Foodie Friday: Essential foods for the new mom

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Categories Foodie Fridays, Mommy Issues

With the birth week theme of this week, I thought I’d focus the Foodie Friday column on foods that are great for new moms to have in the hospital or in the house once they (and babies) come home. I think this is especially key if you are breastfeeding, because you will soon find that you can out-eat any teenage boy you know—even the varsity sport playing teenage boy. It’s stunning.

Lesson #1: Food in the hospital is terrible. Really awful. You haven’t eaten for two days, what with hours of  labor and a c section (they made me wait about 15 hours after my c section to eat solid foods), and there on your tray is this “mushroom ravioli” which consists of two cold ravioli, covered with canned mushrooms. Seriously, it was awful. Happily, our hospital is within spitting distance of a Whole Foods, where my husband would often make emergency food runs. The best thing someone brought me in the hospital? A chocolate milkshake from Friendly’s. It was so, so good. However, although the food in the hosital was horrible, they did have a coffee & cookie cart that came around every afternoon around 2-3pm. It was fantastic–five kinds of cookies to choose from, or coffee, tea or hot cocoa. For a mom who had been up for days, a bit of sugar and caffeine at 3pm was just what the doctor ordered. I really missed the cookie cart when I got home.

Lesson #2: Breastfeeding moms, as I mentioned before, can eat a TON of food. I always craved sweet stuff. Chocolate chip cookies were a staple in our house those first few weeks. Juice, which I almost never drink, was suddenly so, so tasty. Remember, even if you’re not breastfeeding, you’re awake A LOT. Which means, you get hungry.

Lesson #3: Food you have on hand should require little prep—can it be eaten cold? That’s the best!—and hopefully eaten with one hand. Often, your other hand will be busy. Often, you have one bite and come back to it 10 minutes later. Most foods do not survive six re-heatings in the microwave in a tasty manner. Some of the best foods to have on hand were cookies (see above–yum), a big fruit salad, pasta salad and easy snacks like cheese and crackers. A friend made us some granola, with nuts and coconut—so good! This also is a easy but filling food for new moms. We still make a fresh batch of home-made granola every couple of weeks.

What did others find were the best foods to have on hand those first few weeks home? Share your ideas!

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14 thoughts on “Foodie Friday: Essential foods for the new mom”

  1. I lived on granola bars the first few weeks. I had them stashed in every room and at every nursing “station” throughout the house. As you said, they could be eaten with one hand, or occasionally, with no hands in extreme circumstances! I also had lots of ice cream and continued my Boost high-protein shakes. I wasn’t eating as much as I knew I needed to so I had to make what I did actually consume count!

  2. I lived on granola bars, nuts, string cheese and sandwiches for a long time! It is definitely good to have “one-handed” foods on hand, especially if nursing. I don’t think I attempted to eat a salad until 4/5 months…there was just no way I could chew fast enough to make it worth while! Wraps and pita pockets are good ways to make your food easier to eat. Yougurt, fruit and toast were other mainstays.

    The very best “food gifts” that we received were: a fruit bouquet (strawberries, grapes and pineapple on skewers) and a huge box of food from Honey Baked Ham. My husband’s company sent it to us, and it was great for feeding ourselves, and the whirlwind of company we had the first few days.

  3. I also NEVER drink Juice…BUT DRANK IT ALL THE TIME after i had the babies. There’s just something about OJ & Grape Juice & Cranberry juice…i don’t know what it was. I would request 3-4 juices each time a nurse came in to check on me. DELICIOUS! Um…and where would ANY twin mommy be without a gallon of caffeine a day…coffee, diet cokes, anything with caffeine! Also, It’s like a twin thing…but i also CRAVED chocolate chip cookies! I was soo desperate to eat them..i had my own stash in the night stand so the au pair didn’t eat them all before i had my fix. Maybe that is why i couldn’t loose the weight. I’d get up in the middle of the night and feed the babies, go in the living room and pump and then go back to bed to eat some COOKIES! AHH…the days of no sleep and lots of sweets! Now, i’ll take sleep over cookies any day! :) I also loved chex mix…and the dorito brand was great too!

    That was a great posting! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I was a candy fiend when we first got home. I had a stash that I would raid before & after feeding the boys. I also lived on PB&J. I swear I was eating 4 or 5 sandwiches a day. I still have at least 1 a day even now and the boys are 8.5 months!

  5. Sweets were my mainstay pre-babies and definitely post-babies! I ate SOOOOO many Balance bars, Nutribars (don’t know if they even make these any more), Powerbars…all of ’em. They were quick and VERY energy providing.
    (Still eat ’em all up!)

    For me, if I drank juice, it made the babies wiggy…but I COULD eat spicy (slightly) with minimal (if any) noticable effect. Although ours were SO refluxy, who knows what was my intake and what was their struggling digestion.

    Great, Great post!

  6. The best present I received while in the hospital was a basket full of snacks. It contained trail mix, yogurt cereal bars (Barbara’s Bakery) and Mother’s Milk Tea. I was ADDICTED to those fruit and yogurt bars as well as Mother’s Milk Tea by the time I got home from the hospital. I could easily eat an entire box of those bars in a day…and I am not the type to eat weird nutritional bars. To this day, I still love them and, even though they are way too expensive, I buy them. I also genuinly love the taste of Mother’s Milk Tea. Even though I’m completely done with the whole lactation thing, I buy it. :)

    Oh–and egg salad sandwiches. I couldn’t get enough of them! I think my mom was constantly hard boiling eggs to make the stuff!

  7. Ooh yeah, my mom brought me some chicken salad from a deli near my aunt’s house. I was addicted, and it was so great to have around. You could grab a forkful, you could make a quick sandwich without even needing any condiments… Yum.

    And I kept a pretty good stash of Luna bars, especially when I was on my own. At least I knew they tasted pretty good (the Nutz over Chocolate variety), were reasonably filling, and had some redeeming nutritional value with the protein and all of that.

  8. This is bad, but it worked. Pop Tarts! And although I don’t normally drink juice either, I drank a ton of it while pregnant (especially when on hospital bedrest) and when BF’ing. And I loved anything anyone brought over already individually portioned out and easily microwaved.

  9. I lived on scrambled eggs and bacon. It seemed I couldn’t make a day the first few weeks without eggs or I would get all shaky! Something about the protein I guess. Also cookies was a huge need in those crazy times. And when I had a chance french vanilla yogurt w/granola and cashews. I just couldn’t believe how much I could eat at a time for the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding twins. People would bring us a meal and I could have eaten the entire thing but, alas I had to let my husband and two other children eat as well. I love hearing all these birth stories, everyone is so amazing and crazy! Thanks for having this blog.

  10. Oatmeal! I bought a large pack of flavored instant oatmeal from Costco before the boys were born and have eaten it every morning since we got home from the hospital. Oh and when my husband makes dinner on the weekends, he’ll bbq chicken or hamburger and always make way extra so I can easily reheat it and eat a chicken sandwich or hamburger on whole grain bread during the week. Also, he makes large batches of pasta and potato salad to last the week. My friend brought over homemade cinnamon rolls with extra cream cheese frosting the first week we were home and they were amazing!

  11. Before we came home from the hospital, my mom stocked our fridge with sandwich fixin’s from the deli. During those early days, when I was starving and eating around the clock, I loved having that stuff on hand to fix a quick sandwich. Or, if I didn’t even have time for that, to roll together piece of turkey and swiss cheese as a tasty snack.

  12. What a great topic! I prepped and froze several weeks’ worth of casseroles during my second trimester, which were incredibly helpful once our girls came home. I’m just not a fan of cold foods!

    The most thoughtful gift we got was from my coworkers, who pooled their money and bought us $200 worth of gift certificates to restaurants within walking distance of the hospital where our girls were at the NICU. This meant that my husband and I could have some quality meals without having to venture too far from the girls’ side(s) or have to worry about eating out expenses on top of the emergency purchase of breast pump and car seat.

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