One of the ironies of trying to eat well when you’re breastfeeding a newborn, is that of course, it’s one of those periods in life when orchestrating any meal — let alone a really healthy one — is a bit of a challenge. Barley + Oats, New York’s first organic meal delivery service for new mothers, is hoping it can help the parents of newborns out with this dilemma, while also supporting things important to new moms like milk production and hormonal balance. We got a real live new mom (who also happens to write about food) to give the service a whirl — read on to get her take on Barley + Oats!

Optional Floor Shot 4

photo: Barley + Oats

Introducing, Barley + Oats (No, not the singing guys)
Founded by health food enthusiast, new mom and Natural Gourmet Institute grad Ashly Yashchin (the idea for the company came to her when pregnant with her first son) Barley + Oats creates and delivers freshly prepared snacks and meals for expecting, new and nursing mothers. In addition to being organic, the food is dairy, wheat, soy, caffeine, peanut and refined-sugar free, and made with lots of lactogenic ingredients to help increase the quantity and quality of breast milk. The service also promises micronutrient-dense offerings with a focus on vitamins and minerals for newborn growth and postpartum health; foods rich in fatty acids to support mood stabilization, and preparation geared towards aiding digestion and nutrient absorption. (And yes, that photo above is exactly what we looked like in the weeks following the birth of our child.)

BAROATS-JWPHOTO-09012015-126

photo: Barley + Oats

A Little, A Lot, for a Week or a Few Months
Barley + Oats is ready to meet your culinary needs, be they modest or full-service, with options ranging from relatively affordable to top dollar/great for a group gift-level. Offerings include snack packs with items such as oatmeal raisin kale cookies, creamy hummus with flax crackers and caramelized fennel and apricots; lactation oatmeals, granolas and cookies, and full meal plans for just mom or a family of two — or even four! Craving some bone broth? They’ve got that, too. Barley + Oats also offers lots of non-edible baby gift packages with cute, often organic items like Estella yellow cab security blanket and Metrocard rattle, postpartum bath herbs, books from eco-conscious publisher Homegrown and nursing pillows.

BAROATS-JWPHOTO-09012015-010

photo: Barley + Oats

Thoughts From Guinea Pig Mom
At home in Park Slope breastfeeding her two-month-old boy, our new mom was happy to introduce some new fare into her meal routine. (She admits to eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a quick and easy lunch and cobbling together breakfasts during those initial weeks.)

Her overall assessment was, “it’s like spa food for moms”, and she appreciated knowing that whatever she was reaching for was healthy. She reported getting lots of fresh seasonal produce such as such as figs, tomatoes and kale in her snacks and meals, and thought the food looked — and tasted — homemade. Favorites included many of the breakfast items (coconut yogurt/granola, oatmeal), the lactation cookies and fresh juices.

Adjustments she’d make included increasing the size of the lunch portions (“nursing makes you hungry!”) and packaging that could go right into the oven to make it even more new mom-friendly. (She also noted the use of a lot of coconut, which wasn’t an issue for her, but may be for someone else.)

Additionally, she felt the reheating and serving instructions were clear, enjoyed the nutritional info provided on the packaging and appreciated the refrigerated bag and ice packs that came with delivery.

BAROATS-JWPHOTO-09012015-131

photo: Barley + Oats

The Essential Info
Snack Packs can be ordered for periods of 5 to 30 days (starting at $150) and meals are available for periods ranging from 5 to 20 days with the five-day “After Hours” dinner plan costing $175. (Customers may order either a single meal plan, such as lunch, or a a plan with more than one and snacks.)

Orders are billed up front at time of purchase and may be paused or canceled up to the Friday before delivery. Barley and Oats currently delivers to all locations in Manhattan and many in Brooklyn. (See a full list of the Brooklyn neighborhoods here.) Not in the delivery area?; Write them and they’ll do their best to get to you. The good news: the lactation snacks and gifts are shipped nationwide.

Online: barleyandoats.com

Have you tried Barley + Oats? Give us your review in the comments below! 

—Mimi O’Connor