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the most important thing you can do for a new mom…

Maryann, the Registered Dietitian behind the blog Raise Healthy Eaters was kind enough to write this fabulous guest post for me. Be sure to check out her blog for the latest on healthy eating for families.

What New Moms Need More Than Anything

When I became a mom in 2006, I had no idea what I was in for.  I didn’t stock up on frozen food or think twice about how I would feed myself once the baby came.  I just came home with an out-of-control appetite with no time or energy to prepare anything — and a husband that was just as tired.

Then one day a friend brought us a meatloaf.  I was like, “this is the best gift ever!.” The leftovers lasted for days, and it was perfect for the quickie lunch every new mom needs.

When I joined a moms’ group in Los Angeles when my daughter was 3 months old, I heard about their new meal for moms program.  Whenever a new mom had a baby, people had the chance to sign up to bring meals.  I knew instantly this was a brilliant idea.

New moms (and repeat ones) need meals.  What a concept.

Paying it forward

When I moved to San Diego and joined a new moms’ group, I started the meal programs for the moms having second babies.  It was great and everyone loved it.

Then my time came when I had my second baby.  My husband and I ate the first meal like we had been starved for weeks.  We got 2 meals a week for 2 months.  Heaven.

Now, I make it habit to offer the new moms I know a meal.

Don’t take no for an answer

I met Estela online as a fellow RD blogger.  She emailed me when she found out she was moving to San Diego.  We met up a couple of times and then she had the baby.

I saw her with cute little LK and M at our local Farmer’s Market.  I asked her if she needed food and she said she was fine.

When I got home I realized asking was the wrong thing to do.  Even though Estela is an awesome cook, she still has days, I’m sure, when meal preparation is the last thing she wants to do.  So I sent her an email telling her I was bringing a meal.  End of story.

And I added the bonus guest blog as I know that keeping up a blog with a new baby isn’t easy either.

What to bring?

I think casseroles and Italian-type dishes work well.  You want something that will provide leftovers and taste good when it’s reheated.

I also think hearty meals are important as new moms, usually breastfeeding, are burning a ton-o calories.  You need food that sticks which is why I made Estella meat Lasagna.  If you can, add a side salad and something for the first kid is good, like cut up fruit.  And don’t forget to store the meal in disposable dishes.  New mom’s minds are mush and shouldn’t be relied on to return anything.

Another perk to bringing new moms meals is you get a chance to see the new baby.  If you are a mom yourself, you’ll get flooded with memories of having a brand new baby in the house.  If you don’t have kids, it will give you a glimpse into what you can expect.

Either way, nothing feels better than helping a new mom.  Seeing the smile on her face — with one less thing to do — is enough to know you did the best thing possible.

And I know that no matter how busy I get, it’s never as bad as those first 3 months after having a baby.

So tell me, do you bring meals to friends who just had babies?  And if you do, what do you usually make?



19 Responses

  1. Maria said on September 12, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Love this idea! I’ve made a few meals to put in our freezer-I am due in 12 days, but I probably should have made more. Hopefully we will survive:)

    • Estela - Weekly Bite said on September 12, 2011 at 7:56 am

      Having meals pre-made is a great idea! Quick and easy is the key with a newborn 🙂

  2. Maryann said on September 12, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for the opportunity Estela! I hope things are getting easier at home…

    • Estela - Weekly Bite said on September 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Thank You Maryann for a great guest post and a delicious meal 🙂

  3. Barbara said on September 12, 2011 at 9:08 am

    What a great thing to do for a new mom!

  4. Alejandra @ Be a Morsel said on September 12, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Definitely an amazing concept! I’d like to see new mom groups pop up everywhere!!

  5. Gregg Guenther said on September 12, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Carbs & proteins…mild mexican = lasagna…watermelon snax…how does citrus act on lactation? (fruit salads?)…Kashi cereal w/strawberries…summer style potato salad…salmon salads…gezpacho soups?

  6. Marci said on September 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

    My group of friends is great about this. We sign up and bring meals, some are weekdays, some are 3 nights for as long as people are signed up. I like to pick up dinner from a restaurant and make granola bars or muffins or something for them to freeze. they always appreciate not having to think about dinner.

    • Estela - Weekly Bite said on September 12, 2011 at 10:17 am

      What a great idea Marci!! I love the idea of adding granola bars or muffins to a meal.

  7. Tabitha said on September 12, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I am part of a moms group; when my daughter was born, they brought me meals every other day for 2 weeks. Our group does this every time a baby is born, and also when a mom has surgery, a family member is in the hospital, etc. I have “storked” a few people recently and typically make a casserole or bbq pulled pork for sandwiches; I also try to bake something, such as banana bread or muffins, for them to have for snacks and/or breakfast. I received everything from soups to a store-bought rotisserie chicken to baked ziti. So many options!!

  8. emily (a nutritionist eats) said on September 12, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I do bring meals to friends who have just had a baby! I have a friend giving birth in a few weeks so these are some great ideas! Thank You! (And the part about just doing instead of offering is so key I think!)

  9. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga said on September 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I had no idea what to expect as a mom. No one does til you’re in that role!!

    And meals. YES!!! Nursing, just giving birth, you are HUNGRY. The hungriest I ever was in my life was the first six months or so of nursing.

    And meals…easy ones you can reheat are better than ANY gift on your registry!

    And not taking No for an answer. 100% agree

    GREAT POST!!!!!!!!

  10. Lissa said on September 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Having ready to eat meals is so awesome when you are a new mom!! I loved having them when I had our first baby. I am expecting in February and am already trying to figure out what I can make and freeze before the big day….I am hoping I get a little more inspired than I am right now because I am not coming up with a lot of ideas/recipes for freezing….

  11. Anne at Always Half Full said on September 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Since having my own child I find it difficult (being a working mom as well) to have the time to create an entire meal for a new mom. I like to bring other things like muffins or quick breads that can be eaten for breakfast or snacks. Those are important too – especially since your body wants to eat constantly after giving birth yet you don’t always need a meal.
    Love this post. It really is the best thing you can do. If you visit a new mom (or mom with a new baby) BRING FOOD!

  12. Aliza said on September 12, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    In my community, every new mom gets two weeks of meals. When I had a baby, one of the best meals I got was a large meat lasagna. It was so tasty and the leftovers were able to be frozen and eaten later on.
    I generally like to bring a hearty full meal like spaghetti and meatballs, a salad, and a cut up fruit/dessert. I’ve also made chicken and rice, salad and cut up fruit/dessert.

  13. Sarah said on September 13, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Such a great post- and well timed! I have a bit of pregnancy brain at the moment and completely forgot about bringing a meal to a sweet lady who had a baby FOUR WEEKS ago! Thanks for the kick in the butt I needed:-).

  14. Nicole, RD said on September 13, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    So sweet! We’re all so good at turning down help when we may need it most…and we may not even know we need it!

  15. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) said on September 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    This was incredible advice! You can never go wrong with food for someone that just had a baby! Great guest post Estela!

  16. Lauren said on September 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    My Mom packed my freezer full of meals within the first week of me having my first baby! It was such a life saver! Seriously!