We have all been in those early days after giving birth when the sleep deprivation is real and the ordeal to make breakfast, lunch, or dinner just seems beyond our abilities. We are starving 24/7 and yet we don't even have two hands free to open a wrapper let alone to put a meal together.
That's why you need a #MomSquad to step in.
For some, this is made up predominantly of family. For others, it is a solid group of friends. Either way, every new mom (or mom to a newborn+other littles, especially!) needs a little love postpartum by way of good nutrition. And although there is lots to be said about the nutritional demands of a new mom, I'll save that for another post. Today, we are talking about the meals that we moms can bring other moms to support them and their families in those early, sleepless days.
Because the best meal for a new mom is one she actually gets to eat!
What makes a great meal for new moms
The obvious, sentimental answer is the fact that you are just seeking to support this new mom so pretty much any item she doesn't have to make will taste amazing to her! But beyond the emotional aspect of offering to bring someone a meal, here are some practical tips to consider:
- Cost: This is obviously an added expense, so consider up front how much you are willing/able to spend. This will likely help guide what and how much you choose to bring (homemade vs takeout; a single batch vs extras).
- Time: If you find yourself short on time, consider which items are easier to assemble and/or order to bring a new mom. While everyone appreciates a home-cooked meal, there are plenty of quick, ready-made options or elements to a meal you can effortlessly add on.
- Effort: If you are bringing a meal to someone, it is often easiest to plan for your family to have the same meal. By making twice as much of whatever you intend to bring, you add minimal effort on to what you would already be preparing for your family alone.
- Add-Ons: If you are going to bring a family a meal, do everything you can to bring not only enough but also some add-ons. Whether this be to help the picky eater in their home have something to eat, or to make sure the mom has enough to snack on later when her appetite spikes again, I don't think any mom has ever let food go to waste. Adopt the mentality that if you bring it, it will get eaten.
- Versatility: Consider if what you are bringing is something that may sound good any hour of the day. This isn't an essential, but it is a nice added mention. With new moms having such a messed up internal clock, they may be eating what you bring in the middle of the night or right after their morning feed. Consider if the main meal or one of the add-ons (like rolls, fruit, etc.) may hold well to also be had later on at a less official "dinner time."
- Allergen-Friendly: Whether it be a known allergy (in mom or baby) or just an intolerance for either, it is always smart to ask the new mom before bringing her and her family a meal if there is anything she or her family members can't tolerate.
Favorite Meals to Bring New Moms
I teamed up with a few fellow mom dietitians to chime in on what their favorite meals to bring new moms are. Here is a round-up of our top faves:
I love Lindsay's add-on ideas of bringing this dish with brown rice, steamed broccoli (or just send broccoli in a microwaveable steamer bag!), and washed grapes!
If you are looking for a healthier option of dessert, this would make a delightful addition to any dinner that could be enjoyed around the clock. Plus, what newly promoted big or little sis wouldn't love to be told they can have dessert for dinner?!
This one sounds fancy but is an awesome, affordable option. Packed with great nutrition, I love how this one takes care of the protein, fat, starch, and veggie for a meal by putting them all in one! This is one of the best "one pan" meals you could pop on by with!
Courtesy of Emily Rose Samuels, MS, RDN, LD
Some of my all-time favorites dishes are those tried and true by fellow dietitian friends, and this one from skinnytaste.com is no exception. I love how this recipe could be whipped up the night before, held in the fridge at work, and dropped off at a friend's on the way home without being a big mess nor hassle!
This is such an easy recipe to make a double batch of then split to serve out to your family and another. Then just buy doubles of: cheddar cheese, whole grain chips, avocados or guacamole, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt!), and any other fixings you fancy!
There are so many delicious recipes out there to take to new moms. I can't wait to continue to update this list. I hope this resource will empower each of us to be better members of other's #MomSquad by bringing one another meals!
What you can do if you live too far to bring a new mom a meal
See what options exist in the region of the new mom. There are lots of ways to send edible support even when you can't physically stop by with dinner.
- Set up a meal train for them. There are a lot of websites out there that will organize this for you, but one that I have used several times is MealTrain.com. This allows you to set up a care calendar for the new mom/family with all the information one would need to bring them a meal.
- Order delivery or takeout. Between UberEats or a takeout order for the dad to pick up, sometimes ordering delivery or takeout is a great alternative option when you can't bring something homemade. Just pick a place (or two), shoot over a web link to the menu(s), and ask her to give you the order for her (and her family). Then, agree on a pick-up or delivery time with her, and you take care of calling it in.
- Think outside of dinner. Whether it be ordering from Great Harvest Bread Company's delivery options (a personal favorite to send people; free delivery available for orders over $35) or sending someone a cart full of groceries via services like Instacart, she is sure to appreciate any food she doesn't have to fetch during her round-the-clock feeding and out-of-whack eating schedule. This is a great way to help stock her up on some goodies that may serve for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.
What will you make for your #MomSquad?
As we celebrate Mother's Day, we not only remember the moms who brought us into this world and the children who turned us into moms, but also all those fellow moms who inspire, and support us everyday. Be sure to seek opportunities to pour into other moms, especially by way of meals to those at home with new babies.