Preparing Meals After Baby

May 11, 2020, Hailey Cain

The first few days after bringing Delilah home from the hospital, I ate A LOT of cereal. Good thing we’d stocked up on Honey Bunches of Oats! It was easy, it tasted good, and I was able to make it for myself.

I consider myself a pretty decent home chef and before we had Delilah, I planned and prepared the meals for our family. It was actually kind of difficult to kind of let and let others prepare meals for me, something I had to adapt to with a new baby. At times I would even feel guilty when I hadn’t cooked for myself in days.

It was even more difficult to let go of my grocery trip planning. I’ve been making my meticulous grocery list for a while – it may have been a bit over the top but I love my process and felt proud of my finished list. The process of crafting a grocery list for me starts with planning each meal, writing down what I need to make the meals, and then rewriting the list so it’s organized by department. It feels so organized when it’s finished.

This whole process was complicated by the changing availability of food at the grocery store when we got home from the hospital. Two months ago, stay-at-home orders were just starting and people were stocking up. But it was difficult to plan meals when I didn’t know what was going to be sold out at the store. Plus, I wasn’t doing the shopping at that time so I couldn’t adapt my meal plan on the spot based on what they had.

For weeks after Delilah’s birth, it felt like chaos because we weren’t able to plan and had to get whatever was available and figure out what to make with it later.

The situation at the grocery store has since drastically improved but there are still seemingly random outages that lead to last minute plan changes, like why are they completely out of every brand of white cheddar mac and cheese??

Delilah is now almost 2 months old and we have somewhat of a routine when it comes to preparing meals. In the morning after Delilah is fed and changed, we usually prepare a good breakfast together while she’s in her bouncer chair. Some days are fussier than others and we end up eating cereal.

I think some of the biggest changes have come in at our evening meals. We try to cook our own meals rather than pre-prepared or take out, but what we make is definitely simpler.

It’s a balance between making things that go together super quickly without a big mess and making meals that have a lot of leftovers for the nights we are too tired too cook. And sometimes we end up eating fettuccine alfredo at 2:00am, or an entire container of fresh strawberries!

One thing we do try to do is keep the kitchen stocked with lots of decently healthy snacks. Some of my favorites are things I can grab and eat any time, like yogurt, Belvita breakfast cookies, Chex mix, or fruit.

I love cooking and especially love baking. Even having the time to bake a loaf of banana bread has meant so much to me when it comes to regaining a sense of normalcy after having a baby. Meal planning and preparation has changed considerably, and I’m lucky my family can help, whether it’s cooking dinner, doing the shopping, or taking care of Delilah so I have a bit of time to enjoy cooking or baking.