Being a mother is hands down the greatest thing and the hardest thing I’ve ever done, especially during those early months (often referred to as the Fourth Trimester). It is bliss and love and pain and chaos. You are recovering from childbirth, which for many (like me) involved major abdominal surgery (x3), navigating the difficult early weeks (or months) of breastfeeding, and waking up every couple hours (if you’re lucky to actually get a stretch that long) to tend to the needs of this tiny amazing (demanding!) new life you created who depends on you for absolutely everything. I was feeling more love than I ever knew was possible and a whole lot of physical pain and *feelings* for a while there too. Throw adjusting hormones and the needs of older siblings in the mix to make it even more interesting (and by interesting I mean a perfect recipe for a nervous breakdown). As a mom, you are always putting the needs of your kids first, but sometimes mom needs to be taken care of too! Especially right after having a baby. For me, a huge part of feeling good is putting good, nutritious food in my body. This is why I was so thrilled to be asked to collaborate with the amazing team at The Culinistas (an in-home private chef service) on the rollout of their brilliant new Postnatal Package, whose sole objective is to help new mothers feel supported and healthy during the fourth trimester. I remember wanting to eat super healthy meals that would be best for me and baby, but so often I was just too exhausted to be bothered with grocery shopping or cooking/food prep, so we ordered delivery almost every night for the first month (or two . . . or three) and/or I hoovered up the leftovers of Declan and Bella’s meals (pasta with butter anyone?). Even when I ordered from “healthy” restaurants you could still tell there was so much salt and oil used in the food prep, and the amount of single-use plastic waste we produced from each delivery was shocking and gross.
Here’s how The Culinistas is different from other meal delivery services: Twice a week your chef (how fancy does that sound?) will grocery shop, prepare meals from start to finish in your home, and clean up. Menu selection is a customizable process (there is a nutrition track to support breastfeeding as well as one for general health and self-care) and their dishes are easy to mix & match throughout the week for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The chefs come to you to make healthy, fresh food in your home (no waste!), organize it in your fridge, and clean up and leave without a trace (aside from the nutritious and healthy fare ready for you to grab and eat whenever you want it). The only thing wrong with this program was that it wasn’t around when I had my babies. Seriously, this would have been such a lifesaver, and I know would have helped to get me back on my feet and feeling like myself again a little bit sooner.
The Culinistas asked me if I had any advice for new moms and this was what I said:
“The best advice I can give new mothers: ask for help! You aren’t supposed to take care of a child (or more than one child), yourself, and your house all by yourself. Haven’t you heard? It takes a village! Whether that is arranging for childcare so you can take a nap, a shower, clean up/do laundry, or food shop/meal prep, having family and friends pitch in will massively improve your sanity. By taking care of yourself and your needs, you will be a better mother to your baby. It’s the same philosophy as the oxygen masks on an airplane – put your mask on first so you can better help your child. It just works out better for everyone when the adult is conscious.”
My fridge has never looked this good. ↑
When Jill and Tiana, the co-founders of The Culinistas, came over to do a little photoshoot for their Postnatal Package, they brought a whole lot of food with them (lucky for us!). I got to try many of the menu items and I can vouch that they were all amazing (Chris also loved them and many dishes were a hit with the kids too).
A healthy and delicious breakfast made easy for the whole family.
Baby Jack just started solids but still has an opinion. Here he is saying “Mom this food looks and smells so much better than the steamed veggies you put in front of me all the time can you please give me some of that and just let the experts handle the cooking from now on?”
Fed, happy and ready to tackle the day. 🙂
(But this ↓ was what more of the pics looked like as I was saying “Will you PLEASE get over here and just take a couple pics for our nice friends who brought us all this great food!”
Asking them to hug their baby brother almost always works. 🙂
A big thank you to The Culinstas team for the food, photos, and bringing this great option to NYC moms. ♥
* All photos by Sylvie Rosokoff