It’s 7:24 pm and you’re sitting on the couch, scrolling your phone during yet another marathon cluster feeding session with your newborn. Then it dawns on you—you haven’t actually eaten a full meal today. It’s been nonstop: leaking boobs, learning to babywear, and making sure your tiny Houdini doesn’t escape from the swaddle. We get it! Life with a newborn is intense. Every day is a challenge, especially during the postpartum era (or as it’s casually referred to, the 4th Trimester), with new concerns and questions to navigate. Having healthy, well-balanced meals, constructed from nutritionist-approved recipes for new moms, is one important way you can make life easier for yourself after giving birth.
You won’t be able to control your baby’s sleep habits or schedule in these first few weeks, but you can absolutely ensure you have tasty meals and snacks to eat as you recover from birth and get to know your new little one. If you spend a bit of time being proactive on meal prep in your third trimester, you’ll set yourself up for a more peaceful and positive fourth trimester.
Expectful advisor Janine Higbie, a board-certified integrative clinical nutritionist who specializes in optimal nutrition for mothers, explains that the fourth trimester is one of the most important times in your life to be eating well: “Your body has gone through so much, through the nutrient depletion of pregnancy and the marathon that is labor and delivery (whether it’s vaginal or cesarean). You need to focus on nourishing your body in a way that is going to help with healing and recovery.” Nutrient-rich, filling meals and snacks (like stews and soups) are easy to digest and will give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to recoup.
And if you’re breastfeeding, the need for good nutrition is even more vital. Higbie says, “When you’re pregnant, it makes sense that what you eat affects both yourself and the baby. But for some reason, it’s almost like you forget that you’re still nourishing a baby when you’re breastfeeding. So, be thoughtful about eating enough food (as well as hydrating really well) and ensure you’re eating plenty of protein and fat.” Nursing mothers will need to take in an additional 500 extra calories a day—so be ready to eat well and often.
Eating nourishing food after birth doesn’t have to be complicated. Higbie shared four of her go-to freezable recipes for the fourth trimester—all created with maximum nutrition and minimal fuss in mind (and yes, they taste great, too!).
For a little background entertainment while you meal prep, check out our podcast, The Five Universal Truths Of Your Fourth Trimester.
A nutrient-dense breakfast or snack, these portable muffin cups will help keep you satiated. Bonus: you can eat them with one hand!
A hearty main dish that tastes just as good at dinner time as it does after a 3 am feeding.
If cooking from frozen, you may need to add additional wine for more liquid (it will depend on how evenly you divide the ingredients and liquid initially). Goes well over rice, cauliflower rice, or couscous, or with sweet potato.
Snack away on this deliciously healthy treat—complete with milk-boosting oats!
You can also substitute any nuts or fruit based on what you have at home. Cut into squares or slices and freeze. Recipe adapted from pamelasalzman.com
Smooth and nourishing, this soup is full of both fiber and flavor.
Freeze in your favorite freezer-friendly container. Serve with drizzled extra virgin olive oil and pepitas or a dollop of crème fraiche and snipped chives.
All recipes courtesy of Janine Higbie
We understand that growing your family while having a healthy and happy pregnancy and baby is probably a top priority for you right now.
We created Expectful to help you harness the power of your mind to have a healthy, happy pregnancy and baby.
All of our meditation content is based on interviews with many soon-to-be and new parents just like you, and is created with the help of licensed psychologists, hypnotherapists, and meditation experts. You can practice in just 5 minutes a day.