Do you know what is worse than being “hangry”?
Being hangry and in labor!
One of the bonuses (in my opinion) of delivering your baby in a birth center or at home is that you are not restricted in eating during labor. It was important to me that I would be able to nourish myself and keep my energy up, while not getting hangry (because I knew I would already have enough going on and didn’t need to add that into the mix). So, I started planning and prepping what snacks I would have on-hand weeks before my due date. Even though I was having a home birth, I put all of the non-perishable snack in a bright green resuable grocery bag in our pantry so it would be easy for my husband or doula to spot. I also had the items that needed to be refrigerated front and center in the fridge. (Another reason that I had the snacks together in a bag in my pantry was in case we did have to transfer to the hospital or birth center- the bag would be easy to grab and go.)
Now, when my labor came around, I had my snacks all prepped and ready, but had ZERO interest in eating at any point during labor. In fact, my doula and husband had to talk me into eating tiny bites here are there to keep my energy up. (If you have read my birth story, you might remember that all I ate in early labor were donuts from the 5am donut run I sent my husband on. While they were delicious, they were not so nutritious.)
So, here are the foods that I prepared ahead of time and actually ate during or after labor (and was glad I had them handy!):
Protein bite balls– I was eating these pretty consistently throughout my last trimester so I always made sure that I had at least half a dozen in the fridge because I knew they would be a good snack to have for labor. They are simple to make and pretty tasty! You just combine all of these ingredients, roll them into 1.5″ balls and refrigerate:
-1 cup old fashioned oats
-1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes
-1/2 cup natural peanut butter
-1/2 cup ground flax seeds
-1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
-1/3 cup honey (if you can get some local honey, even better!)
-1/4 cup chia seeds
Vitamin/Coconut Water– While I am fully aware that flavored water drinks or sports drinks aren’t the absolute best for you, I also think that plain coconut water tastes a little bit like dirt. Nevertheless, I did have coconut water on hand, but found myself only drinking Vitamin Water during my labor. And I could only sip it out of a straw (this goes back to the whole not wanting to eat or drink and having to be talked into taking tiny bites and sips). But, it is so important to stay hydrated during labor, and the extra electrolytes were a bonus!
Electrolyte/Rescue Remedy Ice Cubes– I prepped these a couple weeks ahead of time so I would have them ready. I did not use them during labor as planned, but rather during the days immediately postpartum. All I did was mix 1/2 bottle vitamin water, 1 cup coconut water, and about a dozen drops of rescue remedy in a pitcher, then poured the solution into an ice tray and stuck it in the freezer until I needed them. (Rescue Remedy was recommended to me during my pregnancy as a pregnancy-safe supplement that I could take when I was feeling anxious or stressed.)
Lactation Cookies– Ok, so these are really just oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips, but if you search for “Lactation Cookie Recipe” online, you will get quite a few results- all of them a slight variation of oatmeal cookie. I made 3 dozen a couple weeks before my due date and stuck them in the fridge. They were great to have postpartum and I had a good milk supply immediately postpartum and after (perhaps because I was scarfing these down). Added bonus: when I told people they were lactation cookies, they didn’t eat them, they left them for me (I suspect that the name also made them fearful that if they ate one, they would start spontaneously lactating, ha!)
Applesauce Pouches– Either you have kids that eat these or you have seen toddlers sucking on pouches with the green twist top. While yes, these are marketed primarily as a snack for small children (since they are so simple and mess-free), they are a GREAT method of snacking when you are a new mom and constantly carrying or nursing your baby. Also, when you don’t have time to make food (because you are taking care of a newborn), they are a quick, easy, and healthy snack (as long as you buy the unsweetened variations).
These were the snacks that I relied on during and after labor, but did you have something different that you loved? Or maybe you’re preparing for your own labor and looking for ideas. In that case, I hope this is helpful.