There’s a reason taking a meal has been a standard symbol of welcome, comfort or condolence for decades. The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach! Having friends and family come visit you and baby AND bring you food is easily one of the best things about bringing home a new baby. For me it’s right up there with baby snuggles, the smell of Dreft and being able to sleep on my stomach again.
If you’re one of those people who is on the ready with a meal, thank you! I don’t want to knock the traditional casserole – I come from a long line of hearty midwestern hot dish lovers. No noodle unappreciated here, these are just other options and ideas to consider.
For the purposes of this post, I’ll be referring to blessing new moms through food, but the sentiment and strategies ring true for supporting friends or family in any number of scenarios.
Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day
I love bringing breakfast foods – there’s nothing worse than being tired and hungry. Think a couple quarts of yogurt, granola and fresh berries. Or if you’re committed to homemade, my favorite combo is the Spinach & Artichoke Egg Casserole (protein + veggie packed and reheats great in the microwave) and the Dried Cheery Scones (freeze well) from Pinches & Dashes: Recipes & Life Measures from the Junior League of Wichita.
There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
As in hands free. Remember the new baby fog when you look at the clock at 3 p.m. and realize you never ate lunch? Take a friend several servings of chicken salad and croissants or deli meats and cheeses with a loaf of good bread. Add a bag of chips, fruit, veggies and dip then they’re set for easy, on-hand lunches all week.
Breast Friend Support Kit
This could stand alone or be added on to a meal for a breast feeding mama: Lactation cookies, beer and gallons of Gatorade.
Timing is everything
Don’t just focus on the few weeks immediately following baby. A thoughtful friend brought a gallon ziploc of stew and a loaf of crusty bread for the freezer late in my third trimester, then she joined me for a (failed) labor inducing walk. It was awesome company and conversation, then I had a meal in a pinch after baby was home. Bonus! Alternately, consider waiting a couple months. Reach out to a working mom friend with congratulations and offer to bring a meal her first week back at work after maternity leave.
It’s Not Easy Being Green
I feel very strongly that Mother Nature will give new moms a pass on this one: paper products! Drop off paper plates, cutlery and a couple cases of bottled water. Give mom and the dishwasher a break for a bit.
All Hands On Deck
Organize a few friends, everyone shop for a different recipe, get together to prep and divide, then everyone goes home with food. Invite the mom-to-be to come for some girl time, but don’t let her lift a finger! You could do the same thing and pitch in on the cost of a Wildtree Kit and leave the recipes and organization to a pro. A neighbor’s Bible Study group did this for a fellow member who was put on bed rest- genius! This would also be a fun baby “sprinkle” idea to celebrate a new baby when the family doesn’t need more clothes or gear.
Get over the stigma that gift cards are lazy. It’s a fraction of the effort, but ALL of the sentiment! Be extra thoughtful and choose a place that is close to their home or on dad’s commute. Remind him to keep the gift card(s) in his wallet and he can hit the drive thru or curb side to go on an S.O.S. dinner day and he gets to come home the hero!
Offer to set up a Meal Train for an expecting friend. It is just a bit of work on the front end and will manage meal schedules, reminders, allergy information and more. If your friend is hesitant tell her you read a blog post by a woman who thought she could manage without a Meal Train for Baby #2 and failed so spectacularly that she had three dinners pull into her drive-way at the same time. Who me? Learn from my mistakes!
Kudos to you, friend who is bringing another family food. Whether you show up with a frozen lasagna or a gourmet multi-course meal know that you are so, so appreciated. Your food feeds their rumbly tummies and your thoughtfulness goes straight to the heart.