From setting up a tranquil nursery to making sure you’ve purchased the most practical pram, impending mums are inundated with information on how to prepare for their baby’s arrival. When I was heavily pregnant with my first little man, I found myself waddling from shop to shop ticking off a long list of “must-have” items. What I failed to stock up on was food – glorious food. So when we arrived home with our wrinkly, sleep-averse, bundle of joy I had a state of the art odour-neutralising nappy bin in a Pinterest-inspired nursery and an empty freezer. Big mistake.
With all my family living overseas I didn’t have the luxury of calling my mum to request that she popover with a chicken chasseur, so I soon found myself on a first name basis with the owner of the Thai takeaway joint at the end of the street (Hi Chanchai), all the while living off an expired tub of meal replacement shake I found at the back of a kitchen cupboard.
Second time around we were a bit more clued up. Instead of spending way too much moolah on baby stuff we didn’t need (hello, four different coloured pram hoods that are still in their original packaging), I made sure our freezer was filled with a mixture of homemade meals and store bought essentials.
Starting the day after three hours broken sleep in a breast milk-stained onesie hardly inspires you to stand over the stove creating a stack of buttermilk pancakes. It’s far easier to grab a pack of frozen berries out of the freezer, add a banana, milk and some Greek yoghurt and blitz up a smoothie. Then sit on the couch, ask your partner to wash the Nutribullet and watch The Notebook for the 85th time while your newborn nuzzles into your greasy hair.
For snacks I would defrost some bagels or nuts (freezing them prevents the oil from going rancid, who knew?) and I always made sure I had a loaf or two of bread in the freezer for some toast or a sneaky jaffle.
On days when braving the supermarket to buy something fresh felt akin to running a marathon with an ingrown toenail, frozen fish and veggies came in handy. Boiling some pasta, adding some pesto and frozen peas then smothering it all with grated parmesan was a cheap and tasty favourite. And popping some white fish and chips in the oven required minimal effort with no fear of greeting a delivery man with a rogue nipple hanging out.