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Good Eating & Welcoming a New Baby (Eat Well, Spend Less)

The arrival of a new baby is a wonderful time to celebrate — and good food is a great way to do that!

It’s been a long time since we had a baby in the family. I’m amazed our FishBaby is well on her way to four years old. How did that happen? Those who know me will agree that two of my favorite things in the world are babies and food. Having given birth six times and celebrated these precious new lives, you can believe we have had some special food traditions along the way.

Chances are good that you’ve welcomed a baby or two in your time. Whether your own baby or that of someone you love, the arrival of a newborn is a sweet, sweet time. And one to cause great celebration and good eating! The other day Lauren shared some great ways to bless a new mom.

Here are some ways to eat well and spend less at baby time. You can plan for these for your own family while you’re nesting or strategically email this post to friends and family. Obviously, if you’re wanting to bless a friend, here’s your checklist.

1. Fill the freezer before the baby arrives.

There’s no one more ravenous than a postpartum family, mom especially. Hopefully, you’ll have friends and family to bless you with meals. But, if that’s not the case, or even if you just want to buy some more rest time on the other side of birth, fill your freezer with meals that are easy to heat up and serve. My sister did this for me often and her freezer meals became some of our favorites. (A few are even in The Cookbook.)

Having a stash of freezer meals can help you avoid take-out or expensive convenience items while providing your family with tasty meals.

Filling the freezer with ready-made meals does not need to be complicated or expensive. Double a few dinner meals for a few weeks and stash the second half in the freezer. Check out this list of go-to freezer meals to be inspired.

2. Take some delicious and nutritious foods to the hospital.

Historically, hospital food doesn’t have a great reputation. I “lucked out” that my last two hospital stays featured room service dining with a pretty decent menu. All the same, it was nice to have familiar snacks from home that I knew fit my dietary preferences.

Foods to get my body and digestion system back in good working order were especially helpful.  Having a stash of Breakfast Cookies, yogurt smoothies, and fresh fruit and vegetables ready for a friend to bring to me was absolutely wonderful! (If you’re the friend, you can take a snack basket to the new mom.) It was also a frugal and healthier option to take-out being brought in. Though I do have some fond memories of some meals from Panera, brought by friends to the hospital.

3. Bake a BIRTH-Day Cake.

The Birth-Day cake was always a very special tradition for our family. It was a wonderful way for our older children to welcome the new sibling to the family. Nanna or Auntie Jamie would bake a simple boxed mix and the kids would help decorate it. And we always had a ZERO candle to put on the cake — because that was how old the baby was.

Not only is this an inexpensive, fun, little thing for your kids to do, it serves as a type of community builder. We’re celebrating THE Birth Day! It was always fun to offer a doctor or nurse a slice of cake and include them in on the celebration.

4. Celebrate with a candlelight dinner for two.

Enjoy a special meal with Daddy, just the two of you. You’ve gone through a lot. And it’s only just begun!

Many hospitals make a special dinner for the new parents part of their “deluxe accommodations.” Sometimes these are great, sometimes they aren’t. But the moment of just the two of you is a good one to create.

Don’t be afraid to shoo away the well-wishers so that you and hubby can have some quiet down time. And while rooming-in, kangaroo care, and demand feeding were always my favorite techniques for bonding, as a clear headed, non-hormonal mother of six, today I say, it’s okay to let the nurses have the baby for an hour while you eat in peace. It’s probably the best free babysitting you’ll get in awhile.

Believe me, you will hit the ground running at home. (Finally with my fifth and sixth babies, I understood why my mom loved her hospital stays. I enjoyed every moment of “room service, housekeeping, and nanny-duty.”)

5. Stock the pantry with easy snacks and drinks.

Once you’re home, life will be fuller than it was before you left. But, you’ll still need to eat.

Having a stock of easy snacks (nuts, fruit, yogurt, hummus, veggies, salad fixins) and a great water bottle can help keep you fueled in the early days of  adjusting to life with a new baby. Whether you create a stockpile in the weeks before baby’s arrival, send Daddy out with a list, or let a friend or grandparent bless you with your snack stash, make sure it’s ready for those cravings you’re sure to have.

Having a baby is such a joyous time. Eating well and spending less can all be part of the package!

This post is part of an ongoing series about how to eat well and spend less. Along with some fabulous foodies, organizers, and frugalistas, I’ve been bringing you suggestions on how to eat like a king without becoming a pauper to do it.

This past month the Eat Well, Spend Less girls have welcomed three new babies into the fold: Clara over at Simple Bites, Channah at Tammy’s Recipes, and Baby Bargains over at Denver Bargains. So fun to follow my friends through their pregnancies and help them welcome their new wee ones!

It only seemed appropriate that we dedicate this month’s Eat Well, Spend Less posts to Baby Food!

Well, you know, babies and food. You’ll see what I mean throughout the week. From the postpartum diet to homemade baby foods to ways to bless a new mom and dad, we’ve got you covered!

Be sure to check out what the other ladies are sharing this week or browse their archives:

Do you have any special Baby/Food traditions?

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Comments

  1. Really enjoyed this post. I’m expecting #3 (my oldest will be almost 4 when this one makes his/her appearance). We are planning our second home birth. I had big plans to stock the freezer before #2 arrived and never did. Hopefully this time I’ll get on the ball!

    You know you’re full of pregnancy hormones when the mention of a candlelit dinner for two mysteriously makes you well up. Ha!

  2. I love this blog! It inspires me and helps me on so many ways!!!

  3. We do the Birth Day cake too! It started with my love for cake and my first born; My sister made a cake for our homecoming. – We have done this for our other baby and all the cousins as well! In fact, we just made a “cupcake” cake and left it at my sister’s house when they came home the other day with their 3rd! These posts are very timely for me! Thanks!

  4. I have a dear friend who has 6 children and I have always loved her “coming home” from the hospital tradition. She makes it all about the youngest (besides the infant) child. They allow that child to choose what they will have for dinner, let them be ” in charge” of greeting any visitors, and they are considered to be the official helper for the new baby. They take tons of pictures and sing silly songs. All of the older siblings have experienced the same celebration so they are supportive of the younger child’s part in this special event. She is an awesome mom and her children have very little sibling rivalry problems.

  5. I have a four week old and still searching for easy to make breakfasts and lunches for myself while home with three little boys. Everyone focuses on bringing dinner to the new momma, which is appreciated, but I love the breakfast cookies idea!

  6. Ladies from church always bring food over when somebody has a baby. Something awesome that several of them did for me was to bring all the food in disposable dishes so that I didn’t even have to take time to wash them and give them back! So thoughtful!

  7. Thanks, Jessica! We are expecting Baby #5 this week. I can totally relate. I’ve made up a lot of food ahead, especially easy and healthy snacks, breakfast items, and sides for our freezer. We have friends that will be bringing dinners, but it seems that growing boys are hungry many other times during the day too. :)

  8. This is a great list!

    For my second baby friends threw me a shower just a little before the baby was born. There was a ton of cake left over and they sent it home with me. This was really sweet, but I wasn’t supposed to eat a lot of sweets or carbs during late pregnancy, so I froze it for later. But this worked out perfectly. On the day the baby was born we took it out of the freezer when we got home and used it like a Birth day cake. It was special for my older son I think. For future kids I might make my own and freeze it, because I think it is fun to include the other child(ren) in the celebration.

  9. Such a fun idea to bake a BIRTH cake. :)
    My boys often exclaim how Clara is ‘zero’.

  10. This is just what I needed to hear. I’m going to be having my second in a few weeks and I totally forgot about making sure the freezer was stocked with meals!

    I did it last time with my son and I really need to make sure I do it again because I know two will be different than one and preparation is key.

  11. Oh I love this post!!! Where have you been!!! I tell everyone it is all about the food and they look at me sideways… but I can tell you after a couple of babies I knew the only thing I wanted guests to bring were snacks. Forget meals, I have been packing the freezer for weeks, forget diapers, forget flowers… I want snacks, especially snacks I can serve with one hand… chop the watermelon up at home folks!!!

    Our babies are born at home and we always have a fabulous party in the lull between the birth and visitors arriving… in the last weeks of nesting I make copious amounts of waffles… and we feast on them together to welcome our youngest family member… I wrote about it here: http://www.se7en.org.za/2008/09/25/welcome-to-the-world-a-zero-birthday-party

  12. My last pregnancy I was still working and my work had planned to have a baby shower for me, but baby had other plans and came 5 weeks early. So when we got out of the hospital almost a week later, my work brought over the food we would have used for the shower which was mostly deli food/finger foods that could all be kept in the fridge and a vegetable platter as well as disposable cups, plates, and plastic silverware. It was one of my favorite things because I could easily grab and eat straight from the fridge and I didn’t have dishes to do.

  13. Kay Gellerstedt says:

    Congratulations on the new baby! Take it easy (easier said than done sometimes!). When friends offer help or ask what they can do, accept the help and tell them what you need done. These are God’s angels in your time of need. God Bless All of You!

  14. GREAT post. . . I was having major memories of how wonderful food tastes when you are nursing a newborn! LOVE the birthday cake! If the Lord blesses us with another baby, I will have to do that with my kiddos. :) Very fun! One food I have made for my friends (and some have made for me) is “Mommy muffins”. I stick them in the fridge for the middle of the night! I also try to bring snacks when I bring a meal to my friend since it is an unexpected extra. I do yogurt and the muffins since we can all use a bit of help with digestion! Also, I will add that as a c-section mom (2x), bringing snacks to the hospital for the c-section recoverer is AWESOME! It may be 24 before you can eat and that might be HOURS before the next meal (10 pm for me!). You are staaaaarving and nuts, dried fruits, and a little sugar are WONDERFUL. :) oh, now I’m hungry!

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