If you're part of a meal-train for new parents or are a postpartum doula helping to "mother the mother," we've got you covered! Below are 7 Easy Dinners for New Parents that are high in protein and nutrition, and low on prep time. You'll also get bonus points because they're toddler-friendly!
Black Bean Bowl
1 package frozen microwavable rice (trader joes has frozen rice packets, or find it in the freezer aisle in most grocery stores)
1 can black beans
2 T salsa
1 c lettuce
1 tomato, diced
Sour cream (optional)
Warm can of black beans over the stove. At the same time, microwave the rice.
In a bowl put rice and beans on top. Then top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, salsa and optional sour cream.
Waldorf Chicken Salad
2 whole wheat pitas
1 rotissire chicken, shredded
1 stalk celery, diced
2 T walnuts, chopped
3 T plain greek yogurt
½ c red grapes, cut in half
Combine all ingredients together. Add salt and pepper. Serve in whole wheat pitas!
1 package whole wheat pasta, or Banza (chickpea pasta)
2 c yellow squash, chopped
1 c zucchini, chopped
1 c tomato, chopped
1 t garlic, chopped
1 t oregano
1 c mozarella cheese
¼ c ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
Cook pasta to directions, set aside. In a med saucepan, saute squash and zucchini together. Add in the tomato, garlic, and oregano. Combine the ricotta and egg in a small bowl. Then in a large bowl combine the pasta, veggies, ricotta mixture, and mozarella. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
One Pan Salmon and Asparagus
2 Salmon fillets
2 t olive oil
1 t minced garlic
½ t onion powder
1 T paprika
2-3 T thyme, parsley, etc (any herb will work)
Combine oil and spice mixture. Rub on Salmon and asparagus. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
Chicken and Roasted Veggies
1 pound of chicken tenderloins
3 T 21 seasoning salute (available at all Trader Joes, or a similar spice blend with minimal salt)
1 c sweet potato, cubed
1 zucchini, sliced
1 carrot, cut up
½ red onion, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400. In a small bowl combine veggies, some olive oil, and 1 T of the seasoning. Roast for 25 min, stirring halfway
While the veggies are roasting, mix together chicken and spices. Saute on each side, 4-5 minutes, until cooked. Serve with the veggies!
1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 T old bay seasoning
½ c mango, diced
½ c avocado, diced
Juice of ½ lime
Bag of broccoli cole slaw
Corn tortillas or iceburg lettuce
In a small bowl combine mango, avocado, lime and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan add shrimp, sprinkle with old bay and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Take a tortilla, add 1 T of the broccoli slaw, shrimp, and 1 T of the mango/avocado mixture.
What's you're favorite meal to being to new parents? Let us know and we'll add it to this list!
Sleep deprivation is no joke! Give each other grace during the difficult times, especially overnight. Sure this sounds simple - "be nice to each other, of course we can do that!" - but many of us have never experienced true sleep deprivation or the level of stress that having a newborn brings.
Here are some tips you can start thinking about before baby arrives so that when those overnight stressors occur, you'll both have the tools to maybe feel a little less overwhelmed:
As always, if you are feeling like your stress levels are abnormal or if you're having thoughts that scare you, it's appropriate to reach out for support to your own doctor or Postpartum Support International.
As an expecting parent or postpartum caregiver, you may have heard the term “lying-in”or “lying in period.” This is the practice of giving mothers time to spend undisturbed with their newborn for anywhere between 2 weeks to 3 months. The purpose is to give mother time to heal physically and mentally from childbirth, encourage mother/baby bonding, allow a healthy breastfeeding relationship to develop and promote overall recuperation and postnatal wellness. Benefits to mom and baby are tremendous as Rachel Wolf, RN of Let Mommy Sleep notes: “Lying in means better sleep and higher immune systems for moms, and decreased exposure to germs and illnesses for infants.” Additionally the mental health benefits of allowing mom to recuperate properly have been demonstrated over and over.
If you haven’t heard of lying in, it’s probably because it’s not practiced much here in the US, where undisturbed time is becoming more and more rare. Families tend to be spread out and job and childcare responsibilities of parents, grandparents, neighbors and relatives tend to mean that postpartum moms (or any parent, really!) simply don't have an opportunity to get extended periods of rest. So how can we help mothers, babies and ultimately entire families stay healthy during this vulnerable perinatal time?
In addition to fair maternity leave practices and follow-up visits with the primary care physician, it’s vital that new mothers have a support network. “The most important thing we can do is ensure that every mom has the help and support she needs, should she end up struggling with postpartum depression or baby blues,” Wolf says. If new parents don’t have family support, they’ll need to get a little creative. Moms Clubs, church communities, neighbors and even local Facebook groups can organize meals and blocks of time to help with housework or allow mom to sleep.
Night Nannies or Registered Nurse visits can also be a great resource for new parents, especially during the first week after childbirth. This week is a critical time for assessing mental health of both parents, performing physical assessments of mother and baby and providing evidence-based education in newborn care. Evidence shows the benefits of postpartum visits are numerous and as Wolf notes, “mothers would not be readmitted to the hospital at the numbers they are, if someone was there in the family home early enough to identify those mothers who are either physical or psychological risk for postpartum complications.”
Whatever a new mother's situation, it's important to prepare for life after baby *before* baby arrives. Get those volunteers lined up, join a local support network, organize family members' time off and research professional caregivers just in case they might be needed. While we may not be able to have months of time off, parents can build their support network to maximize lying-in for a healthy mom, baby and family.
On WJLA-TV, Registered Nurse Liz Hawkes and mom Julie Stanbridge share how to know the difference between typical hormonal shifts after giving birth called "baby blues" and postpartum depression.
By knowing the signs of PPD in new mothers, partners, friends and caregivers take the first step to help.
Did you know postpartum mental health issues are the most common complication of pregnancy? Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Anxiety in mothers is finally getting talked about, but postpartum depression in men* called Paternal PostNatal Depression, or PPND, is just as common.
What is PPND?
Depression in mothers happens because of the biological and hormonal changes experienced after childbirth. According to studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and National Institute of Health however, depression can affect up to 25% of new fathers -especially if their partner is experiencing depression. The condition is called PPND, or Paternal PostNatal Depression, and with the amount of depression reported in men as a whole typically about 5%, PPND is very real. Hormonal and emotional changes happen in men too.
*We’re using male pronouns here because the study data is for male partners, Awareness of postpartum issues is relevant to female partners as well.
Who is at risk?
PPND can happen to any father but there are also risk factors to know about before baby arrives: