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Baby, Let Mommy Cook

May 18, 2008
Cooking with an infant around can be challenging. Just as soon as you get started, baby needs something. And if Mama's cooking, baby probably doesn't want Dada. That's just how babies are sometimes.

Early motherhood in particular is a lesson in schedule rearrangement. It's a lesson in chaos as well. No matter how much you work at having a schedule, sometimes it just doesn't work and you have to improvise.

There are a lot of things a mother can do with baby in a sling to keep up her routine during the day. But cooking while carrying your baby isn't so good an idea. You and your baby would probably be fine most days, but all it takes is one clumsy moment to hurt the both of you.

And mothers are great for feeling guilty when they make a mistake. Especially if they can look back and see that they should have known better.

It's better to find a way around needing to do that. If you can plan your days out better, taking more advantage of when baby sleeps you can cook with less interference from the baby.

For example, if your baby doesn't like to have you out of his or her sight, what about using the baby swing in the entry to the kitchen? So long as it's far enough that you don't have to worry about accidentally spilling something on the baby, and close enough that baby knows you're there, it can work. Many babies love spending time in their swings anyhow.

My own favorite method has always been to combine baby's nap with the crockpot. No, not that way!

Simply start dinner in the crockpot as your baby naps. Adjust the temperature by how long you have available for dinner to cook and what you're making. Low settings take approximately twice the cook time of high settings, but that's good if you're getting things started first thing in the morning.

Combine this with chopping things up beforehand (maybe as little as once a week!), and you can get dinner cooking in minutes, rather than having to spend a solid 20 minutes or even an hour working on it when your baby wants you.

These kinds of things can work for other meals too. Lunch can be leftovers from previous dinners. Sounds boring, but if you build up a supply of frozen lunches in the freezer, it doesn't necessarily have to be the previous night's dinner that you eat.

Breakfast is perhaps the most challenging to make interesting, no doubt in part due to the fact that many people no longer bother cooking it very often. But on the plus side a bowl of cereal and a piece of fruit will always be easy to pull together. If you want a more interesting breakfast, find a way to get it. Figure out how you can shorten the cook times of your favorite breakfasts.

Or just throw fruit, juice and yogurt in the blender for a quick smoothie. Fun, quick and good for you, if a bit loud, which can be hard around little ones.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster offers help for busy moms with an ebook with tips on cooking when the kids want your attention. Cooking with small children can be fun rather than challenging.
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