meal planning

Preparing meals in bulk before baby comes is a wonderful way to ensure that your 4th trimester will be one of relaxation, recovery and bonding. The last thing you want to think about while taking care of a newborn and possibly older siblings, is making dinner, or breakfast…..or lunch. Meal planning is a great way to ensure everyone gets fed without being the one to actually make the meals. Here I share a few things I’ve learned about meal planning and preparation, so that you can follow this sage advice: Sleep when baby sleeps; cook when baby cooks.

  1. Results May Vary.
    Preparing meals in bulk sounds like a great idea at the time….just like those adorable crafty cakes and newborn pictures on Pinterest, but it is NOT the time to try a new recipe. Making 10 meals of something that you over salted or realizing that exotic spice you went all the way across town for is unpleasant can be very disappointing when you look at the next 20 meals your family needs to consume, and you just want to throw it all out. Stick to known recipes and family favorites.
  2. Timing is everything.
    The goal of preparing for your postpartum period with meal prep is to make postpartum easier. But what about making the end of your pregnancy easier? Unless you’re pregnant in the dead of winter, standing over a hot stove for several hours, preparing meals to eat months from now can be a very daunting task. If you have a freezer for long term storage, start in your second trimester; you know the mythical one with extra energy and no morning sickness!  Or, just stock up on frozen pizza, we won’t tell.
  3. It’s all about support.
    The more the merrier! Getting friends together to share the load can make a daunting task feel more like a party! Set up a recipe swap, create an assembly line, crank up the music and viola! Meals for everyone! What? You’re not buying it? Did visions of 5 friends hunched over their Google calendars, trying to find a full Saturday to cook and clean just pop into your head too?
  4. Expect the unexpected.
    It takes about 364 times longer than expected to make the meals you need.
    Unless you like to eat exactly the same things over and over again, night after night, getting all those beautiful Ziploc bags lined up flat and ready for the freezer in one afternoon, can actually take 4 days of list making, 3 days of shopping, two return trips for forgotten items and 2 days of standing on your feet in the kitchen. Don’t forget to double times for each step, additional naps, and of course the occasional pint……..of ice cream.
  5. You should probably just hire a professional.
    Skip the time intensive work, and hire a professional. A postpartum doula with meal preparation skills can make a world of difference. Hiring out gives you plenty of delicious food to nourish your body and your family; while you focus on recovery from birth, and bonding with your new little one. If list making and planning isn’t for you, but the actual cooking is your jam, your postpartum doula can help you get organized, and even do the shopping so you don’t have to. If you like the planning, but lack in execution, have them come to your home and make it smell of delightful dishes while you take a nap or a nice long bath. For a true luxurious experience, turn it all over to your professional. After a short consultation to customize your meals to your preferences, they can do all the work for you. Lists, shopping, meal prep, cooking and freezing. Your wish is our command.

Blog Author Jenn Leonard is a childbirth educator, labor, sibling and postpartum doula, and owner of Colorado Mountain Doulas Agency.

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