After the births of each of my babies, members of my church brought my family dinner for two weeks. It was wonderful. Not only did they provide us with many fabulous meals, I looked forward to visiting with familiar faces and having them ooh and aah over my little one. My husband still jokes that those meals just might be worth having a fourth!
I’ve had the opportunity to provide meals for several friends in return, and I like to think that I’ve picked up a few tips. Here are some basics for bringing meals to a family with a new little one.
Photo Credit: Social Wicker/Flickr
Timing Is Everything – Families with a new baby often experience a rush of visitors— and generosity— in the first week after the baby’s birth. I know that I appreciated meals being brought in after all of the excitement had died down a bit. That’s when I really started feeling overwhelmed, so knowing that dinner was already taken care of was a tremendous blessing.
The Basics – When scheduling your meal, you’ll want to inquire about any allergies, preferences, or dietary restrictions. Remember that breastfeeding babies are sensitive to strongly flavored foods— bland is best!
Keep it simple: think entree, salad, side/bread, and dessert. Ideas include:
- Minestrone soup, breadsticks, salad, and whole grain muffins
- Chicken Noodle Casserole, green beans, and chocolate chip cookies
- Stuffed pasta shells, spinach salad, and dinner rolls
- Baked potato, taco, or salad bars with all the fixins!
- Vegetable soup, fruit salad and cornbread
Disposable Containers – The last thing a new mother needs to worry about is washing your casserole dish and getting it back to you in a timely manner. There are so many great options for disposable/reusable containers available!
Think Freezer Friendly – New mothers sometimes have lots of visitors. It’s possible that the family already has leftovers or other meals waiting on the day you provide dinner. Make your meal freezer friendly so that it can be saved for another day when it will definitely be needed and appreciated!
One last tip: things like banana bread, pound cake with fruit, or muffins are great because they can double up as breakfast foods as well.
What are your tips for providing a meal to a new mother? What was your favorite meal to receive?
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. She writes about all things toddler at Babble’s Toddler Times. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.