In many of the classes and workshops I offer, we talk a lot about how you can set yourself up for a better life after baby by planning and preparing during your pregnancy.
In the early days and weeks postpartum, having nutrient-dense meals prepared or easily reheated can be huge in making sure you can recover well from birth and have the stamina to meet baby's intense needs.
In cultures that have a rich tradition of postpartum support, there are specific suggestions for what the birthing parent needs from a nutritional standpoint after delivery. (Both The First 40 Days and The 4th Trimester are rich resources on this topic.)
If you want your meal planning to center more on meals that appeal to you, your partner, and any older siblings, that's fine, too. As with many topics I cover with my prenatal and postnatal clients, let what works and supports your family the be the guiding principle in your preparations for life after baby.
If you have a close-knit community, it may only take a friend or family reaching out with an email or signup sheet on your behalf to get a meal train going. On the other hand, if you're friends and family are more spread out in diverse groups, an online meal train may be the perfect option to organize the efforts of all those who want to love on you and your family. Easily shareable via social media or email, an online meal train also offers you the opportunity to specify so many aspects, including meal types and delivery options, too.
Freezer Meal Stash
Stashing your favorite easily frozen meals while in your third trimester is a great option for meals post-baby. I often recommend a make one/prep 2 approach to clients, where each week you plan to triple a freezer-friendly recipe. Eat one that week and put two on ice for later. Before you know it, you'll have a stocked freezer and fed yourself well in the process.
Many areas now offer online grocery purchasing with streamlined pick up or even better, delivery right to your doorstep or counter. Take the opportunity pre-baby to explore your local options, book mark them on your phone or computer, and find which works best for your family. This will make it straightforward to get groceries with as little time and effort as possible once baby arrives earth-side.
If you are like me, learning how to ask for help has a huge learning curve. Make it your default when friends or family ask how you are doing, to say that you would welcome a meal or assistance with meal prep. If you are the one who usually prepares all the meals, before baby is the perfect time to help your partner gain confidence preparing some simple meals that you both can enjoy.
Hire a Doula
Doulas can help make sure you are fed, too! Prenatal doula support is an excellent option if you need assistance stocking that freezer. You may also want to hire your postpartum doula before baby arrives - that way you'll go into the last weeks before baby confident that you'll have the support you need, including meal prep and more.
Johanna received a Ph.D. in English in 2014. Now a postpartum doula and educator of childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant sleep, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.