Hooray! Your sister (or daughter or friend or cousin or niece) just had a baby! If you're wondering what kind of gift will best celebrate a new little bundle of life, consider whipping up some meals for new mom.
Those of you with kids may remember that the first few weeks (or months) with a baby in the house can be intense. Round-the-clock nursing, erratic sleeping, and strange new noises and smells that require immediate response.
So as much as the new mama may want you to share in the joy, your main purpose as a visitor during these early days is to BE HELPFUL.
That means you should stay no longer than 20-30 minutes and while you're there, ALWAYS do something to make the lives of the new parents easier.
See a sink full of dishes? Wash them.
Sitting next to a basket of laundry? Fold it.
Call ahead and ask if they need anything from the store or mama wants a shower, nap, or a a breath of fresh air while you hold baby.
While mini-teddy bears and receiving blankets are nice, often the best gift you can bring the new family is some nourishing food-preferably home-cooked meals for new mom.
Make sure you find out if anyone has any dietary restrictions: often times breastfeeding mamas will avoid dairy, garlic, onions, spices and other potential irritants that can make their way through breast milk.
If possible, let the family know in advance, so they can look forward to some delicious goodness. Whatever you make, do double, so your family has a nourishing meal for your efforts as well. Below are nine nurturing meals for new mom and her family.
#1 – Quiche and green salad
Easy and packed with nutrition, a homemade quiche is a great delivered meal. Make your own crust (I like the yogurt crust from Nourishing Traditions) or simply buy a premade crust made with only Real food ingredients. The contents can be varied according to taste, but my favorites include lots of seasonal veggies and big handful of cheese, and a few sliced cherry tomatoes on top.
Quiches can easily be made dairy or wheat free (with a cornmeal or almond flour crust). Take along a simple green salad and a jar of homemade dressing to add some hydration, enzymes, and some extra good fat that mama needs.
#2 – Crock pot chicken soup
#3 – Casserole it
Traditional Lasagna (if wheat and cheese are on the menu), enchiladas (not spicy), or your other favorite deep dish bake will provide the new family with not only a great meal, but leftovers too!
#4 – Deviled eggs
…especially when made with homemade mayo make a simple, but great grab-and-go snack packed with essential fat and protein that a new mama needs.
#5 – Hot or Cold Hybrid Chop Salad
Parents of a new baby barely have time to chew, much less, time to stand in the kitchen and cut vegetables. Chop up a variety of seasonal veggies, steam or saute harder veggies like carrots and other roots, but leave zucchini, spinach, and other more fragile veggies raw (they will break down a bit in dressing).
Consider adding a pre-soaked and cooked grain like quinoa cooked in chicken stock, cubes of chicken, and fresh herbs for flavor. Dress simply with citrus, good olive oil, a dusting of cracked pepper and plenty of high-quality sea salt. This ‘salad' can be eaten right out of the fridge or quickly heated up on the stove and topped with cheese for a warm, comfort food variation.
#7 – Homemade burritos
… are the new sandwiches. Fill with your choice of rice, beans, veggies, meat, cheese, and sauce; deliver individually wrapped with instructions for heating or freezing for later.
#8 – Salmon Bowl
For families that like a bit of Asian cuisine, this recipe brings a welcome change from standard pasta and chicken dishes. Fill a shallow bowl or baking dish with rice (pre-soaked for optimal nutrition) under filets of grilled salmon topped with toasted sesame seeds and shredded carrots. On the side, bring slices of avocado, crumbled sheets of seaweed, and a small jar of naturally fermented soy sauce to add after heating.
#8 – Quick breads
…with seasonal additions-zucchini, persimmons, pumpkin, or traditional banana make a nutritious sweet treat any time of day (or night).
#9 – Lactation Stew
Not just for the nursing mom, this satisfying stew will be a hit with the whole family.
Follow these simple rules and show up with delicious food, and the new family is sure to be thrilled. They may even let you hold the baby.
Have your own suggestions for nurturing meals for new mom and family? Please share in the comments!