I’ve decided to do a couple more round-up blog posts for mums and bubs meal ideas. As I have previously mentioned I’ve moved away from using my blog as a platform for talking about motherhood (unless it relates to hormones) but I recently attended a hormone seminar in my area and amongst other things it spoke about how a recent study reported that a large percentage of mothers eat less than and poorer quality food than their own toddlers!
At first, this really shocked me because I really prioritized my diet as much as I could (and still do) during that entire first year of the postpartum period. To me, the mothers’ diet post-baby is almost more important than diet during pregnancy. This is because there are there very high demands on the body because of breastfeeding (your milk prioritizes babies needs and can leave your body nutritionally depleted if your not eating well enough) Our bodies are also undergoing massive hormonal shifts, brain changes, physical healing from pregnancy and birth as well as the major life adjustment that comes with having a new baby. All these factors need to be supported with an abundant nutrient-rich diet in order for things to run smoothly postpartum.
Having said that, I can totally understand how mothers end up hardly eating and neglecting their diets because motherhood is hard! It’s difficult to get absolutely anything done and it’s almost inevitable that we as mothers will cater to the needs of our children first and overlook our own needs. Personally, I believe I would have ended up in the same place had I not gone through my health struggles beforehand. My health struggles taught me that a good diet is non-negotiable for hormone balance and mental health (and physical health as well) so I chose to prioritize diet as much as possible. I will admit it was very difficult, one of the biggest anxieties I carried with me post-baby was “am I going to be able to eat today” . I remember sharing this fear with one of my Mum friends and she told me “just eat finger food or things that can easily be grabbed and eaten one-handed” this advice did not sit well with me because although it’s better than not eating at all, that sort of eating is the type of thing that forms a snacking habit which leads to never eating balanced meals and filling up on processed foods instead. I wholeheartedly wanted to eat well because I knew how important it was, but baby comes first and sometimes (many times) he didn’t want to let me prepare food or eat it. It took me a couple of months of adjustment to learn how to feed myself well with a baby but I got there! As a consequence, I believe I had a really good postpartum experience. It wasn’t perfect and I definitely found it very very hard (harder than I imagined) but I believe my diet helped me deal with lack of sleep. I rarely remember struggling with feeling tired (no he doesn’t sleep well) unless we were going through a teething episode. It also gave me lots of energy and kept me feeling happy and positive despite all the hardships of motherhood.
One thing I had in my favour was that I absolutely hated making baby food so I naturally gravitated to foods that we could both share! I have already published a post with our favourite breakfast sharing recipes where I talked a little bit more about my approach to introducing solids. You can read it here http://hazelandcacao.com/top-5-mums-and-bubs-plant-based-breakfast-recipes/
When it comes to dinner recipes most foods are generally easily digested by baby although some people suggest waiting until at least 8 months to introduce legumes like lentils and beans (they’re a little tough on the digestion) the main concern with savoury food for a baby before the age of one is salt. The reason for this is that salt can be a little hard on babies kidneys. I totally agree with this as normal table salt is still a problem for adults! I actually didn’t know that salt was not allowed for babies until about 8 months, but thankfully we only use pink Himalayan salt and eat very few processed foods so our table salt intake is low. I had a doctor tell me that the restrictions mostly apply to table salt and not good quality unprocessed salt like Himalayan salt or sea salt. Having said that I did still try and minimize bubs salt intake before the age of one. I learned to reserve his portion of food and then add salt in last or keep it at the table if we needed more salt with our meals. At first, I was also careful with spices and cut spices all the way out and just added one or two in with the meals if they called for them (the mild ones) but that was just me, a lot of parents love to include spice for their toddlers in particular. As a warning, our dinner meals are quite carbohydrate heavy and seem to mostly involve some form of pasta or rice. It may sound a little repetitive but I love to mix up the kinds of pasta we use so we’re getting different types of whole grains and I often mix in some quinoa or wild rice with our rice dishes to keep it more diverse. Other than that I mostly made food as usual and I slowly learned which dinner meals my baby enjoyed the most. These are the meals I’m sharing today. I hope they can be a bit of inspiration for any mums that might be struggling for meal ideas! Also, remember that our food intake is important too!
Vegan Vegetable Mac n Cheese
Easy Vegan Red Lentil Dhal
At first, I only used paprika and turmeric as spices for this dish. It lost its traditional flavour but was still delicious.
Vegan Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese
Vegan Tomato Pasta
Vegan Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto