first post birth meal

A few weeks ago, we shared a viral photo of a mama eating a sandwich right after giving birth. It went viral for a reason: Pretty much every mother out there can relate to having that intense craving for a certain food right after giving birth.

We asked you to share what your must-have post-birth meal was. Here's what you said—but be warned: Reading this is going to make your very, very hungry.

  • Deep-fried Oreos and a mushroom melt
  • Rice gruel and fresh bean fry
  • Oysters and champagne
  • Smoked salmon and cream cheese croissant
  • King prawns
  • Domino's pizza
  • Turkey sandwich
  • Medium rare steak
  • Glazed donuts
  • Frosty and french fries
  • Sushi
  • Chicken caesar salad
  • Prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich
  • Poached eggs
  • Spaghetti with a side of mashed potatoes
  • Homemade peanut butter oatmeal cookies

Sigh, I love you all. Also, I'm hungry.

One note is that depending on your specific situation, you might have to wait a bit before you can have the glorious first bite. For example, C-section mamas usually need to wait until they pass gas to make sure that it is safe for them to eat.

But one thing is for certain, no matter when you eat that first meal it is going to be the best.

Since this is such a universal sentiment, we thought it would be fun to explore the why behind it. Here are three reasons we love that post-birth meal so much.

1. Stress elicits cravings—pregnancy and birth can be stressful!

When we get stressed, our bodies release the stress hormone, cortisol. When cortisol is released, your body increases the rate at which it processes carbohydrates and fat; it does this to make sure you have enough energy to handle the stressful situation you're in. Our bodies still think we need to be able to run away from bears, after all. The result of all this fat and carb-burning is hunger, especially for fat and carbs!

So now let's connect this to pregnancy and birth. Pregnancy is amazing, but it can have its share of stress, too: the worry of everything being okay, the busyness of all those appointments and the huge to-do list, and of course, the anticipation of birth—I share in The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama that almost 80% of women have some degree of nervousness about giving birth. All of these factors can lead to an increase in stress.

Giving birth comes with its own levels of stress, too—the concern that everything goes well, tension caused by discomfort and pain, and of course, the excitement of finally getting to meet your sweet baby all contribute to higher levels of cortisol.

The result of all this potential stress: hunger.

So it makes sense that we are extra excited about that first postpartum meal. We've been building up to it for a long time.

2. Certain foods may make you happier

Scientists have found that certain foods may give us a boost of serotonin, the hormone that helps us to feel happy. One of the ways this happens is by eating foods that contain an amino acid called tryptophan (the sleep-inducing factor Thanksgiving turkeys are famous for). Higher levels of tryptophan make it easier for our bodies to make and use serotonin.

Here are a few foods that contain a high level of tryptophan—and as you read them, you'll notice some similarities to the post-birth meal list above.

  • Salmon
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Turkey
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Milk
  • Soy
  • Spinach

Your body is smart. It knows what it needs! This is one of the reasons why emotional eating happens. When we get sad (or angry or stressed) our body is trying to help us by craving foods that could help us to feel better.

3. We want what we can't have

Most health care providers in the United States advise that pregnant people avoid certain foods to reduce their risk of ingesting dangerous bacterias that could cause infections. Some of the foods on the "avoid list" include:

  • Cold deli meats
  • Raw fish (like sushi)
  • Undercooked meats
  • Unpasteurized cheeses

(For a full list, check out 10 foods to avoid during pregnancy—and why.)

Notice any similarities to your list of post-birth cravings?

Our bodies (and let's be honest, our emotions) craved these foods for a long time during pregnancy, but we couldn't have them—and there is nothing like being told you can't have something to make you want it even more.

So plan that meal, mama. It is completely normal, super common and so well deserved after all that you have done to grow this baby.

Here are some of our favorite products to make that first post-birth meal as easy and yummy as possible.

Bamboo food containers

bamboo food container

Bringing your dream postpartum meal to the hospital with you? Keep it fresh and secure in a leak-proof Ekobo bamboo food container. The lid suctions to the container for ease of use. This container will be a favorite long after you give birth.


Lunch bag

lunch bag

For carrying snacks to your birth, the Ekobo lunch bag is perfection. It's made from recycled water and soda bottles and keeps food warm or cold. Plus, it has pockets for utensils.


Traveler bottle

welly water bottle

Dreaming of coffee? Bring your favorite with you in the Welly traveler bottle. Its stainless steel design keeps your beverage hot or cold for hours. And it comes with a removable infuser so you can brew tea or infuse fresh fruit into water on the go. Fresh lemon water during labor? Yes, please!


Birth bag

prepacked birth bag

We are obsessed with the pre-packed bags from Belly & Bag. They have everything you need, so you can spend your time daydreaming about that post-birth meal, instead of worrying about getting your hospital bag packed.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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