A friend of mine is going to have her third baby this December. I am so excited for her family and their coming addition. Now that I’ve had a baby, I know how challenging those first few weeks (months!) can be and want to help as much as I can. One thing I was eternally grateful for those first weeks was the food and nourishment friends brought to us. When you bring your baby home, you’re caught up in feeding the little one and trying to sleep. The last thing you want to do is think about how to manage food for your family and yourself!
One way to help is to have a meal train setup. It’s hard for a new mom to ask for help and seems awkward to set it up on your own, so if you’re a good friend, volunteer yourself! I was so overjoyed and relieved when a church friend offered to set up.
There are so many great tools online these days to help organize meals. These websites make it easy for friends can sign up for a specific day, have the details they need to bring you food, and keeps the food coming to the new parents and family. I used Meal Baby in the past, and when Petit Macaron was born my friends used Take Them a Meal. Both worked great! Here’s a list of some good options:
- Meal Baby
- Take Them a Meal
- Meal Train
- Food Tidings
- Care Calendar
- Bonus Link – Meal Gifts (if you just don’t have time to cook!)
Try to keep the amount of work for the new family to a minimum. Here are a few tips on what to do and what not to do:
- Try to prepare meals that requires minimum additional work.
- Bring something extra with the meal like a yummy drink, dessert, or snack.
- Just drop off the meal. Don’t stay and chit chat.
- Meals those first few days are great, but try to get some folks to bring food later as well.
- If you don’t have time to cook, try bringing something like a special rotisserie chicken. The family can easily order pizza and Thai food, but a trip to Wholefoods isn’t as easy.
- Use disposable containers for the meal so they don’t have to worry about returning tupperware.
- Make a large sized meal so there are some leftovers.
- Avoid foods that are spicy or make you gassy like beans and cabbage. And be careful with diary as some moms need to limit or cut it out of their diets with newborns.
So what should you bring? I know when I was a new mom, homestyle yet nutritious food sounded so delicious. Try to check what other folks are bringing to keep variety – and avoid too many casseroles! Here are some recipes I think would be quite tasty:
Roast Chicken: Check out this Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Butternut Squash
Meatloaf: I love this Best Ever Meatloaf (I used turkey and it was delish!)
Pork Tenderloin: This Pork Tenderloin with Escalloped Apples is great for fall and winter
Chicken Parmigiana: This one from Pioneer Woman is my favorite
Mac and Cheese: This recipe isn’t too heavy and the kale (or spinach) adds some great nutrition
Baked Pasta: This Spinach and Ricotta Baked Pasta is a regular in our household (I add chicken sausage, though)
Soup: Chicken Noodle Soup warms the soul
Chicken Pot Pie: With a Biscuit Crumble Topping is a winner
Rice Casserole: A Greek Turkey Rice & Feta Casserole is a nice twist on a classic
Meatballs: Can’t go wrong with some meatballs (you can use pasta instead of polenta, I won’t tell)
I remember friends brought us a huge container of baked ziti. We were so grateful as it provided us a few dinners and lunches. And it was delicious. It’s those sort of details that make a big difference for the family. Be generous my friends!
Speaking of generous, a snack or dessert is a nice addition. Some other friends brought us snickerdoodles and I was in heaven. Not to mention the crazy oatmeal cookie craving I had those first few weeks. Here are some fun ideas:
Granola: This granola is chalk full of fruits and nuts
Cookies: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for the win
Muffins: Tried and True Blueberry Muffins – with flax, too!
Bread: You can’t go wrong with Banana Bread
Protein Bites: Pumpkin Energy Bites are great for a quick, natural energy boost
Also, trail mix, granola Bars, hummus are great options.
I hope this gives you some ideas for helping your new parent friends! Any other tips you’d recommend?