It’s crazy how the most basic things become so difficult once you’re caring for a newborn. Taking a shower, peeing by yourself, eating with both hands and other things we take for granted on the pre-baby days all of a sudden become luxuries during postpartum.
Newborns are a lot of work. Many want to be held all the time and those little stomachs can’t hold much food, so they need to eat and poop often. If you’re breastfeeding, you might find most of your day is spent nursing. So, when are you supposed to cook and prepare all the nutritious meals you will be needing to recover from childbirth, cope with sleep deprivation and keep a healthy milk supply?!
Even if you have an awesome partner who is committed to taking the best care of you, the demands of parenthood are many and it’s easy to put our nutritional needs on the back burner. Taking care of babies wasn’t meant to be a one or two person job. You will keep hearing it over and over and even if it sounds cliché it’s true: it takes a village! So hey, there is a very easy thing you can do to make this transition easier: let people help!
People want to help. Really.
The problem is that many times we just don’t know how to be helpful, so we need just a little bit of guidance.
Setting up a meal train is the perfect way to delegate an important task to friends, family, and even acquaintances that want to support you.
The Meal Train website makes the whole process super simple. All you have to do is specify your meal preferences or dietary restrictions and when it would be a good time for people to drop off the meal. Volunteers will be able to see who is bringing what dish on which day, so it helps prevent you from eating lasagna all week.
- DELEGATE: If you can, have one main friend or family member coordinate the whole thing so that you can relax and not worry about anything except the demands of new parenthood.
- GIVE SUGGESTIONS: Create a Pinterest board with recipe suggestions. It makes it even easier for people to help you in the exact way that is better for you and your family. You can also casually share this cool article about Meal Train Etiquette for people who are new to the concept.
- SET BOUNDARIES: You don’t have to entertain guests! People can just leave the dish at the entrance. Have two letters printed out to put at the door: one to welcome visitors when you’re feeling social; and one to let them know it’s not a good time to come into the house with a number they can text for arranging a better time to visit. You can find both templates in our free Postpartum Planning Guide, which is full of awesome tips for a wonderful postpartum experience.
- PAY IT FORWARD! Next time someone you know has a baby, bring them a meal (even if you don’t know them so well). Postpartum is just the beginning of a long journey of parenting and one of the many times you will need your village there to support you. Let’s all help each other out and create community in whichever small or big way we can.
In the past few years of working with new families, I have seen a lot of parents struggling to ask for help. Many are afraid of bothering people or simply feel shy about it. Our society values independence very highly and nobody wants to be seen as vulnerable or dependable. But interdependence is the way of parenthood! If you need extra support during postpartum, reach out to a postpartum doula who can help you create the perfect environment to rest and bond with your baby and give you the tools to create a strong support system.
Have you ever participated in a meal train? What has your experience been like?