After birth, a new mama may find herself famished. The birth journey, coming after possibly months of discomfort and limited eating, combined with a new nursling takes a lot of energy. Regardless of blood loss, birthing a baby is the largest energy out put a woman has in her life. In traditional cultures, warming foods are said to heal and stabilize a new mama's body.
When I am pregnant, a significant part of my nesting revolves around food. I make lists of food to store in the freezer. Near the end I double almost everything I make in order to have extra meals after birth. I even tell my husband "This is the first thing I want to eat after birth. And then, this ...". The meal preparation in advance also minimizes my day-to-day expectations for a time. A meal train is a great way to get family and friends on board, and to offer them a way to help that is helpful, but having things on hand that you enjoy is essential to a sacred first 40 days.
Chicken soup with ginger, lemon and greens
Ginger and garlic restore warmth to the body and using the bones of the chicken includes vital nutrients.
Chop 4-6 cloves of garlic and a thumb size portion of peeled ginger. Saute in oil or butter. Add chicken pieces (on the bone for making a rich, flavorful nutrient dense broth), season with salt and pepper, and cover with water. Cook until chicken is falling of the bone. Remove Chicken pieces, allow to cool then pull meat off the bones. Add 2 chopped carrots and the juice of a whole lemon. Cook until carrots are tender. Add 16 oz fresh spinach (or more) and the pulled chicken. Season to taste!
Egg casserole with potatoes, sausage & peppers
I riff on this with added diced bell peppers and/or greens. I love this because it can function as a meal for any time of day.
This recipe is so easy and freezes well. The sugar can be replaced with maple syrup with great success. I like it for breakfast and snacks with yogurt or by the handful.
This is one of my favorites to prepare as it can all be done in the crock pot and then used in many different ways.
Add 1 chopped onion, 2-4 cloves of garlic, and 1 4-6 lb pork shoulder to the crock pot. Throw in 1 bay leaf and a tbsp each cumin, coriander, oregano, and paprika. Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Add 1/4 cup of broth (or water!), cover and turn on low for 6+ hours. Shred meat with a fork and then freeze in portions that feel reasonable to you.
My favorite way to enjoy carnitas is with rice, sliced avocado, green onions and radishes. Other renditions are: added to stir fries, topped on salads or stuffed in sandwiches for quick meals.
With tahini and chickpeas, or ginger and sesame. Both recipes, by Smitten Kitchen, make delicious, warm, simple carrot soups worth eating.
Other things I like to have on hand:
Frozen fruits and veggies for quick meals or smoothies
Packaged foods that my older kids can get them selves (apple sauce, seaweed, larabars, tortillas)
Teabags of herbal tea (I like this) and local honey
Jars of homemade bone broth
And if all this sounds like too much, or baby comes before you expect her and your freezer is empty - Postpartum doulas can help! Just ask.
What are your essentail foods to have ready for after birth?