Stocking up food before baby arrives
I have a neighbor who is due any day, and I'm expecting my first baby in a few short months. One of the most consistent pieces of advice that I've received from countless sources is to make a bunch of easily reheatable, easy to eat food before the baby arrives.
So what would you make? I'm thinking easy dinner meals, as well as "on the go" type foods that I can grab in the middle of all my other new parenting tasks.
Can't wait for your menus!
Hi Laura, A friend of mine, with a new baby, used my idea for having the fixings for quesadillas or burritos (Actually I do this all the time when I'm too tuckered to cook). Most of the ingredients - tortillas, shredded cheese, beans, salsa -- can be frozen and used whenever you need them. Throw in some veggies (fresh or frozen) and you have a meal in less than 5 minutes. Good luck with the baby and the meals.
Being a new mom is totally the best. Just enjoy every moment. If you are nursing your baby, you may find that he/she reacts to certain foods, so keep that in mind. Tomatoes, onions and other acidic foods sometimes cause the baby to have a bit of a reaction. My oldest gave us some pretty stressful Friday nights. By the time I got to my second, I was stress free.
I do not know if you all have had baby showers yet or if people have asked you what you want, but keep in mind that everyone loves new babies and sometimes friends want to bring over some food- always say YES! When my second daughter was born, a dear friend gave me a baby shower and people were asked to bring easy to heat dinners, so we had about a month's worth of meals. It was the BEST. I could just zap it, throw together a salad and drag out the Ben and Jerry's. and all was well. Light the candles, put on some mood music, and include the baby in everything. You will enjoy every bit.
Anything that can be microwaved is tops. And if someone ELSE cooked it, even better. Chicken freezes well and things like lasagna. Grab a bunch of those small containers that go from the freezer to the microwave and basically, anything goes.
My biggest hints are- say yes when anyone offers to bring some food or come over to help, include the baby in your plans for a lovely Saturday night dinner at home, knowing he/she may derail things but if you have enough wine, who cares? And have fun!
So here is my menu -
Plenty of wine or beer.
Start with some shrimp or smoked salmon. Easy and delicious. Fresh lemon should be handy.
A yummy lasagna, chicken or salmon, focusing on the sauce and staying a little clear of tomatoes.
Fresh whole wheat bread from your local baker.
A yummy salad with a good bottled dressing of you must, or a good home made, even better,
Fresh fruit and a yummy treat from a bakery or a friend.
The cool thing is, the baby very quickly becomes a part of your life and trips to the local market are fun because everyone loves a baby. It won't be long before you go off to your local market with your little one, cook a quick meal and even set the table, discovering that being a parent rocks and your little one becomes embraced into your lifestyle. Have fun.
Thanks for the lovely menu and happy thoughts for incorporating the baby! I must confess that I've been a little sad about the idea that I won't have as much time for my favorite hobby, cooking. But you make it seem as though I'll have the best of both worlds...parenting and good food!
One question: Do onions in any form bother babys? I was thinking of making arroz con pollo for our neighbors when their baby arrives, and thought that b/c the onions would be so cooked and incorporated, that they shouldn't be a big deal. Or do we need to eliminate them all togehter?
re: Laura Jones
I ate whatever I wanted when I had my boys. Other than a milk allergy with my first, that made it so I couldn't drink milk, no problems. Most moms I know eat whatever they want too. Remember in some cultures garlic is considered good for babies and spice is just part of the diet. If you are cooking for someone else, make sure you ask them, but for the most part babies deal with foods just fine. IF a baby has colic or other issues, then an elimination diet is sometimes recommended, but the recent medical thought on the issue (e.g. recently trained pediatricians) is that you often don't find a food culprit.
My suggestion is to stock up on things that can be eaten with one hand and not too hot. I was always dropping food on my boys when nursing. Also things with high fiber - think bran muffins are good. For breakfast with my first it was really important to have something I could eat that was high fiber (oh the lovely postpartum period - trust me, you'll want fiber), that I could hold while I nursed. I woke up early morning and then slept with the baby. By the time we woke up again, he was hungry and I needed something easy to grab. Waffles and toast worked well too. When you have older kids along with the baby you don't get to sleep after the first nursing, so it wasn't as big of an issue.
Congratulations on the impending arrival of your baby!
When my first was due, I took advantage of the nesting instinct that kicked in around the beginning of my 3rd trimester to cook & freeze the following:
lasagna & pasta dishes
vegetable soup (make good use of summer's bounty now!)
homemade pasta noodles
Now that it is summer and I am due with my 2nd in 10 weeks, I'm doing the same again!
Freezing fresh fruit is another great idea, as it is easy to make smoothies or stir into plain yogurt for a quick meal.
And I also agree with the pp who said to never turn down a meal. People love to feel helpful, and trust me, you'll be grateful for the help.
Tomatoes/onions never bothered my daughter while nursing, so I was lucky, I suppose.
Oh, you were! My first was NOT happy with anything spicy or Mexican related while I was nursing! Of course, I had no clue and thought I was a terrible mum who had no clue. Finally someone else w/ the same issue told me and once I got rid of some of those spicy things, she was a much happier baby. Now she is a 23 year old gourmet, tolerating and attempting most anything, especially the spicy sort.
re: Laura Jones
I don't usually have a problem with the sauce getting completely absorbed - the problem I occasionally run into is too much liquid, which I usually take care of by baking longer if I have the time (and if not we just eat it soupy and I resolve to put it in earlier next time...which I sometimes remember and sometimes don't). I actually just made a batch of enchiladas for the freezer yesterday - chicken sauteed with onions and peppers, then mixed with pineapple, black beans, and feta cheese and rolled up in tortillas and topped with enchilada sauce. I've done this a couple times before and it works well. Straight out of the freezer and into the oven for about an hour at 350 and it seems to turn out pretty well. Lasagna has already been mentioned; it really does work great - especially with the no-boil noodles. I've also used the no-boil noodles for other kinds of pasta bakes - I've found they cook better out of the freezer than other pastas like penne - just layer it like lasagna. Chicken, broccoli, and cheese is one combo that worked pretty well this way - I didn't pre-cook the broccoli so it wasn't overly soggy...don't know if that was really a good idea or not, but I didn't really have any problems with it.
Try a huge pot of your favorite soup or stew and freeze in individual containers. I am partial to beef stew but in the hot summer months, perhap not. Make it on a rainy afternoon to distract you and satisfy that nesting feeling!
Also, I have recently discovered Pillsbury pizza dough :-0 Have some best quality store bought marinara sauce and mozarella around and its ready in 15 minutes. Just add your favorite toppings!
And I made Barefoot Contessa mac and cheese last night. Delicious and should freeze well. I halved the recipe and it was still a boat load!
What a timely thread - I'm due in 4 short weeks! This is my 2nd - the first was NOT an easy baby and I barely had time to make a peanut butter sandwich before he'd start screaming.
Here's what I found worked best for us for #1:
1. Egg sandwiches. We're meat-eaters, so I always keep bags of diced, cooked bacon and sausage in the freezer. In the time it takes to toast bread, you can heat up the meat, throw on an egg and a slice of cheese.
2. Oatmeal. You can make a week's worth on Sunday. It's high in iron, which is important to build up those red blood cells postpartum. This extends, of course, to cold cereal, which also has more fiber.
1. I lived on yogurt, granola, and heaps of fruit. There are soy alternatives for the yogurt if you require no dairy.
2. Leftovers from dinner the night before. Make bigbig portions at dinnertime so you can simply zap a plate/bowl of something easy for lunch the next day.
1. Grilled anything. I'd be sure to have something to throw on the grill in the evenings so when my husband got home, he could fire it up and have dinner ready in minutes. Usually paired with a huge pile of spinach salad loaded with cheese, fruit and nuts. My husband also made lots and lots of smoothies - just pureed fruit, no yogurt - for added vitamins. All can be prepared in about 15 minutes.
2. Take-out. I prefer home-cooked food, but after a long day it's great to have a huge pile of chinese food delivered to your door ready to eat. And order lots for leftovers.
And I absolutely agree to accept offers to bring food over. When things got really tough, I even asked for some help with grocery runs. Everyone was more than happy to know how they could help us out.
The food I did prepare and freeze ahead of time (lasagna and soup, mostly), I didn't eat. It was summer (in LA - yuk) and I just didn't want heavy, hot food.
The only thing my first reacted badly to was cabbage - I ate coleslaw for lunch once and I thought his lungs were going to give out - poor little guy...
I'm looking forward to trying lots of your suggestions with #2! Thanks for getting me thinking about this.
Number two is a LOT easier than Number one... At least is was for me. I remember once both were crying= wailing- for some reason and all I could do was laugh and hug them and then run them a bath which always seemed to be a relaxing interlude. And I lowered my all of my standards, let the dishes stack up and just loved being with my babies. There were days we stayed in our jammies,had pancakes for breakfast AND for dinner, with left overs in between. Just get a good babysitter so you and the main squeeze can get a break once in a while. And have fun. Before you know it, they'll be taller than you are and off on their own, making you contemplate the possibilities of being a pan cake flipping grandparent.