Any other new mamas out there noticing a sudden decrease in free time? It's not as if it was unexpected - you knew that a newborn would take up a lot of time, and if you are breastfeeding on demand, that could mean nursing your baby for 15-45 minutes every few hours (or, if your lovable little milk goblin is as voracious as mine was, 30-45 minutes every 1-2 hours) in the initial weeks. You are recovering from labor and delivery, and the common advice is to sleep when your baby sleeps. But then, if all your baby does is sleep and eat, then when do YOU eat?
In order to recover from pregnancy and delivery you need plenty of nutrition-dense foods and in order to produce enough milk for your newest arrival, you need up to an extra 500 calories PER DAY compared to a non-lactating woman of the same size! And those calories can't be just cookies (even if you found a really great recipe for lactation cookies) - you want to make sure you have all the vitamins and minerals you need to support your body as well as your baby, and of course plenty of hydration.
Clearly, the only time left is when your baby is eating, so you need food options that are easy and quick to prepare (ideally in bulk) and can be eaten with one hand while your other arm is supporting baby.
New mamas, I've got your back :-)
Here is a template for easy-to make snack packs that you can prepare in less than 20 minutes (especially if using leftovers or items at hand) to last for the entire week.
Step one: Select a container. Any will do, including a pyrex, a bento box, or one with divided sections like the one I've shown. If you select a plastic container, make sure that it is BPA-free.
Step two: Select your foods in three categories: Protein, Fruit, and Vegetables. In the image to the right, I selected a soft-boiled egg, hummus, and cheese (protein), blueberries and pear slices (fruit), and carrot and cucumber slices (veggies).
Step three: Cut/prep as needed and prepare a bunch all at once! Keep in an easy-to-reach part of the fridge and grab one right before you sit down to nurse. Note: if you have something that needs extra work like a tangerine or an egg, peel it right before you start nursing so you can eat everything with one hand.
If the above combination suits your fancy, feel free to copy it. But to keep things interesting, I suggest a bit of variation every week, basing your options off of your seasonal local options! Here are some ideas to get you started:
Possibly the easiest section, just go with what looks good in the current season.
Water is your friend, ladies! Think about it -- you are making milk (HI there supermom!), thereby hydrating both your own body and that of your sweet baby -- so drink up. When lactating, you should be aiming for about 100 ounces (13 cups) of fluids, but if you are struggling to get this much from water, don't worry - the fluid in fruits and veggies contributes a bit, and you can also include herbal teas (make sure the herbs are safe during lactation), and fruit- or veggie-infused water. Personally, I love adding a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt to my water to help motivate me to drink more. Find what works for you and be creative! Dehydration can mean headaches, constipation, decreased milk supply and can make you more tired. With a new baby in the home, you likely don't want to feel any more exhausted than you need to, so keep a bottle at hand at all times and remember to drink up :-)