The following post is from contributing writer Kristen.
Eight months ago, soon after I moved to Iowa, which is several hours away from home. I became a new mom. People in my new community amazed me by how accommodating they could be to a newcomer. They brought my husband and me dinners and other goodies soon after our son was born.
Naturally, when one of my new Iowa friends had her first baby, I wanted to pay this act of kindness forward. I made lasagna for my new friend after she had her little girl Vivienne. Now that I’ve been on the receiving and giving end of a new mom meal, I have some tips on how to make it a success.
How to Make Meals for New Moms
1. Contact the new mom to schedule a night for their meal. When you decide that you want to make a meal to help out a new mom, it is best to call and ask when a homemade meal would work best. They might have family in town helping them already, or other people dropping off food as well. You are making a meal to help them, not to catch them off guard.
2. Ask if anyone in the family has food restrictions. In order for you to make a successful dinner for another family, you should ask them these questions before planning their menu.
- Is anyone in your family allergic to any foods?
- Is anyone on a restricted diet such as vegan or gluten free?
- Are there any foods your family does not like?
Your goal is to make a dinner that the whole family will want to eat.
3. Keep in mind that nursing mothers usually stay away from spicy foods. It is a good idea to make a meal that is not too spicy. When I made lasagna for Vivienne’s parents I used ground turkey in my recipe instead of my usual Italian sausage. It is best not to inquire if they are nursing, but just send over something that is appropriate for a new mother.
4. Keep your recipe tasty and simple. When you are making a meal for another family, stick to a recipe that you know tastes good. This is not the appropriate occasion to try out a new recipe. When I made lasagna for Vivienne’s parents, I followed the recipe on the back of the Lasagna noodle box, and just added some asparagus to make it somewhat unique.
5. Include drinks. It is important for new mothers to get enough fluids. Although water is the best, it is not fun to send water with a meal. It is best to stay away from any alcohol or caffeine. When I sent over dinner for my friends, I included some clear, caffeine free soda. I would not recommend sending diet soda, unless you know for sure that the family whom you are cooking for drinks diet soda.
6. Make enough for leftovers! New moms don’t have much spare time. If you make a generous amount of food for their meal, they will be able to stretch it to two or three meals.
7. Include any preparation instructions. If the new parents who you are making dinner for need to warm anything up before eating, include the proper instructions. This way their meal will be just as fantastic as you intend it to be. I included instructions for my lasagna on top of the covered meal I was sending.
8. Don’t forget dessert! Dessert completes the meal! When making dessert for Vivienne’s parents, I made mini cheesecakes with fresh strawberries! Remember to make some extra!
9. Add a personal touch. When I made dinner for my friends who are new parents, I decorated their meal with pink paper (because they had a girl). Along with the cooking instructions, I wrote down the main ingredients they would be eating, and added a special note. Making food for other people can be very personal. Let them know how excited you are about their new arrival and how much you care about them.
When I made a meal for my friends, I think they appreciated it. Probably similar to how I felt when people were so kind to me when I became a new mom.
Becoming a new mom or dad is one of the happiest times in our lives, but it can also be stressful. Making new parents a meal is a wonderful way to help them out and show how much you support them.
I had such a great time making dinner for my friends, I have decided to make this a new norm for when people I know someone who brings home a new baby.