Quick and simple meals

Casseroles and quiches

These types of dishes are particularly useful when you don’t want to be continually cooking complicated dishes, but need nourishment. They are not hard to make, have lots of protein and fresh vegetables, and can be re-heated or eaten over a couple of days. Where possible, make double quantities and freeze some for later.

Soups

Once every few days, make a large pot of soup. Wash, cut up and toss in all the vegetables you can find. Vegetarians use beans, vegetarian stock cubes, herbs and so on, or you can include meat or chicken stock, or lamb shanks. Include lots of parsley as a good source of iron.

For a quick soup, chop up some fresh celery pieces, or blend cooked vegetables or leftovers, and mix with a tin of commercial soup. What you don’t eat straight away can go into the fridge and makes a good lunch or snack with toast later on.

Protein drinks

Make a large flask freshly each morning, then it’s easy to have a glass to top up your energy and nutrition levels while feeding the baby. Combine any of the following ingredients: skimmed milk, milk, yoghurt, soya milk or fruit juice with egg, Ovaltine, Milo, honey, maple syrup, fresh or tinned peaches or apricots, banana, chopped nuts and/or brewer’s yeast.

You, your partner, friends and relatives can prepare before the birth by filling your freezer with pre-cooked, nutritious meals for the early weeks and months. Pre-cooked and frozen meals make a great gift to new parents — after all, you can’t eat flowers. ‘precious’ about their newborn. Sometimes people can be quite rough and blasé when handling newborn babies and it is new parents who remind us, with their focused concern for their child’s well-being, that these babes are indeed precious and in need of empathic care.

Give your baby’s father an equal opportunity for bonding. Many fathers will make sure of this for themselves, picking up their baby and doting — perhaps more than the mother expected or more than she likes — but the mother will soon see that this vital input from the father is in her own and the child’s interests.

In a recent radio interview, United States paediatrician and author William Sears described how, after several of his own children had been born, he started to really get involved in the nurturing of the baby. He believes that fathers need to develop comforting skills which are uniquely male. He experimented with holding the baby close, with bare skin-to-skin contact. His baby also responded well to hearing Dad’s breathing and heartbeat, when he put the baby’s ear to his chest. The male voice vibrated through the tiny skull when he tucked it up under his neck and held his chin on the top of the baby’s head.

Lots of fathers we know of have found the same things — that they can comfort and entertain, or quieten and put a baby to sleep, by providing some masculine care and attention.

Movement: Inside your womb, your baby has been jiggled when you walk, turned as you roll over in bed, rocked as you move, pressed as you bend, floated in your waters and vigorously massaged by your contractions. Their early environment was rich in touch and movement.

Once they are outside your body, you naturally want to hold, stroke, snuggle, pat and rock your baby. Watch as someone holds a baby; they will almost always start to rock from side to side and sway their hips. We are very aware of babies’ touch sensations — without really thinking about it, we want to put soft clothes against them, hold them in a warm bath for long periods and ensure they have fresh, clean nappies.