April 2017, and I said to myself: I’m starting now! This way, I will have plenty of meals for when that little booger arrives ūüôā One of my clients said that she had a goal of having all her meals prepped and ready for her baby that was due to arrive in September and she didn’t want to have to cook until Thanksgiving. I love to cook, but the thing I had kept hearing about having a new baby was that cooking is really hard to find time for (especially in those first few weeks and even months).

When it comes to food, we are pretty picky in terms of what types of things we make. We are a “from scratch” family for sure. We make our own chicken stock/bone broth, can pickles, make our own salad dressings, and I love to dabble in things like homemade miso, bread, and sauerkraut. My husband brews beer, makes English Muffins, and jerky. I’ve also made my share of almond milk, cashew cheese, and sprouted grain salads. We are pretty healthy, but also enjoy comfort food. We eat seasonally, locally, and organic as much as possible. I place a high emphasis on veggies, organic meats and we both love a raw cheddar cheese or an artisanal¬†cured meat.

How do we incorporate those values into stocking the freezer for baby?

  1. Start with what you already know that you love! 
    Take the food values that you already have and turn them into some meals that you can freeze, assemble or prep parts of ahead of time. For example, I made a batch of our favorite¬†lasagna and froze it in smaller portions. It was perfect with some steamed broccoli, or a fresh salad added to the side.We also love these¬†cinnamon rolls and they are great for visitors (you’ll see a sweet photo of me baking with my baby on me in this post – Libby was only about 6 weeks old here)

    Speaking of baking, if you like to bake, you can bake just about anything ahead of time and freeze it, well wrapped, for about 2 months. I froze baked muffins, scones, breakfast cookies, and bread. I also made these vegetarian¬†sweet potato burgers¬†(pre-formed and frozen first in a single layer, then put into a freezer bag) and threw a package of buns in the freezer (because I’m notorious for having burgers in the freezer with no buns).

    These no-bake lactation bites were a treat that me AND my husband loved! And you can store them in the freezer until you are ready to have a little treat.

  2. Start early and tackle just one or two freezer meals a week.
    So. Much. Pregnancy. Anxiety. I knew I wanted to get that freezer STOCKED — but I also knew that I was pregnant, my back hurt, and being in the kitchen on a hot summer day wasn’t exactly¬†what I wanted to do. Therefore, I started early in my pregnancy and I only did a couple things at a time. I baked some bread, made a soup and just allowed myself to have fun while doing it (admittedly, that part is easy for me). For portions, we are a family of 2 (and now 3) so I would just make double what I would normally, or eat fewer leftovers throughout the week if I was making a recipe that served 6. I did most of my baby prep cooking on the weekend, and when the weather got hot, I did more and more in the later evening after the sun went down (no A/C here!).
  3. Stock up on basics too! 
    Make some beans and put those in the freezer. Like I said earlier, bake some bread and store¬†that away. Make some soups. Soup is such a comforting thing after you’ve had a baby, and warm, slow-cooked foods are easier to digest in general.¬† I stored away jars and jars of chicken broth and beef broth, some mixed with miso and some without, and my mom gave me some for the freezer too. I cut up fresh veggies like broccoli, squash and green beans and put those in freezer containers with a small bit of fat (butter or coconut oil) and even a few grinds of salt and pepper or other seasonings. I made smoothies and froze those for easy mornings that followed sleep-deprived nights.
  4. Take care of yourself, clean up, label everything with instructions…
    This might go without saying, but you will not be able to be on your feet as much as before you were pregnant (especially the farther along you get). When cooking, wear supportive shoes, maybe try out a belly support strap and at the end of your cooking session, lay down if you can with your feet up and a glass of cold water.

    Do the dishes before you turn in for the night, if you can, or enlist your partner to do them. It sucks, but you’ll be glad you cleaned the kitchen and it’s not there to wake up to in the morning.

    Label everything well, and wrap everything well (you can do a wrap of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil for extra protection, just remember to unwrap the plastic before reheating!) Be sure to write at what temp to reheat and for how long on each food item.

  5. A couple of great books for more food and prep ideas (I can’t resist giving a book rec!)
    The First 40 Days¬†– the book on what to eat postpartum. Teas, smoothies, soups, stocks… not necessarily ideas on what to freeze, but you could freeze many of the recipes in this book, or mix things like tea blends and body care products ahead of time while you are in prep mode.
    Food Gift Love   Рexcellent if you are visiting someone who had a baby or is needing a food gift to mark some other event. Great for ideas for yourself too.

One of the best things about coming home with our baby was knowing that we had a freezer stocked full of goodies and I didn’t have to worry about it or wait for the next dinner delivery from a friend (although those are fantastic, too!!) But I think I just really felt proud that I had spent the time and energy into preparing for the postpartum time in our lives by cooking meals (my love language). I got a huge sense of accomplishment from it, and I hope I’ve inspired you to do some of the same!

xo, and happy cooking!