It can happen in the blink of an eye. Your due date is quickly approaching and your list of things to get done before your little one’s arrival keeps growing and growing.
The first 40 days after giving birth can welcome an abundance of precious moments, ups and downs as you figure out new routines as well as a crucial period of rest and recovery for you and your babe.
At MyNestwell, we’re all about calling up our village of experts, friends and family members to help us expectant mamas prepare for the postpartum period as much as possible. Why? Because once your baby (or babies!) come, it can become survival mode for a bit.
We get it. Newborns’ needs are many, but so are mama’s. That’s why we’ve got just the thing to help keep mama and baby happy and healthy.
Trust us on this one.
Perhaps you’re not quite ready or you prefer not to invest in a postpartum doula to help make you warm meals—this is another workaround! Meal trains are a great alternative to lean on your village for support (we’re talkin’ family, friends, and whoever else wants to help!) to coordinate meal sharing during this time of transition.
These meal trains can be especially helpful so you, as new parents, can focus on your baby, nourishing yourself back to health and not have to worry about what’s for breakfast…or lunch…or dinner.
We tapped mama, meal train expert and holistic health coach for busy mamas, Julie of Hearth Wellness for all the details on meal trains and more, whether you’re looking at setting one up for yourself or an expectant friend.
“Having a solid postpartum nutrition plan in place to nourish yourself back to health is important, and a meal train can be a big part of this!” — Julie
You typically want to start organizing your meal train during the last month of your pregnancy so you’re prepared ahead of time. You can organize the meals for any day of the week and for however long you want. It’s up to you!
“For most new parents, a month is a generous amount of meal coverage, but I have seen others that have stretched out longer as parents only wanted food a few times a week.” — Julie
You can ask as many people as you’d like to participate! Most new parents will try to rally 1-2 close friends or family members who are well organized and readily available. You want to be able to count on them as the “go-to meal train contact” for any questions that may come up!
It’s not a prerequisite that your meal train participants are experts in the kitchen or even have to prepare the meals for you necessarily. Also, if you’re unsure about eating food prepared by others right now, gift cards or food delivery services are great alternatives! You can share a list of local restaurants, family meal caterers you like or use a food delivery service like UberEats, Caviar or DoorDash.
“Not everyone loves to cook, but they definitely want to support you.” — Julie
“You might be surprised to learn that nutrient needs in the early postpartum phase—and especially while breastfeeding—are higher than while you were pregnant.” — Julie
“Warming” foods like steamy broths, soups, herbal teas and recipes with warming spices like cinnamon and ginger are ideal for post-birth recovery. See below for a rough list of items you may want to consider incorporating into your meal train ingredient list:
Healthy Fats – These can actually keep you full and enrich your breast milk with slightly higher fat content!
Don’t be shy about sharing dislikes, not to mention any important information about allergies, sensitivities or diet preferences (vegetarian, vegan, etc.). Don’t forget your favorite foods, too!
Bonus Tip: If you do go the family and friends meal route, make sure everything is labeled and includes any reheating or baking instructions!
See below for some recipe ideas from Hearth Wellness.
Simple Soy Salmon
One Pot Mexican Quinoa
And there you have it! All the tools, tips and tricks to set up your meal train and prepare for your postpartum period with ease and flow.
For more information on meal trains and holistic health, you can follow Julie at @hearthwellness and if you’re looking to round out your village with a postpartum doula or health coach, start your search here.