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Postpartum Healing and Nature: A Joyful Combination

How to Incorporate Nature Into Your Postpartum Healing Plan

postpartum healing

The postpartum period, also know as the fourth trimester, is one of the greatest transitions in life. Therefore, there is a great deal of postpartum healing that must take place to recover emotionally and physically from the birth experience. Interestingly, both mother and partner go through a postpartum transition together.

In this time, nature or earth based elements can be a great source of grounding and healing. Kimberly Johnson writes in The Fourth Trimester about the importance of connection with the natural world in the postpartum period. It can bring great peace, balance, serenity, and calm into a time that can be stressful and anxious.

So, how do you bring nature into your life with a new baby? It is easier than it sounds. It doesn’t have to involve forest bathing or climbing mountains. Your postpartum doula can help you prepare anything you would like to bring into your space.

Ways to Bring Nature Into Your Postpartum Space

  • Artwork! Create some artwork or find some you love of your favorite nature scenes.
  • Photography – Pick a scene that inspires you and place it in your baby moon space.
  • Fresh flowers – Who doesn’t love fresh flowers? Ask someone to get them for you or pick them outside.
  • Use natural fibers and products in your space.
  • Essential oils – choose some essential oils that you love and create a self-massage ritual. Or, better yet – ask your partner or a friend for an essential oil massage. Lavender is great for easing anxiety and aches and pains.
  • Weather permitting, bring fresh air into your space. Open the windows and open the blinds or curtains.
  • Nature sounds – use a sound machine or an app that plays a variety of nature sounds. You can use this while you are resting with your new babe. This can be a very calming part of your daily healing routine.
  • Get outdoors! While you will need to rest for the first few weeks, try to get outside for some fresh air. If the weather allows, take your babe out into your yard or a brief neighborhood walk. Later, you can try longer hikes in your favorite locations with your new baby.

Have you ever done anything creative to bring nature indoors for healing? How did you incorporate nature into your postpartum healing rituals?

Outdoor Activities for Kids – My Favorites!

Simple Outdoor Activities for Kids (especially toddlers and babies!)

Outdoor Activities for Kids

There is nothing I enjoy more than getting my kids out into nature. Interestingly, there are so many parenting resources that offer outdoor lessons and very specific learning activities for young children. In my experience, one of the best things you can offer your child is free play time and a positive experience. There are many simple outdoor activities for kids that incorporate free play and exploration.

Nature is an important element for childhood development, as well as for postpartum healing. In the book titled The Fourth Trimester, Kimberly Johnson mentions that nature is an important piece of postpartum healing for new mothers. Your postpartum doula can help you find ways to immerse yourself in nature in your own home. Not only is it great for brain development, but vitamin D is essential for health. Certainly, experiencing nature provides a bounty of opportunities for all members of the family.

How to Get Started

Firstly, I encourage you to find some local places that you love. County or state parks, forests, or even your local neighborhood park can be a great place to start. If you’re in New York, an Empire Pass can save you a ton of money on local state parks. Start simple and get your kids used to simply enjoying being outdoors.

Secondly, many outdoor activities for kids cost next to nothing. Pick materials, tools, and activities that are appropriate for the age of your kids. If you want your kids to explore, consider bringing some small plastic magnifying glasses, a pail, and a shovel. There are very affordable bug or object viewers that toddlers can put an item inside and view with magnification.

Lastly, make sure you bring snacks, diapers, and whatever other items you may need to be comfortable at the park. Consider bringing a natural insect repellent and sunblock. Don’t over pack (who wants to carry more things around with them?) but plan for comfort.

So, you have picked a location and packed your bag. Now what?

Mega List of Outdoor Activities for Kids

-Create a scavenger hunt

-Give your kids a pail and shovel to explore and collect items

-Nature Texture Rubbings: place items underneath paper and rub a crayon across the paper to reveal texture.

-Nature journals: kids can draw items or animals they find in nature

-Shadow Boxes: collect some simple items and place them into a scene in a simple shoe box other recycled material

-Photography: kids can take pictures with a simple camera

-Free Play: let them explore in a location for a while. No need to plan anything. They will naturally find a way to play.

-Draw with Nature: using grass, flowers, leaves, and dirt, rub the item on a white paper. The natural dye from the objects will appear on the paper.

-Fairy houses: children can build small houses out of sticks, mud, rocks, leaves, etc for the fairies in the local forest.

-Hiking: find a toddler friendly hiking trail to explore together

What are your ideas? What are your favorite outdoor activities for kids?

5-Minute Health Hacks for a Busy Family

Are you preparing for life with a new baby? Or maybe you’re already a busy mom, trying to keep everything together? Certainly, there are many 5-minute health hacks that you can implement for a busy family. Caring for your health in the postpartum period and beyond is so important!

Firstly, I want to say that the idea of a health hack is somewhat misleading. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a 25/8 job in today’s society. But, with a few time savers, it can be easier than you might anticipate. Secondly, many of these hacks can become a part of your daily routine. When health changes become routine, it becomes much easier to implement changes and meet your goals.

5-Minute Health Hacks

  • Meal Planning: meal planning is essential for busy families. If you don’t have a meal plan for the week, then you are more likely to choose convenience foods which are less healthy. Create or purchase a meal planning template and spend 5 minutes planning your meals for the week. This also helps keep less healthy items out of your grocery cart, because we typically don’t plan to eat less healthy foods. When you put it on paper, you are more committed to making healthy choices for meals.
  • Meditation and Relaxation: stress has a major influence on our health! Stress influences our immune system, nutritional balance, sleep, hormones, and more. Take 5 minutes every day to spend time in mindful breathing or meditation. Anyone can do this. There are great apps available such as Insight Timer. Insight Timer offers free meditation tracks to help you achieve this 5-minute health hack.
  • Use a Supplement Organizer: organize all of your vitamins and supplements into a pill case or organizer. This will take you just a few minutes. It is a really helpful routine that can organize your week. It will help you remember to take supplements regularly and remind you when you need to take them. For example, you can organize your prenatal vitamins for the week.
  • Learn How to Dry Brush: dry brushing is a quick 5-minute detox. Using a bristle brush (many are made for dry brushing), brush the bristles across your skin starting on the hands and feet. Move inward towards your heart. Try to make a few passes across every patch of skin. This should take about 5 minutes, and will help you detox the larges organ of the body – skin!

5-minute health hacks

  • Make a Green Smoothie: green smoothies are a great way to introduce significant servings of fruits and vegetables into a busy lifestyle. This 5-minute health hack for busy families can help you get some important greens into your children’s diet as well. Additionally, you can add proteins or collagen for an added nutritional boost. Choose greens such as spinach or kale. Fresh or frozen greens work fine, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new greens.

It often seems challenging to maintain healthy habits in our hectic society, but these 5-minute health hacks can support busy families. Try these simple solutions to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routines!

 

Pumping While Driving is a Game Changer!

Pumping While Driving for the Busy Breastfeeding Family

Returning to work is a common challenge for breastfeeding families. You have to learn to pump breastmilk, store breastmilk, navigate needed supplies, and deal with supply and demand issues. There are many great resources such as the La Leche League that provide information on pumping basics. Pumping while driving is a time-saving skill that anyone can learn.

I have been breastfeeding for nearly five years through three babies. Organizing a pumping routine is no joke, especially if you work a nontraditional job (doula here!). Our society doesn’t make it easy for families to meet the WHO breastfeeding goals of 6 months exclusive breastfeeding.

I wanted to share a pumping hack with you that will seriously change your pumping life! CAR PUMPING!

Why would you pump while driving?

Car pumping makes it easier to get more time in your day for pumping while you are away from your baby. It is especially helpful for those of us with longer commutes. I always drive about 30 minutes or more to clients, and it can be really hard to time pumping sessions into short postpartum doula shifts or during a birth.

Supplies for pumping while driving:

  • An easy to use pumping bra (This site has a great intro to pumping bras!)
  • Car adapter for an electric breast pump
  • Double electric breast pump (I use a medela pump n style, it was the one covered by my insurance.)
  • Storage bags
  • Mini cooler bag
  • Gallon ziplock bag
  • Check out my local resources page for local stores that carry these supplies.

pumping while driving

How to get started:

Set up your pumping supplies before you start driving. Put on your pumping bra, hook up your pumping parts, and plug in your adapter. Make sure everything is adjusted perfectly, because you will not be able to look down to adjust anything while driving. It is helpful to have a shall or loose sweater for privacy if it concerns you. I use a crocheted shall while driving.

Turn on your car and start your pump. Make sure everything is set up well before driving. Pull over when your pumping session is finished. Remove the milk bottles and put them in your cup holders (make sure the cupholders are clear).  Pour the milk into storage bags and place in your cooler bag when you arrive at your destination. Take apart your pumping parts and put wet parts into the ziplock bag to be washed.

I saved time in my day by learning how to pump in the car. It’s a great way to fit in a pumping session while you are away from your baby. It has really helped me to maintain milk supply and continue to have an emergency stash for extra long births.

SAFETY is of the greatest importance. Do not take your eyes off the road to check your pumping parts. You have to simply set it up, turn it on, and drive drive drive. If you need to make any adjustments or if something doesn’t seem right, you HAVE to pull over and fix it. Please be safe and don’t let it distract your driving.

Anyone else ever pump in their car? What did you find to be helpful?

The Fetal Ejection Reflex and Pushing

Stop telling women they don’t have to push! 

In the process of physiological birth, the birthing person will feel the urge to push on their own and it will be an uncontrollable reflex called the fetal ejection reflex. The body will bear down and start pushing when the baby has made the final movements and rotations necessary to move through the birth canal. This is different than a provider checking a mother’s cervix and saying, “okay, you’re 10cm dilated. Let’s push this baby out!” Waiting for that reflex helps ensure that your baby has made the movements necessary for birth. This allows your body to use the power of this reflex to push your baby out.  

Pausing for Birth Before the Fetal Ejection Reflex

It is very common for there to be a pause in time from the moment full dilation is reached and the time that the fetal ejection reflex occurs. The birth blueprint isn’t the same for every birthing person, but this is often the case. Many times, a mother simply needs time to rest and wait for that reflex to happen. And as long as everyone is safe and healthy, there is no reason that this process needs to be rushed. This is physiological birth, and it is a very normal process.  

Your birth doula can help you navigate the process of physiological birth.

Additionally, there is an increasing awareness of this process. I often hear childbirth educators, doulas, and midwives say, “did you know you don’t even have to push your baby out? You can just breathe your baby down and your body will do the work for you.”  

However, the lifestyles we live today are far from natural and our bodies feel the burden of these changes. Imbalances in the pelvis, scar tissue, lack of movement, interventions, early pushing and birth management, nutritional status, and many other factors lead women to a different place in the birthing process. For the majority of mothers, if left undisturbed, the physiological birthing process will take over.  

But what if it doesn’t? What if the fetal ejection reflex doesn’t lead to a quick pushing phase?

Let me speak from experience. For example, in my first birth I labored for nearly 20 hours. My labor started out with a posterior baby. I was one cm dilated after hours and hours of regular contractions that were 3 minutes apart. Through transition, my body started bearing down and I felt a lot of pressure. My midwife checked my cervix and I had a cervical lip and yet my body was bearing down and I could not control my pushing. As a result, my midwife tried for a very long time to pull back the cervical lip (and holy shit I think I still may be traumatized from how painful that was).

We tried every possible pushing position – birthing stool, in the water, on the bed, standing, etc and there was very little progress. I pushed for 6 hours. Surprisingly, my daughter was born with her arm wrapped around her neck, like a scarf, behind her head.  

I absolutely HAD to work hard at pushing my baby out. It was the only way she would have been born.  

After my first birth, when I told my birth story, I had friends tell me, “you shouldn’t have to push that long in birth. Didn’t you know you don’t even have to push?”  

Bullshit.  

Tell me one more time that I didn’t have to put all my strength into pushing my baby out. 

Your Body is Not Broken

For a long time, this made me feel like there was something wrong with me and my body. Why couldn’t I just breathe my baby out like all of these other women seem to be able to do? What was wrong with me that my birth was so hard? Maybe if I did the spinning babies tricks at 30 weeks instead of 35 weeks, my labor would have been easier. Maybe if I saw my chiropractor twice a week instead of once a week. It was a really negative thinking cycle.  

The fetal ejection reflex is real. We need to give birthing mothers the space to listen to their body and feel that reflex to harness the power of physiological birth. However, there are a ton of birthing situations in which that doesn’t or can’t happen. Sometimes, babies find themselves in challenging positions. In these situations, you really do need to work hard at pushing in combination with other techniques to move that baby. What if mom has an epidural? Is it really okay to tell her that she doesn’t have to push when she can’t even feel that reflex?  

I’m definitely not advocating for directed pushing, purple pushing, or any of those things.

But…

Birth can be really hard.  

You can have a long pushing phase of labor, even if you did ALL the things to promote a natural birth process. And let me tell you, I have been a doula at many births with some crazy long pushing phases. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly draining and scary for families as the risks of complications arise.  

When you tell a mother she doesn’t have to push, you’re not truly preparing her for birth. It ignores the possibility that she may need to work hard to push her baby out. You’re invalidating that struggle and all of the emotions and feelings of failure that come with it. 

We need to stop telling mothers that they don’t have to push, and instead prepare them for what they may need to do in a challenging situation. Therefore, we need to prepare them for endurance, physically and emotionally, and let them know that it absolutely can be a variation of normal.  

Two Under Two Survival Guide

Tips for Surviving and Thriving With a Toddler and a Newborn

Congratulations! You’re pregnant! You’re passing through the first year of life with an infant, and you’re finding yourself planning to do it all again. Caring for a toddler while pregnant can be a beautiful and challenging experience – all at the same time. There are so many big emotions that can arise during this time, and in this blog post I will address some of the most common concerns I hear from families.

Mom Guilt

Even when a pregnancy is very much planned and the whole family is excited, it’s not unusual for moms to experience feelings of guilt. You’re watching your baby growing up, yet you’re growing another baby as well. You might be wondering, how am I going to give my toddler the attention he/she needs? How can I spend my time bonding with my new baby while caring for my toddler?

You might feel guilty for having to share your time and your heart. These are all very normal feelings, and I’d really love to give you a hug right now. It is 100% okay to feel overjoyed and yet scared, nervous, or overwhelmed. I have gone through the two under two phase twice now, and I have experienced the whole spectrum of these emotions throughout the duration of my pregnancies and the postpartum time. You may be wondering how you can share so much love, and give so much of yourself and your heart to another child. A funny thing happens when you have another baby. Your heart suddenly expands and will grow to encircle another new person. Every time. 

This is what is so amazingly profound and beautiful about the postpartum time. No matter how many babies you have, whether you are having your first or your fifth, every time your heart grows to encircle another you become changed person in the process. There may be growing pains, but think of it as a beautiful expansion rather than an ending point.

Tips for the Newborn and Toddler Transition

  • Spend one on one time with your toddler every day. This may seem hard or nearly impossible, but it doesn’t have to be a big deal. For example, you could have someone hold your newborn for a few minutes and do bath time with your toddler. Read them their favorite story while your baby naps. Sing them a song that is theirs alone every morning. Simple moments in the day can make a really big difference.
  • Create a basket of special items that your toddler can use only when you are feeding your new baby. When you’re feeding your baby, your toddler can get their super cool basket and play, draw, read, etc. I find that the dollar stores have a lot of really attractive items to use for these baskets.

kidbasket.jpg
A Toddler Basket

  • Keep a basket of your toddler’s favorite books near wherever you sit with your baby. Let’s face it, if you’re breastfeeding, you’re doing a lot of sitting in bed, on the couch, or in a chair and nursing nursing nursing. If you keep some favorite books near you, you can nurse your baby while snuggling up with a good book with your toddler.
  • Learn baby wearing! If you haven’t already learned about baby wearing, you absolutely need to. Wearing your new baby in a sling or soft wrap will help you to be mobile and hands free to help your toddler. If you can learn to nurse your baby in a sling, that makes it even easier to work with your toddler. It’s really tiring and difficult to follow a toddler around the home and yard with a baby in your arms.
  • Plan some special snacks for your toddler for the first few weeks postpartum. Use the snack-sized storage bags and fill them with their favorites. Some good ideas are granola, trail mix, cereal, etc. Healthy snacks are best but you want to plan something that they will enjoy. After all, this is kind of about survival at this stage. I promise, your kiddo will be fine with some goldfish and teddy grahams if that’s what it takes. Another benefit of this snack prep is that anyone can simply just give them a snack. Store them in a cupboard or storage bin on the counter. Anyone helping you around your home, or even an older child, simply needs to just give them a snack bag and they’re set.
  • Find meaningful ways for your toddler to help with the new baby. This is very age dependent, but I find most toddlers love to take on simple tasks like “warming wipes” for the baby by holding the cool wipes in their hands while you get the dirty diaper off. Let them pick out the baby’s clothes. Ask them to get diapers or wipes for you. They will enjoy helping and it helps bring everyone together in caretaking.
  • Read books about birth, babies, and becoming a big brother/sister. There are so many amazing books out there. Find ones that resonate with your family and your parenting style. Talk to your toddler about what it might be like to feed the baby, change baby’s diapers, and why the baby might cry. Talk to them about how important they are as a big brother or big sister. You can talk about how they might want to help with the baby, and involve them in family decisions when appropriate. Your toddler can even help your doctor or midwife at prenatal appointments and they’re usually so accommodating and love to let the little ones help. Some of our favorites are What Baby Needs by William and Martha Sears and I’m a Big Sister/Brother by Joanna Cole.

watbabyneeds.jpg
What Baby Needs by Martha and William Sears

  • Watch the language you use when you talk about your new baby. Avoid using phrases like “the baby” or “my baby” and instead try to say “our baby.” The difference sounds miniscule, but it means a lot in terms of including everyone in the family.
  • Plan opportunities for family bonding. This doesn’t have to be anything that is hugely structured, but little routines can go a long way with toddlers. One idea is to ask your toddler if they want to sing a song to the new baby before they go to bed at night. Involving everyone together instead of isolating each kid to individual routines helps bring the family together.
  • Give yourself a break. You might find that you need to let go of some things that you used to be very strict about. You have to pick your battles. Does it really matter if your toddler has matching socks every day? No. Does it matter if they stay in their pajamas in the morning? Probably not. The Cheerios aren’t going anywhere, so it’s okay to let them stay on the floor for a bit if need be. You get my point. Sometimes you need to let go a little and think about what really matters and your priorities will change. It is 100% okay to LET THINGS GO and just live in the moment with your babies.

I hope you found this helpful in your journey, whether you are deep into two under two survival or just considering taking the plunge.

 

Smoothie Ideas

Hey Mindful Mamas! Check out this week’s YouTube video where I make one of my favorite smoothies. I have been really into using powdered greens in smoothies for some extra nutrition, since I have been either pregnant, breastfeeding, or both for the past 5 years. Focusing on nutrition helps so much with maintaining balance and calm in my life.

In this smoothie, I use:

-Organic Greek Yogurt: you can use any yogurt, I like the extra protein boost of Greek yogurt

-Powdered greens: there are so many different types of powdered greens. I prefer to use one that is food based without added herbs. The brand I am currently using is a mixture of super greens, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.

-Frozen strawberries

-Chia seeds: I add these to provide an extra boost of fats and iron.

-Pomegranate juice

-Coconut oil

Enjoy! What’s in your favorite smoothie?

Baby Led Weaning

How to Start Baby-Led Weaning and Why You’d Want To

Looking to learn more about how to introduce your baby to solid foods? In this blog post, I will discuss the popular method of starting solids called baby led weaning. The name sounds like exactly what it means.

Baby led weaning is the process of feeding your baby solid foods in way that allows them to listen to their cues and follow their own abilities to feed independently. No spoons or purees here.

Typically, baby led weaning involves offering your baby soft cooked veggies and fruits, or other healthy foods, in finger-sized pieces. Baby then can pick up the food independently and bring it to their mouth, biting off pieces to practice chewing, and move the food around their mouth to swallow. Many families offer soft avocado slices, soft steamed veggie pieces, and sometimes toast with spreads or dips as starter foods. Most families offer their infant the same food eaten by the rest of the family. The main point is that baby is able to eat solid foods independently, without an adult putting a spoon into their mouth.

Baby led weaning can start as soon as your baby hits several developmental milestones. This includes sitting unassisted, development of a pincer grasp, able to pick up food and move it to their mouth, and loss of the tongue thrust reflex (the reflex to spit out food) and a decreased gag reflex. Typically this starts around 6 months, but can take longer for many babies. Be sure to consult your health care provider before starting solid foods with your infant.

Benefits of Baby Led Weaning

  • Development of oral feeding skills – as your baby learns to chew and move the food around on their own, they are developing their oral muscles they need for proper speech development. Sucking baby food off of a spoon uses the oral muscles differently than moving small pieces around the mouth with the tongue.
  • Development of independence and listening to the body’s cues – your baby will learn to eat as they are hungry and interested, rather than the amount being determined by an adult. Your baby will be able to eat according to their own cues, which sets your baby up for healthy eating habits later in life.
  • Introduction to family foods and healthy choices – Your baby will become introduced to the foods eaten by the family rather than separate prepared baby food.
  • It’s so much less work! No specially prepared or purchased baby food and the messiness that comes with purees. (But that doesn’t mean there won’t be clean up!)

Baby Led Weaning is a fantastic book that is a great resource for baby led weaning. I don’t get anything from Amazon for linking their site, but it’s an affordable book to purchase. I also have it available in my library for clients to borrow as needed!

The Baby Led Weaning website is also a fantastic resource to learn more about how to get started.

We have used baby led weaning with all of our babies, and we plan to with our little squish as well. He is now 6 months, and showing some but not all of the signs of readiness. My second child was very slow to start solids, and yet my oldest started very enthusiastically right at 6 months. Every child is different.

babyledweaning
6 months – He’s not totally interested but willing to play!

As a Mindful Mama, I encourage you to connect with your baby and follow the path that feels right for your family. Every child is different and unique, so be sure to follow your instincts and consult with your pediatrician.

How to Use Cloth Wipes

Want to add cloth wipes into your diapering routine? Are you afraid to get started?

It can seem very overwhelming to get started using cloth diapers and wipes. I started using cloth wipes when my first baby was born. You know all of those thin baby washcloths you got at your baby shower? You can use those as cloth wipes.

We used the very thin ones, and supplemented with some second hand purchases as well, as our cloth wipes stash for my first two babies. They last forever, and even over 4 years later we still have some of those wipes floating around. We have traveled with them, and used them for all kinds of baby and kid cleaning. I would suggest creating a stash by planning to use 2-3 wipes per diaper change. So if you plan 10-12 diapers in the newborn period, that makes 30-40 cloth wipes.

Why do I use cloth wipes?

I use cloth wipes because I feel it is the best way to control what gets put on my baby’s bottom. I can choose my ingredients (if any) to use in my wipes solution. It’s also much better for the environment because there is less waste from using individual paper wipes. Thirdly, it’s a huge cost savings. Natural wipes can be very expensive. We spend next to nothing on our cloth stash and never have to worry about having wipes in stock.

How to Use Cloth Wipes

Build a Stash of Wipes

You can get the wipes in a variety of ways. You can use thin baby wipes, purchase cloth wipes from a shop, or make your own. You can make your own using old receiving blankets or flannel, cut into squares or rectangles, and then finish the edges. There are a few different types of wipes, and some are made with thicker layers of fabric for really rough messes. Have fun experimenting. If you’re feeling wild, you could even use some fun patterns or have your older kids choose them and make the wipes together.

Make a Wipe Solution

A wipe solution is the liquid used on the wipes to help clean up baby’s bottom when changing a diaper. You can simply use water (just like water wipes…which are interestingly expensive and offered in many hospitals…), or you can add some ingredients of your choice. We use a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s soap, a tablespoon of witch hazel, and a tablespoon of aloe vera gel. I add this to water inside a spray bottle and spray the wipes before use. You can also simply put your cloth wipes into a container and add the solution to the container.

How to Clean Cloth Wipes

You can clean your cloth wipes just like you wash your diapers. We through them right into our cloth diaper pail and wash them with all of our cloth diapers. They always come out very squeaky clean and have never stained.

We have been using cloth wipes for over 4 years now, and it has been worth the small bit of extra planning to use them. They save us a ton of money, they’re better for babies, and they’re pretty fun too.

Fluff Love also has some great resources to learn more about how to use cloth wipes.

Have you ever used cloth wipes? What is your method?

One-Handed Foods for Postpartum Parents

10 Simple Snacks to Eat While Nursing or Holding Your Baby

Wondering what foods to prepare for yourself and family while caring for your baby? One-handed foods can be a game changer for nursing parents and anyone snuggling a new baby. During my last pregnancy, I made weeks worth of freezer meals for my family. They were great to keep everyone nourished and well. However, I ignored an important component of postpartum eating – you will rarely have two hands free to eat! My specially prepared soups and stews were fantastic, but not always the easiest to eat.

  1. Mini Calzones – Choose your favorite pizza dough and roll out to about the size of your hand. Fill with whatever you choose, but don’t overstuff. Fold the dough in half and close the shell by crimping the opening with a fork. Wrap individually in parchment paper and freeze. You can throw as many of these as you want in the oven for an easy to eat meal.
  2. Protein Packed Muffins – Use your favorite healthy muffin recipe and pack it with healthy proteins. You can then freeze the muffins and save them for after birth.
  3. Cucumber Veggie Stackers – Cut a cucumber into round slices. Add avocado, cheese, tomato, hummus, or your other favorites for a quick snack.
  4. Fruit & Veggies with dips – Cut up your favorite fruits and vegetables and add your dip of choice (hummus, almond butter, etc.)
  5. Yogurt and Granola Bowls – Greek yogurt topped with your choice of granola packs a protein punch
  6. Breakfast Burritos – build your favorite breakfast burritos. You can wrap them individually and freeze for the whole family.
  7. Date and Nut Bars – make and freeze your own date and nut bars. You can customize these bars and they are much cheaper than buying pre-made bars.
  8. Smoothies – Smoothies are a great way to stay nourished, and you can easily sip them throughout the day. Use your favorite ingredients. You can even use reusable pouches and make them for the whole family and store in the fridge.
  9. Rice Cakes with Nut Butter – Extra fats and protein in an easy to eat snack
  10. Pita Sandwiches – Pita bread can be easily stuffed with anything you desire for an easy to prepare meal. They tend to hold their contents better than bread for sandwiches, so your baby won’t be covered by your meal.

The best thing about these foods is that they are really simple to prepare. Try to choose foods that can simply be put from the freezer to the oven or made quickly with easily accessible ingredients. This makes it so easy for your partner, other friends or family, or your postpartum doula to keep everyone well nourished. The bottom line is that if it’s too difficult or arduous of a task for a new mother to eat, she might not be eating enough and you want to make sure that nutritious food is easily accessible.

Freezer meals are also really important for postpartum recovery, but that’s a topic for another post entirely.

What were your favorite postpartum snacks? Did you find anything especially easy to prepare? I would love to hear your ideas.