All I could think about was a bagel, topped with mounds and mounds of cream cheese.
I mean, sure, I should have been focusing on the task at hand — giving birth to my fourth baby — but if we’re being honest here, all I could think about during my labor was how badly I wanted a freaking bagel.
Food has always been important to me, but never has a meal been elevated to such extreme importance as the first post-birth meal. Each one of my children’s births is marked not just by the swell of love I had for them when I first laid eyes upon their precious beings, but by what deliciousness I devoured shortly after they were born.
With my first, it was a Guinness-glazed chicken and bacon sandwich bigger than my head with a plate of broccoli. It was the same with my second because you don’t mess with a good thing. With my third, I ate my weight in fettuccine Alfredo with a side of poppy seed salad. And then with my fourth, I was so exhausted I fell asleep after she was born. but woke to a bagel topped with cream cheese. In retrospect it was actually pretty soggy and disgusting, but at the time it tasted like a cloud from heaven..
The point is, giving birth is hard work. One woman even chronicled her labor and birth with a FitBit and found she burned over 1,200 calories with a hard two-hour labor. Not too shabby, folks. So in honor of the awesomeness that is the first postpartum meal, I rounded up some of the first meals that real-life moms enjoyed after giving birth. Warning: some of them are actually really gross, because giving birth messes with your mind like that.
“Two Lorna Doones and a Sprite, those bastards. It was awesome.” — Elizabeth Broadbent
“On the day my first daughter was born, I had eaten lunch at 11 AM. The nurses did not allow me to eat again until after her birth at 2:16 AM — when the hospital kitchen was closed. Throughout my labor, all I talked about was a Steak ‘n Shake cheeseburger. I was starving. After my daughter was born and all the grandparents ooh-ed and ahh-ed over her, my parents offered to go get me a cheeseburger. They STAYED AND ATE their own food first, then brought me a cheeseburger and Coke around 4 AM. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted in my life.” — Heather Sokol
“The best meal I ever ate in my whole entire life was hospital meatloaf after natural childbirth. It was AMAZING.” — Lori Garcia
“The first meal that I can remember after giving birth was lasagna from Maggianos. Lucky me, I was in the hospital on Mother’s Day so it was a great celebration!” — Brandi Jeter Riley
“First baby was a C-section so the meal sucked! But the second baby was not a C-section, so I was able to eat right away. My meal of choice: Flame Broiler chicken bowl with white rice, a Coke, and a tall iced vanilla latte from Starbucks! It was amazing! Being able to eat right away, any meal of choice, is pretty much the only reason why I would have a vaginal birth again!” — Ambrosia Brody
“First meals (by order of child):
1. Hospital chicken and rice. Horrendous.
2. Tortilla chips and salsa. Ate my face off.
3. Greek salad and chicken. Delicious.
4. Gluten-free pizza with ricotta cheese and heirloom tomatoes. It was glorious.”— Kate Casey
“My baby was born around 11 PM and I think I scarfed down a hospital grade PB&J soon thereafter, but I actually don’t really remember if that happened. We had some friends visiting the next morning and they innocently asked if they could bring anything. I asked for sushi from Sugar Fish, which is a LA sushi institution, and I threw it back with the abandon of a woman who had been deprived of sushi for most of a year and who was swinging into milk production mode.” — Katie R.
“My first meal after giving birth was a CA omelette, hashbrowns, a fresh roll and fresh squeezed orange juice. Oh.My.God. SO good.” — Bailey Gaddis
“I had spinach dip from TGIFridays after my first son was born. Best. Food. Ever. (Though I’m a sucker for the spinach dip from Fridays :-)” — Christie Organ
“Shortly after giving birth, I ordered something along the lines of a ‘chocolate and peanut butter protein shake’ from the hospital cafeteria. It actually tasted like the best milkshake of my life!”— Emily G.
“I developed gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my twins, so lots of things were off-limits to me. I was counting down the days ’till my babies were born and I could eat normally again. After laboring for 24 hours without eating a thing, I was STARVING! The only thing I could think of when I was pushing was ‘As soon as I do this, I can eat!!’ Thinking about meeting my babies was so overwhelming to me that I just chose to focus on food (specifically Slurpees and my favorite pizza buffet) instead … and it worked! When I was finally wheeled into my recovery room after having had my twins, my dad walked over to me with the box of Pepperidge Farm cookies my husband (a chocolate junkie) had brought with him. It wasn’t a full meal, but that was the best damned Milano I can ever remember eating.” — Leslie
“What I wanted in the WORST way: A bean and cheese taco on a flour tortilla and a Big Red — that’s a very regional meal. I’m from San Antonio. What I got (because it was after midnight by the time I was allowed to eat) was tea in a can and a brownie from the vending machine at the hospital. Pretty damn amazing, and I had my bean and cheese taco the next day.” — Jill Robbins
“My favorite meal after giving birth was a turkey sandwich. I had myself convinced deli meat was toxic to eat while I was pregnant, so I stayed away and I used to eat a turkey sandwich every day!!” — Sara Lindberg
“I had In-N-Out! I was craving it throughout labor and my mom brought it to me in the hospital. Grilled cheese plain, fries, and a chocolate shake = heaven.” — Bre R.
“It was 1 AM. Our newborn son, Shelby, was asleep and and I was starving. We were at Hilo Hospital on the Big Island in Hawaii where there were not even cots in the room for my husband to sleep on. The cafeteria was closed and a nurse was kind enough to bring Saloon Pilot Creme Crackers and a jelly packet. I don’t know why, but they tasted so good and to this day when I see the package in the supermarket, I salivate. They don’t taste as good to me now as they did on that special night. Saloon Pilots are a cracker that has been famous in Hawaii for a long time. They are the hard tack that the missionaries took with them on their ships hundreds of years ago and since then have been a local favorite.” — Jill Steele
“The first thing I ate after giving birth to [my daughter] was a massive piece of chocolate cake from Claim Jumper (it’s a chain but not sure if it’s just a West Coast thing). At the birth center where I was at you can order any takeout you want, so that was my pick. It was 6 layers and the best thing of my life.” — Lauren Hartmann
“After I had our second child, my husband and I had a fight in the hospital room. He’d promised me sushi, then reneged because he thought I shouldn’t if I was breastfeeding, no matter that the doctor had OK’d it. When I got pregnant with our third, months before our due date I started informing him that he would be getting me sushi after I had the baby, that he himself could double-check with the doc that it was safe, and that if he wouldn’t do it my friend Wendy would be standing by to deliver sushi for me. I got my salmon-avocado roll, and he even fed it to me with chopsticks as I was nursing our new son.”— Ellen Seidman
“The thing I missed more than anything while pregnant was lunch meat! Thankfully, there was a Cousin’s subs right across the street from the hospital, and one of my best friends brought me a fantastic meal. I attached a picture of how magical the moment was — cold ham and provolone, hold the tomatoes.” — Mary Blasberg