost your energy levels and assist quality breast milk production.
1. A slow cooked meat dish with sweet potato mash
For example, these easy slow cooked lamb shanks take five minutes to prepare and once shredded off the bone, are easy to eat with one hand. Tougher cuts of meat that require slow cooking are high in connective tissue and provide collagen (along with essential amino acids), that are extremely valuable for recovery during your postpartum period. The sweet potato mash provides a nutritious carbohydrate source for energy and breast milk production.
2. Vegetable frittata
This is perfect to get all the goodness from eggs (choline, omega-3, Vitamin D and protein) but you also get the benefits of those veggies – everything you need all in one hit!
Make it easy for yourself and cook some extra roast veggies at dinner time (for example, sweet potato, pumpkin and broccoli), then simply add them to your greased frittata tray. Whisk 8 eggs with a dash of your choice of milk, pour eggs over the veggies and then crumble some feta on top. Bake in an 180 degree oven for around 25 minutes. The beauty of this dish is that you can add whatever vegetables take your fancy or that you have from left overs.
3. Wraps with tinned salmon, salad, cheese and pesto – nutritious and easy to eat with one hand. These were a staple lunch for me in those early days!
4. Smoothies like this Simple Green Smoothie are a great way to boost your nutrient intake over the day and makes the perfect snack.
5. Scrambled eggs with avocado and spinach
6. Chicken + vegetable soup made with bone broth
This would be a great one to prepare before your baby arrives and freeze in batches. Making it with bone broth gives it that extra nutrient boost.
7. Meatloaf or shepherds pie
Another one to prepare beforehand and freeze in portions if you have the time or energy. Load it up with grated vegetables so you have a more complete meal and serve with some avocado for a good dose of those vital healthy fats.
This can easily be made the night before so you have a nutritious breakfast ready to go in the morning. Simply add some Greek yoghurt and berries to serve. Oats are also considered a galactagogue, meaning they naturally promote breast milk production.
9. Stuff On Toast
This is always a winner for snacks in between meals. There are so many different combos you could try but here are a few of my favourites that are nourishing and filling:
· Avocado with pumpkin and sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt and pepper
· Avocado, tomato, pesto and rocket
· Avocado, grilled haloumi or feta and sliced tomato
· Sardines (a super food for postpartum) in olive oil with salt and pepper and lemon juice
· Pate (another super food whilst recovering and breast feeding)
· Tomato, mozzarella, basil and olive oil
· Avocado and smoked salmon
· Prosciutto and ricotta
· Tinned salmon, avocado, and rocket
When it comes to your postpartum period, always just do the best you can for your circumstances and don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family. You are doing an amazing job!
Do you have a favourite postpartum meal or snack? I would love to hear from you! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your ideas or if you would like a more personalised nutrition plan, tailored to your needs.