Caring for a newborn can be challenging especially when the chores are beginning to pile up around the house. Some babies can only be comforted by being held while others need frequent nursing sessions. Babywearing has allowed me to care for the baby and do things around the house like cook a meal. After babywearing two children, I would like to share with you some problems and solutions from my adventures of babywearing while cooking.
To safely cook while wearing your baby, it will require you to think about the following:
- Does your baby like to grab things?
- Is your baby old enough to wear on your back?
- Can you safely place your baby down for brief periods while you tend to things in the kitchen?
Thinking about the answers to these questions will help you formulate a game plan and pick recipes that will allow you to safely prepare a meal while babywearing.
The easiest position to carry your child when cooking in the kitchen is on your back. However, since many babies are too small to be carried on your back, pick recipes that will allow you to prepare a meal without having to put your baby down. Recipes that require the oven or slow cooker work great here.
Problem: Stoves for obvious reasons can be dangerous. It can be a challenge to prevent a little one from touching a hot stove or pot while babywearing and cooking. The carrier itself can also pose a hazard if it should touch an open flame and catch on fire.
Solution: Look for recipes that utilize the oven or slow cooker (aka crock pot). These are great alternatives to standing over a hot stove. Another reasonable alternative is the microwave. It is great for thawing frozen foods. However, I think it should be used sparingly when preparing food since cooking with a microwave can affect the quality of the food. Another great option is a rice cooker. Rice cookers today not only cook rice but it can steam food as well. Another thing to look for are recipes where the food does not need to be cooked. Salads can be “bulked up” so that they can be a complete meal.
Problem: Using a knife around a baby that likes to grab things (or being carried up front) is obviously not a good idea.
Solution: Alternatives to using a knife are: kitchen shears, box graters, mandolin grater, microplane, the blender, and food processor. All of these items will allow you to break down meats and vegetables without having to use a knife. Things that need to be chopped can be broken down using a box grater or food processor. Another “rustic” approach is to simply tear things with your hands. Lettuce and herbs can be torn with your fingers. While it will not create the most elegant presentation, it serves its purpose.
Problem: Time. Finding the time to prepare a nutritious meal with a baby can be a challenge.
Solution: Take advantage of “convenience” items like baby carrots (for stews, quick vegetable side, etc), packaged salads, frozen fruits and vegetables, canned beans, etc. I am not a big fan of prepackaged prepared meals. A nutritious meal can be prepared using the “convenience” items mentioned above.
Problem: Unable to go to the grocery store as frequently since the baby was born.
Solution: Buy in bulk and use your freezer. Having on hand frozen meats (or seafood), vegetables and fruit will allow you to prepare meals without having to go to the store. Some of my must haves that I tend to buy in bulk to have on hand are: uncooked rice, chicken stock, canned salmon, olive oil, eggs, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, flour, and sugar.
I hope you find these tips helpful to prepare a meal while wearing your baby. I hope to publish recipes utilizing these principles in future posts. Do you have any other tips to help with cooking while babywearing?