Mmmm, mmmm, good

Food.  For me, eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  I love a good meal.  Going to restaurants is one of my favourite things to do.  I am thrilled to pieces when the farmers market opens for the season: fresh produce when eaten in season is delicious.  I have been known to cry for the perfect peach or pear.

Having a baby wrecks a fair amount of havoc on one’s eating habits, though.

My morning sickness ruined more than a few meals.  Combine that with irritable bowel syndrome, and there was little that I could manage in terms of eating during the first trimester.  My midwives told me not to worry about whether I was getting enough of this or that, to ignore the Canada’s Food Guide that was sent in the mail from public health, and to focus on eating whatever I could keep down.  I consumed a lot of soft pretzels and passion tea lemonades during the first trimester, and still remember Jason driving to and from Wendy’s in record time when I mentioned that I was feeling up to some chicken strips and a baked potato.  Most of my food issues wore off after the first trimester, and thankfully in time for a trip to the Maritimes, where I was determined to eat as much seafood as possible.  For the second and third trimester, I tried to eat simple and healthy meals, and used the 80/20 rule for junk food like Big Macs and Blizzards.

But there was a new food concern on the horizon: what would we eat after the baby arrived?  Cooking would be the least of my concerns with a newborn, but I knew I would have to eat in order to recover from birth, and to help my body produce milk for Georgia.  I came up with the following strategies for eating during the post-partum period.

1.  Freeze it.  I make soup or stew about twice per week, and leftovers are always labelled and put in the freezer.  During the last eight weeks of my pregnancy I built a nice little stash of nourishing meals that could be thawed and heated whenever I needed something tasty in a hurry.

2.  Stock up.  I love Ristorante pizzas, but they can run a little pricey.  I grocery shop based on the sales I see in fliers, so whenever my beloved pizzas went on sale, we would buy a few until we had quite the pizza stack in the back of our freezer.

3.  Ask for help.  When family came to visit, I would usually ask if they wouldn’t mind bringing something along with them: my mother’s rice pudding was one dish that made an appearance after Georgia was born.  My sisters also did a few grocery runs, and my in-laws dropped off a few meals from the take-out counter.  If someone asks what they can do to help, bringing food is one of the best options.

4.  Eat-in/take-out: Restaurants are a godsend for new parents.  What’s in your neighbourhood?  What’s fast?  Does anyone offer delivery?  Is there anywhere you could go with a newborn?  We kept a few take-out menus around the house, along with gift cards and coupons for places like Subway and Wendy’s.  The Pizza Hut lunch buffet was also one of our prime choices when Georgia was a newborn: there was no wait time for food, it was a family restaurant, and the booths were comfy on my recovering bottom (and helped us be discrete when nursing.  I’m less concerned now about a straw areola coming into view, but in those early days, the privacy of a booth was very helpful when nursing in public).

5.  Think finger foods: It’s not easy to nurse and cut up steak at the same time.  Foods that could be eaten with one hand were crucial, as I usually need to keep one hand on my breast while feeding Georgia.  There was also a few times when I needed both hands, so Jason would end up feeding me!  Cheese curds, deli meat, fruit slices, crackers, and yogurt drinks became my go-to meals for quite a while.  Look for foods that are high in protein, and try to “eat the rainbow” when possible.

6.  Water, water, everywhere: Do not let yourself get dehydrated.  We bought a big brita pitcher and kleen kanteens before Georgia was born, and then made sure there was always water within reaching distance of my different nursing stations.  Getting dehydrated is no fun at all, whether you are pregnant, nursing, or just living your life.

Next up: food for thought on eating once baby is older.

Why yes, I do put baby in the corner

Nursery inspiration can be found almost everywhere you turn on the internet.  At times, it reminds me of wedding inspiration: so many ideas, so many choices, so easy to become overwhelmed.  When I was pregnant with Georgia (and even before that, to be honest) I would dream of what her nursery would look like.  It would be bright and cheerful, a place where I would actually want to spend my time.  It would be gender neutral, since we didn’t know the sex of the baby.  It would be a room baby could actually grow up in-not too theme-oriented, not too matchy-matchy.

Reality tells a different story.

We live in a one bedroom apartment.  There is no nursery.  There is a storage closet, kitchen, multi-function living space, bathroom, and bedroom.  C’est tout.  Those dreams of a nursery are waiting for another apartment.

In the meantime, baby has a corner, plus other areas scattered around the apartment.  Her corner is simple: a wicker bassinet on top of an old coffee table next to my side of the bed.  Georgia is the third generation of my family to sleep in the bassinet, and is just about ready to outgrow it.  Her bassinet (also referred to as her basket) is lined with a rainbow checkered fabric, which was my duvet cover from high school and university.  I was sad when the ends of the cover wore out, but am pleased that it is getting more use.  The coffee table is painted a leafy green, which sounds odd but works well with the other colours in our bedroom.  Above her bassinet are two little collage/paintings: one reads “I am loved” and the other reads “With faith all things are possible”.  A mini sleep sheep hangs out on the coffee table, and there is usually a handmade blanket nearby.  This set-up has worked well for night nursing, but we’re going to have to find a new solution soon, because baby is a long little girl and will need to be in her crib soon!

Playing shy in her bed.

Some of her other areas include a Malm dresser that also acts as a change table, a corner of our living room for her toys, bouncer, and playmat, and our dining room chairs all have hanging toys tied to their backs (or old disco ball ornaments).  Our glider is tucked next to a book case, and Georgia has her own shelf of board and story books.  There are days when the living room is a wee bit over-saturated with baby stuff, but we make so.  And I dream of a bigger space.

How have you adapted smaller than usual spaces to fit the needs of a baby?