When a new baby arrives, your whole world turns upside down. Even simple things are affected, like cooking and cleaning in the kitchen.
Time is of the essence when your new baby arrives.
On the one hand, it can feel like there are not enough hours in the day while on the other, the day can feel endless. You can quite literally spend an entire day in your home and fail to complete the most basic domestic tasks.
Preparing food is just one of those things. Babies require a huge amount of attention. They crave skin to skin, regular feeding, multiple nappy changes and they are infinitely happier when they are close to you. This can leave very little time for chores around the house.
When it comes to food you will more than likely lean on convenience items more than you planned. Your priorities are in a different place now and you just don’t have the time. However, new parents require all the healthy fuel they can get.
While time is precious it also happens to be a stage in life where you really do have to look after yourself. In doing so you will have more to offer your baby and each other.
Here are some simple kitchen shortcuts that will save time and energy for new parents. They’ll help you find the balance so that you can enjoy decent food without spending too much time in the kitchen and away from your beautiful baby.
Buy a sling
As the mother of an almost four-week-old, I can assure you that no meal would have been possible this month without using my baby sling. I picked up a newborn stretchy wrap which means my baby can snuggle up to my chest and feel content while my two hands are free. I’ve been able to prepare meals without having to compromise on my baby’s happiness or comfort. I couldn’t manage without it!
A milk frother
I’ve got the one that came with our Nespresso machine but they often come into local supermarkets as part of the special buys offers. This is a godsend because I make my “fancy” frothy coffees from the comfort of my own home. It is a double whammy because a) I save money and b) caffeine is very much needed after a sleepless night. It helps me stay awake to prepare said meals.
Make double batches of meals
It may seem like double the work but in many cases, it’s just a matter of adding in an extra packet of something or other. For example, this week I made chilli. I find these dishes brilliant as they are one-pot wonders and easy to fit a tonne of vegetables in to.
I just added a second packet of mince, some extra vegetables and a little more passata and we had dinner sorted for three full days. The first day we had chilli con carne with rice. The second we had it in wraps and by day three taco fries were on the menu. It’s smart cooking and a huge time-saver in the long run.
Lean on healthy convenience items
Convenience does not have to mean unhealthy food. Leaning on certain products and prepared items can make all the difference and actually make it more likely that you will eat a healthy meal.
Pre-chopped vegetables and meat are a lifesaver as are seasoning kits and sides that you can boil in the back or pop into the microwave. These half the time that I am in the kitchen and we still eat healthy meals.
Use less equipment
The clean-up is often what takes up the most amount of time in the kitchen. Be smart with your choices around which equipment you use and you will reduce it considerably. Do you really need all of those pots and pans?
Oven bake rather than frying to avoid cleaning the frying pan. Add vegetables to the same pot that the pasta is boiling in. All of these steps add up and save time on the clean up which can feel overwhelming.
Your freezer should be your best friend
Using your freezer to your advantage is a really great way of saving time and money. If you only use half a jar of pesto for example, freeze the other half. It will be great for a rainy day and you can literally add it straight in to warm pasta from frozen.
You can also freeze any leftovers which will come in handy for a quick meal some day. You can even pre-chop vegetables like peppers and onions when you have some time and store them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer.