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Feeding a Growing Family

December 1, 2011 by Dean Simmons, Registered Dietitian

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Feeding a Growing Family

At home, my family currently consists of two humans and two cats—an even tie. In about a month, the balance will tip towards the human side with the arrival of our first child. It is wondrous, and a bit surreal, to be preparing to bring a new life into our world. As I write this our baby is quietly developing, getting closer and closer to readiness for life outside the womb.  I ‘m in awe of the developmental process, the intimate bond between mother and baby and the movements I feel when I place my hands on my wife’s pregnant belly. As a soon-to-be father I feel a powerful need to nurture and provide, both for my pregnant wife and our developing baby. Providing regular and nourishing meals is a big part of what I can do to support them both.

At our prenatal classes we were advised to make plans for feeding ourselves during those first few weeks of caring for our new baby. Apparently we will likely be in a sleep deprived zombie-like state (from breastfeeding, and diapering every couple hours) and our current meal pattern will most likely be turned upside down. I would like to reach out to our readers for advice from practiced parents. In those first sleep-deprived weeks after the birth of your child how did you manage to make and eat healthy meals?  I would really appreciate tried and true solutions, especially those that don’t require a big freezer to store frozen meals (we only have a small freezer on our apartment-sized fridge).

"Thank you!"  

~ Dean

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Comments (5)


Posted on Thursday December 1, 2011 a 3:44pm

Congratulations on your new arrival! I would recommend that you look at preparing simple foods that can be eaten with one hand. I remember how hard it was to eat food that required cutting or both hands when I frequently had a sleeping or feeding baby in the other. Sandwiches, sushi, whole grain pizza, even soup are all things that can require minimal utensils and can be consumed with the one free arm you might have. A simple plate of sliced fruits, sliced chicken breast, whole grain toast with nut butter, raw veggies and dip can go a long way to keeping up your energy, fighting off hunger and is easy to eat and prepare.


Posted on Thursday December 1, 2011 a 4:29pm

A great mother in-law helps! Mine cooked up some food for us and boy did it ever help. It was healthy food too! Congratulations!


Posted on Friday December 2, 2011 a 3:49pm

I bought 'cheat' foods that I wouldn't normally like salad in a bag, grated cheese, anything that took a step out the process. I also had a rule that if you came to visit, you had to bring food (of my choice). So sometimes it was a meal, but often it was things I was running out of, milk, fruit, yoghurt, etc. Don't be afraid to ask help from visitors, or to put a sign up saying, 'not taking visitors'. Those first few weeks especially are about you and Mommy and baby, not Auntie Delores meeting baby for the first time.


Posted on Friday December 2, 2011 a 5:43pm

Congratulations!! Here's my tip: Even though I hate meal planning more than a few hours ahead, I succumb to the task of advanced planning when I know life will be crazy—and this is certainly one of those times. I like this little Meals This Week chart ( Meal planning will make it easy for you to let others help you. You won't have to think when someone asks what can I pick up at the store for you. I also like these skillet meals (—easy cooking that you can let someone else do, and one pan to clean.

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HealthyFamilies BC

Posted on Tuesday December 6, 2011 a 2:48pm

Thank you to everyone who has read this posting and taken the time to leave some helpful advice. My partner and I are still waiting for our little one to make an appearance, so the advice comes at a great time. What I’ve learned so far is to 1) try meal planning for a week at a time, 2) plan for one-pot meals and things that can be eaten with one-hand, 3) make use of convenience foods to reduce food prep time, 4) ask for food prep and grocery shopping help from visitors, 5) find some healthy take-out restaurants in our neighborhood, and 6) be prepared for new postpartum cravings from my partner. This is great advice that I hope to be able to put into practice when the time comes. Thanks so much, Dean Simmons


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