The New Mom's Food Survival Guide
By the third trimester of pregnancy, you’d probably over-researched everything and maybe even bought a rocking chair, a footstool, a nursing pillow, and a bottle warmer. You could have written a doctoral dissertation on breastfeeding versus formula and were absolutely, entirely prepared to love and feed your new baby. You had everything you needed… for your kid, anyway.
But you may have forgotten about food. You know, for you. Sure, maybe you prepped a couple of Instant Pot meals for the freezer and budgeted for extra takeout that first week, but if you’re anything like me, you assumed that after a few days, you’d be back on your feet, and the kitchen would be back in business. Your head was full of charming visions of the baby sleeping blissfully in her carefully chosen swing while you made paleo butternut squash risotto and sat down with a nice glass of wine.
Then the reality hit.
It’s OK: You can stop searching for wholesome sit-down meals and accept the wonderful world of one-handed food.
1. If someone offers to bring you food, say yes immediately.
Any food that you didn’t have to personally make is good food. Did someone offer to set up a Meal Train for you, but you felt guilty accepting? Tell your inner voice to shut up and say yes! It takes a village, and you’re allowed to accept help.
2. Whatever you can possibly afford to pay the delivery driver is worth it.
If it's even kind of affordable for you, prepare to order so often that you’re on a first-name-basis with the sandwich delivery guy, and make sure you’re his favorite customer. Soon he won’t have to waste time entering your address into GPS!
3. Haven’t gone grocery shopping in a while? Chips and salsa make a... balanced meal.
The salsa in the back of the fridge is probably still good, and corn tortilla chips are practically a vegetable. Look how healthy you are! Melt some leftover shredded cheese for a protein burst.
4. Lukewarm food is great because you don’t have to feel bad if it lands on baby.
Remember all that food that fell on your pregnant belly? Now it lands on the baby you’re holding. Don’t eat anything too hot, and whatever, you’re fine. Pro tip: If the baby’s asleep, drape a napkin over her head, make sure there’s air circulation, and let those nachos just drip.
5. If you’re breastfeeding, you’re still eating for two.
Want another taco to chase down that pizza? Go ahead—you’re helping establish your milk supply.
6. Remember that ice cream comes in convenient single-serving pints.
It keeps in the freezer, won’t burn the baby if you drop it on her, has protein, and it’s already portioned! It’s the perfect food.
7. It’s OK to splurge on food that’s already cut up for you.
The pre-chopped veggie section is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Speaking of, you will never value sliced bread as much as you do when you suddenly find yourself with one functional hand and a baby who lunges for whatever you’re holding (like a knife).
8. Seriously: It's important to put down all the other stuff you were doing and feed yourself.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s easy to neglect yourself in those first couple of months, and that doesn’t help anyone. Babies look adorable in onesies, and the mountain of dirty laundry can wait. Go eat.
9. And don’t forget to drink water.
Truly. Fill up some water bottles and stash them around the house. You will love yourself for it.
10. Congrats, you’re not pregnant anymore! Drink other stuff too.
Snuggle the baby to sleep, lay him down, and admire how perfectly angelic he is—then go enjoy that IPA. You not only made an entire human, but you survived another day with him. You have earned a drink—enjoy it.
11. And remember—you’ve got this!
Galen Duffy is a work-at-home mom of three with a passion for fitness, good food, and enjoying her wonderfully chaotic household. She has volunteered as a babywearing educator, building resources to help make babywearing accessible to everyone with a baby.