The 5 Biggest Mistakes I Made in the Kitchen After Having a Baby

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

The best part about being pregnant is the fantasies you have before the baby comes. Nothing x-rated here — it’s all about brunching with your snoozing baby, the beauty and ease of naturally breastfeeding, finally fitting back into your pre-pregnancy clothes, and having that unicorn baby who magically figures out how to sleep through the night at six weeks old.

There’s a reason they’re called fantasies and there’s a reason they end the first night the baby is home with you. Sure, maybe you are lucky enough to have one or two of those fantasies come through, but most of them aren’t realistic. The expectations for you, your family, and especially the tiny human who just entered the world can just be a little too high. That’s where most of my mistakes in the kitchen came from — those crazy-high expectations. Here are the five biggest mistakes I made, so hopefully you can avoid them.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

1. Winging it while cooking.

I’ve already written about this, but winging it while cooking just didn’t work for me. I was distracted, exhausted, and extremely hormonal. I needed to follow a recipe for possibly the first time in my life and it really helped me relax in the kitchen and get delicious food on the table.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

2. Trying to cook complicated meals.

Sure, my husband and I love cassoulet and ma po tofu. But why was I trying to make that my second week into motherhood? Because I could finally fit in our narrow kitchen without accidentally turning on the stove with my protruding baby bump? After what I can only call a miserable attempt at short ribs, I took a step back. BLT sandwiches, spaghetti bolognese, and fried eggs on rice with soy sauce took center stage — and boy were they welcome dishes! I could make this stuff in my sleep and it came together quickly.

(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

3. Ordering out too much.

I love pizza and takeout Indian food as much as anyone. That said, after about five days straight of takeout, I got palate fatigue. Too much salt, too much grease, or whatever it may be, it just wasn’t doing it for me. I wish I had stocked my fridge a little better with homemade meals I could have eaten at 2 a.m. between feedings.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

4. Ignoring my cravings.

I don’t know why, but I thought my cravings would stop the minute the cord was cut. Instead, they were intensified. I remember forcing myself to drink a glass of mint tea after labor because I was convinced it was what I should be drinking, when really all I wanted was a smoothie made with almond butter. Of course, my body was probably craving healthy fats. As soon as I told my husband, he (nicely) told me to knock it off and listen to my body. Oh, and he got me that smoothie. And yeah, it was amazing.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

5. Pushing away help.

I’m not used to needing help in the kitchen. I love cooking with others, but that’s from a social standpoint, not a necessary one. I really wish I had taken up my sister on her offer to stock our fridge when I was still in the hospital or that I had let my mom bring over more food instead of insisting that we were fine. The day I let my in-laws bring in brunch was a game-changer. I was able to take a nap while everyone else ate and it was awesome.

What were the biggest mistakes you made in the kitchen with a newborn? Let us know in the comments!