The best thing I did to prepare for a healthy postpartum
Back in 2013 when I was pregnant with Sage, a friend recommended I prep a whole bunch of meals to freeze before baby. Wait, you mean prep-- for myself?! I spent my days working as a personal chef and never thought to do it for myself. So I mapped out a couple days to spend the majority of the day prepping nearly a dozen full-sized dinners for after baby was born. It turned out to be the best thing I could have done for my family.
Those early weeks and months following the birth of a new baby are busy, to say the least. Baby is #1 and everything else comes second (or third, or fourth), including nutrition. And honestly, that's ok with me-- baby SHOULD be number one, and it's just a season. I certainly didn't eat perfectly (though let's be real- there is no perfect!) during the first couple of months with both of my girls, but staying fed and nourished is crucial for the health and mood of mama, and the health of baby- especially if you're breastfeeding.
The biggest blessing we received this time around was so many friends and family willing to bring us meals. We accepted them with open arms and enjoyed them thoroughly; but those meals only last so long, and while we were still adjusting to being a family of four, having meals ready to go in the freezer was the best way to avoid the takeout trap!
After having had such a good experience with freezer meals with Sage, I decided to get an early start, this time. Instead of overwhelming myself (and my already busy schedule with a four year old) with huge all-day cooking sprees, I mapped out a plan to do a little bit each week during the final trimester of pregnancy, so I had a hefty stash on hand of not only dinners, but breakfasts and snacks as well. Here is the exact list of our freezer stash, before baby:
1 batch morning glory muffins
1 batch boobie balls
2 batches sweet potato + kale egg muffins
2 batches sweet potato, kale and beef stew
2 batches tex mex turkey taco pie
2 batches paleo shepherd's pie
2 batches beef bolognese
1 batch beef and butternut squash chili
1 batch turkey chickpea chili
1 batch asian chicken meatballs
1 batch 5-ingredient meatballs
4 32-oz jars of homemade bone broth
That's 2 weeks of breakfast (egg muffins + smoothie bags), snacks (boobie balls + morning glory muffins) and 12 dinners with minimal prep required (sometimes we made rice or pasta to go along with) and leftovers for lunches. Combine that with the meals we received from friends and family, and takeout here and there and we had nearly two months where we didn't even have to think about dinner!
I made enough meals to last us weeks- and it didn't really seem like any extra effort, at all. I could have made more, I'm sure- but as you can see above, our tiny apartment fridge was pretty full! Having quick meals on hand, ready to defrost and heat, truly is the best advantage you can give yourself for that early postpartum time.
So how did I create nearly a month's worth of meals without much effort (and how can you do it if you don't have the same time frame I did)? Check in on Wednesday for the details and my exact schedule for freezer prepping before baby!
Interested in learning how I moved beyond postpartum, when I had Sage and learned to meal plan and prep each week for a healthier life? Want to implement meal prepping in a way that fits your life? Check out my online video course, Healthy Mama Meal Prep: