Cooking for the New Mom – Pathiya Samayal My Way!

Cooking for the New Mom – Pathiya Samayal My Way!

The look feel and tone of the Recipes on the Blog is going to be focussed, for the next month or so, on ‘postpartum’ food or food for new moms, with this series on Cooking for the New Mom. This post describes the broad diet plan and the Menu for cooking for the new  mom, each day after delivery, with links to some recipes. More recipes are in the process of being added to the blog. As my daughter Mridula’s  second baby  arrived a few days ago and as she is back home from the hospital, everything at home is keyed to nurturing the New Mom and the Baby.
Natasha, now the Big Sister (and all of 3 3/4 years old) is as usual involved in everything that is happening. Given a chance, she would look after Baby all by herself, but for the time being is allowing her Mom to do so.
Nanni’s role is now to ensure the right diet and that that tasty nutritious food, just right for the New Mom is on the table at the right time and at the right temperature. Luckily I love cooking and this is for me a golden opportunity to set out recipes for what is almost a new cuisine. The first 40 days are important to set the new mom on the path to health, and I am going to plan each day’s menu very carefully.

This is the 3rd time I am taking care of one of my daughters, post delivery – the first was nearly 5 years ago when I went to Connecticut for Lakshmi’s delivery. Baby Tamma decided to come very early and Nanni was still in India when the call came that the grandchild had arrived, safely. I flew out the next day, grabbing whatever Indian condiments and mixes I could manage to organize in so short a time.
Having experienced the benefits of a strict South Indian post delivery diet myself, I was keen to ensure that I would do the same for my daughters. Of course with changing times and tastes, the diet has also to be adjusted, though I have broadly stayed within the traditional framework for such food.
The challenge in cooking for the new Mom, at Connecticut, was getting the vegetables that form part of the South Indian diet for a new Mom. The local’India’ store came to my rescue, until I realised that all I need is a diet type and not precisely the same vegetables that we use in India.
A year later when Natasha was born, I was in Mumbai to take care of Mridula. Slightly more seasoned now, I was able to turn out tasty food suitable for the Indian post delivery diet. Of course I added my own learnings with Western oriented recipes, to vary the diet so that it was not boring, and fresh flavours hit the palate and made the food interesting.
This time I am at Hyderabad where it is easy to source the vegetables I need. There is a store right next door and I walk across every day at mid morning to pick up the veggies and fruits for the next day. Online shopping is also easy and deliveries are quick. Cooking for the New Mom has been easier this time.

The link below is to a vendor to whom PepperOnPizza.com is affiliated. If you click and purchase through the link, I will earn a small commission. I only promote brands and products that I trust and use.

The food I have planned has variety, and each is by itself easy to make. This week I will prepare and grind some spice mixes which I can use readily, instead of having to fry and grind them for each recipe.

New Mom

So what is so special about the diet for a New Mom?
Some Basics:
1. While cooking for the New mom, it is important to keep in mind that just as the mother and child should be kept protected from chill breezes, cold water etc, it is important to give food that warms the body rather than cools it down.
2. Food for the New Mom should be soothing to the tissues – no chilli (whether fresh chilli, dry chilli or chilli powder) or spices such as clove, cinnamon, anise, cardamom, etc. And no ‘garam masala’ or curry powder.
3. Anything acidic is not good for the body at this stage – so no citrus fruits (lemon, orange etc), nothing sour or acidic like tamarind, sour curds or anything fermented. (idli dough seems an exception to this rule, I am not sure why, as the dough is fermented before use).

Tomato is generally avoided, though I do add a small piece when I am making khichidi, choosing a tomato that is sweet and not tart. I have been adding a little tamarind or tomato once in a while, after the 4th day from delivery. And after 10 days I have added tomato to dal, rasam, khichidi etc so that Mridula could get some of the benefits of the ripe red tomatoes.
4. Protecting the Baby from Colic or other tummy disorders is very important, so in turn the food for the breastfeeding mother should be easily digestible. Rajma, thowar dhal (pigeon lentils) are therefore out. Chickpeas only when cooked and pureed into hummus or other similar consistency.
5. Salads and anything uncooked are not right when cooking for the New Mom. Starchy vegetables such as potato, or cruciferous vegetables that can cause gas (which can easily give the Baby gas too), such as cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli are to not to be included in the diet. Parsley is not advised.  At the end of a month (30 days after birth), I introduced potatoes, sparingly. I made the usual vegetable kootu, adding boiled potatoes to the dhal instead of the green vegetables I generally used. Cauliflower, finely chopped, was added to koottu or sautéed and served with chappaties in the 3rd week. It did not seem to go well with the baby, so we gave it up for a while. 

Cooking for the New Mom: Recipes posted on the Blog till date- click the link on the names below:

  1. Pathiya Milagu Kuzhambu – Traditional Tamil Pepper Gravy:  
Milagu Kuzhambu recipe
Milagu Kuzhambu recipe

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Nutritious Khichidi for the New Mom

Khichidi for the new mom
Khichidi for the new mom

  3. Savoury Semiya Uppuma

Semiya Uppuma for the new mom
Semiya Uppuma

4. Easy Vegetable Kootu

Snake Gourd Koottu
Snake Gourd Koottu

5. Pathiya Peerkangai Thogaiyal with Pirandai Bone setter

Pathiya Peerkangai Thogayal_PepperOnPizza.com
Pathiya Peerkangai Thogaiyal

6. Western foods that I found safe to give Mridula from the 3rd week, were home made Pizza and Wheat based Pasta, with homemade delicious tomato sauce.

Home made Pizza (with home made Pizza dough) Recipe

Homemade Thin Crust Pizza_PepperOnPizza.com
Homemade Thin Crust Pizza

Easy Sauce for Pasta/ Pizza

Easy Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce_PepperOnPizza.com
Easy Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

What are the permitted ingredients while cooking for the New Mom? This is what I have understood so far, and will keep adding more items as I include them in Mridula’s diet.

1. Greens and leafy vegetables (to be cooked and not taken raw)- methi or fenugreek leaves are an important part of the diet. Greens give the essential iron.
2. Garlic – important as it helps in lactation.
3. Pepper to be substituted for chilli and spices
4. Moong Dal – yellow split green gram lentil or mung bean (easy to digest, unlike Towar Dal/Pigeon peas)
5. Gourds and watery vegetables (except cucumber which is ‘cold’)- marrow, snake gourd (some people avoid snake gourd at the initial period), zucchini, bottle gourd (lauki), ridge gourd. Moringa or drumstick in a kootu or kozhumbu. (recipe for Kootu is given above)
6. Ghee (clarified butter) or Butter to be used instead of oil. If Oil is used, it should be sparingly added and sesame and olive oil are advised. Coconut oil is again ‘cold’ though it is used extensively in some homes.
7. Almonds, Walnuts, Raisins, Dates.
8. Fruits – apples, pomegranate, banana, melon – all at room temperature.
9. Soft unprocessed cheese such as ricotta and paneer.
10 Ajwain seeds (caraway/ carom), fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dry ginger, turmeric, curry leaves, coriander leaves.
11. Oats porridge/ Rice porridge

After 3 weeks I started adding a little onion to the dal or vegetables once in a while. Whenever I tried a new ingredient in the food, we would watch for a day to see if it affected the baby adversely, whether there was frequent or painful gas formation. From the 3rd week, we introduced an occasional wheat based pasta in a plain tomato basil sauce, with zucchini and peppers, to give a change in taste. Click on the name for the Link to the recipe for Tomato Basil Sauce. Home made pizza also made its way to the dinner table in the 5th week.

The Menu for each day in Cooking for the New Mom, follows broad parameters

  • Oats porridge or idli for breakfast, and maybe an occasional uppuma or buttered toast.
  • Juice or soup mid morning, with lukewarm water used in the freshly squeezed juice.
  • Lunch South Indian style (at the moment) till we progress to chapatis and dhal subzi or a wheat based quesadilla or pasta.
    • For now it is  a kuzhambu or rasam (without chilli, tamarind or coconut), a kootu or thogaiyal, a dry subzi (poriyal) with rice, ghee, fried manathangali or other vathal, and microwaved appalam (papad). Drumstick, gourds, garlic, fenugreek seeds and greens, cumin seeds, turmeric and pepper in various combinations, all cooked in ghee or occasionally in sesame (gingelly) oil
  • Mid afternoon – some fruit.
  • Dinner by 7 pm – khichidi, as it is nutritious, warming and easy to digest. Different vegetables each day to keep a variety. After the first week, chappaties with dal and subzi instead of khichidi, on some days.
  • Warm Soup around 9.30 pm – different vegetables and flavours each day or a Banana Milk shake at room temperature.
  • Nuts and raisins or dates as well as fruit, milkshakes,  to fill in a gap between meals.

Cooking for the New Mom-  MENU for DAY 1 : 

This is actually the 3rd day after the baby was born, but is the First Day home from the hospital
First thing after waking up: Coffee with 2 biscuits (caffeine is to be avoided, but Momma needs her morning cuppa, no?)
Breakfast: Idli – 4 soft warm idli’s with ghee and a light chutney of coriander leaves, peppercorns, curry leaves, salt.
Mid day: Carrot and apple soup.
Lunch: All sautéing is in Ghee (clarified butter)
Milagu Kuzhambu -Pepper Sambar- a fluid gravy from a paste of black peppercorns, fenugreek and curry leaves cooked in ghee
Avarakkai Poriyal – Broad bean sautéed dry curry
Podalangai Kootu – Snake Gourd cooked in moong dhal
Manathangali vathal – Indian nightshade berries fried in ghee
Rice
Microwaved appalam (papad)
Mid afternoon – Fruit bowl – sliced apples in room temperature
Early Dinner – Khichidi – Rice and Moong dhal and sliced marrow (chowchow) pressure cooked with ghee and ground pepper, ginger, garlic, turmeric.
9 pm hunger pangs: Carrot and walnut soup with home made stock
Water – sipped during the day, lukewarm (boiled with ajwain/ caraway seeds) – about half a teaspoon of seeds to a litre of water. Add them to the water you set on the stove, and boil them together. Strain and pour into a  flask so that the new mother has a flask of water at hand. Encourage her to drink some water before and during breast feeding the baby.

Menu for Day 2: (Day 4 from delivery)

First thing after waking up: Coffee with 2 biscuits
Oats Porridge cooked in milk and with raisins
Mid day: Carrot and walnut soup and a banana on hand as there is a hospital visit before lunch.
Lunch: All sautéing is in Ghee (clarified butter)
Drumstick Poritha Kuzhambu – a gravy from a paste of black peppercorns, black gram dhal, asafoetida and cumin seeds cooked with split moong dhal and turmeric.
Mentiya Keerai Poriyal – Methi/ Fenugreek leaves sautéed dry curry
Karuvepalai Thogaiyal – a paste from sautéed Curry leaves with fenugreek seeds, peppercorns and asafoetida.
Manathangali vathal – Indian nightshade berry fried in ghee
Rice
Microwaved appalam (papad)
Mid afternoon – Sliced apples in room temperature
Early Dinner – Khichidi – Rice and Moong dhal with vegetables pressure cooked with ghee and ground pepper, ginger, garlic, turmeric.
9 pm hunger pangs: Banana milk shake
Water – sipped during the day, lukewarm (boiled with ajwain/ caraway seeds)

Menu for Day 3: (Day 5 from delivery)

First thing after waking up: Coffee with 2 biscuits
Breakfast: Semiya Uppuma: Vermicelli cooked in water and tempered with ghee, mustard seeds and curry leaves
Mid day: A Banana
Lunch: All sautéing is in Ghee (clarified butter)
Pepper Jeera Rasam – soup of tamarind extract boiled with garlic, peppercorns, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
Katirikkai Poriyal – Long thin purple brinjal sautéed in a little gingelly oil
Peerkangai Thogaiyal – a chutney of ground sautéed Ridge gourd peel with peanuts, lentils, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns and asafoetida.
Manathangali vathal – Indian nightshade berry fried in ghee
Rice
Microwaved appalam (papad)
Mid afternoon – Sliced melon with sugar
Early Dinner – Chappatis with Palak Paneer Subzi (Indian flat bread with Spinach and Cottage cheese curry)
9 pm hunger pangs: Banana milk shake
Water – sipped during the day, lukewarm (boiled with sount – dry ginger)

Menu for Day 4: (Day 6 from delivery)

First thing after waking up: Coffee with 2 biscuits
Breakfast: 2 Slices of whole wheat bread Toast with butter and honey
Mid day: A Banana
Lunch:
Milagu Kuzhambu -Pepper Sambar- a fluid gravy from a paste of black peppercorns, fenugreek and curry leaves boiled in water and tempered with mustard seeds and fenugreek in ghee
Kovakai Poriyal – Ivy Gourd sliced into very thin rounds and sautéed in sesame oil
Peerkangai Thogaiyal – a chutney of ground sautéed Ridge gourd peel with peanuts, lentils, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns and asafoetida (carried over from the previous day as it was very tasty)
Chow Chow (marrow gourd) kootu – diced marrow cooked in moong dhal and peppercorns
Rice
Microwaved appalam (papad)
Mid afternoon – Fruit bowl – sliced pear in room temperature
Early Dinner – Khichidi – Rice and Moong dhal pressure cooked in ghee and ground pepper, turmeric and cumin seeds.
9 pm hunger pangs: Banana milk shake
Water – sipped during the day, lukewarm (boiled with sount – dry ginger)

Menu for Day 5: (Day 7 from delivery)

First thing after waking up: Coffee with 2 biscuits
Breakfast: 4 small warm idlis with ghee and sugar
Mid day: A Banana
Lunch: Was special today as it was Pongal (Sankranti)
Sakkara Pongal: Rice and moong dhal cooked with melted jaggery, milk and ghee
Lemon Rice: Rice mixed with lemon juice tempered with mustard and powdered cumin seeds and peppercorns, and curry leaves and turmeric in ghee.
Microwaved appalam (papad)
Early Dinner – Khichidi – Rice and Moong dhal and vegetables pressure cooked in ghee and ground pepper, turmeric and cumin seeds.
9 pm hunger pangs: Banana milk shake
Water – sipped during the day, lukewarm (boiled with ajwain / carom seeds)

Menu for Day 6: (Day 8 from delivery)

First thing after waking up: Coffee with 2 biscuits
Breakfast: Oats porridge with dates
Mid day: Goond laddu (store bought)
Lunch:

  • Rice
  • Pepper Cumin Rasam (Milagu jeera Rasam) with tomatoes and cooked moong dhal with ground pepper, cumin and coriander, tempered in ghee with mustard, cumin seeds and curry leaves
  • Vendakkai (bhindi/ ladysfinger) curry -sauteed in sesame oil
  • Chow chow (marrow gourd) kootu in cooked moong dhal, with ground pepper and cumin, tempered in ghee with mustard, methi seeds and curry leaves
  • Manathangali vathal – dried Indian night shade berries fried in ghee
  • Microwaved appalam (papad)

Mid afternoon:  a pear

Early Dinner – Methi paratha with red masoor dhal
9 pm hunger pangs: Banana milk shake
Water – sipped during the day, lukewarm (boiled with saunt (dry ginger)

Menu for Day 7: (Day 9 from delivery)

First thing after waking up: Coffee with 2 biscuits
Breakfast: Oats porridge
Mid day: Goond laddu (store bought)
Lunch:

A one pot lunch today:  A simple pulav of rice cooked with carrots, capsicum (green) and baby zucchini, with onion seeds, turmeric powder and minced pudina (mint leaves) in ghee, liberally flavoured with fresh ground pepper and cumin seeds.

Dinner – Plain paratha with a chutney of tomato and pudina
9 pm hunger pangs: Banana milk shake
Water – sipped during the day, lukewarm (boiled with ajwain (carroway seeds)

The 7 day Menu  for cooking for the new Mom, above, may be rotated or the items mixed and matched for each of the following days in the 40 days period. It is important to keep the balance in nutrition while cooking for the new mom – rice or chappaties, at least 2 different vegetables, a dal or a sambar/ kozhumbu or rasam, for lunch. Khichidi with different vegetables each evening for dinner or Chappaties with vegetables from the menu above instead of khichidi, if rice was taken for lunch.

When cooking for the New Mom, ensure you do not give her raw salads or raw onions or tomatoes, carrots etc. Also ensure the warm water with ajwain or fennel seeds is taken during the day. Lentils should form part of the meal at least once a day. Green leafy vegetables every alternate day. Carrots to be added whenever possible – to the khichidi or the dal or the kootu. Mridula does not care for curd, otherwise curd rice would have been good at least once a day – with hot rice and curd at room temperature. No pickles along with curd rice!

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6 thoughts on “Cooking for the New Mom – Pathiya Samayal My Way!”

  • Hi mam, the post is a big relief to the naanis. I am going to take a print of it n keep it ready for my mom who will be coming to US during my delivery this yr.
    Btw we have met in a baking class (Jeyadra’a place) in blr.
    Once again thanks for the handy recipes. Pls keep posting more.

    • Hi Harini! Thank you and I wil be posting recipes for all the various items in Cooking for a Nee Mom, soon! Feel free to ask if you want any specific recipes.

  • As the key recipient of this wonderful package, on thing is for sure. Lunch is the highlight of my day. Never imagined that my post partum diet could be so full of variety, flavour and sheer yumminess! Between my tamilian Thalis, the khichiris, the pastas and the roti subzi combos, their is really nothing I am missing!

    • Thank you so much, Sundari Giri! Time is the big challenge, I have yet to post the really traditional and lesser known recipes. I’m hoping to post one a day this week. No time for setting up props or even decent photography as its all I can do to reach the food to the table on time!

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