I can remember back when I first had Hailey. I recall that overwhelming feeling of wondering how I could possibly keep up with doing anything besides attending to her needs.
It was such a blessing it was to have friends show up at the door with meals, especially because we were still relatively new to the area. Having the the luxury of eating a comprehensive, warm meal- what a treat!
Since then I’ve really understood how helpful food is in a variety of life’s situations (I think gifting a delivery of these is one of the greatest gifts) and keep a running list of my favorite meals to bring to a new mom.
A dear friend of mine recently had her third beautiful baby girl. Another friend organized a meal train and I love how now people space out the meals over several weeks.
It’s such a smart idea, since a meal can be just as (if not more) helpful one month in as it can that first week.
I was so thrilled to finally have the chance to go soak up some newborn snuggles yesterday and, by the way, how it’s possible for anyone to look so beautiful and pulled together with a newborn in their home, I won’t ever understand. How do you do it, Tanya?!
Also, her house was fully decorated for Christmas. Me = speechless.
Anyway, back to food. I know many people subscribe to the “just show up” with a meal mentality and I totally get that because what new mom wants to have to think about or decide what to have for dinner? That is the hardest part, right?
However, I like to try and feel out the situation just a little bit via text. I know my friends’ eating habits (dairy-free, vegetarian, etc), but then I try to gauge whether they are in the mood for comfort food or if they’ve been inundated with casseroles and might be ready for something on the lighter side.
Once I get a sense of the dinnertime vibe, I consult my list and go for it!
My Favorite Meals to Bring to New Moms
Southwestern Sausage and Vegetable Brown Rice Casserole: This super simple, 7 ingredient casserole is full of fresh vegetables and brown rice, making it as wholesome as it is hearty. Easy to prepare ahead of time, this Southwestern sausage and vegetable brown rice casserole is adaptable and is sure to become a family favorite!
5 Ingredient Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie: This is always a hit for the low-card/paleo crowd. It’s packed with flavor and kids love it too (just use non-spicy sausage).
Chicken Enchiladas: This recipe rocks because it makes two large pans of enchiladas, perfect for a large family or so you can knock out your own dinner and bring dinner to a friend in one fell swoop. Plus, it’s easy to pair with chips, salsa, and guacamole which is always a win in my book.
Sausage, Kale, and White Bean Soup – This sausage, kale, and white bean soup recipe has a comforting and robust depth of flavor and texture thanks to the spices in the sausage and the creaminess created by pureeing the majority of the beans.
Vegan Black Bean Burgers: I’ve tried a lot of different bean burger recipes and this one remains my favorite. It’s flavorful and hearty; a hit for moms, husbands, and kids (because you can dip it in ketchup!)
I brought these burgers to my friend yesterday. I doubled the recipe to make dinner for both of our families at once.
Then I wrapped them up with instructions to bake them for 40 minutes at 300 degrees. I added a large Greek salad, buns, and pickles too. Viola- dinner!
Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Shells: This easy stuffed shells recipe with basil, spinach, tomato, and ricotta cheese will make just about anyone ask for seconds… which they can because it makes two pans!
Whole30 Shepherd’s Pie with Cauliflower Topping: Perfect for the health-minded new mom that is craving comfort food. The recipe takes a little time to prepare but I can pretty much guarantee they’ll ask you for the recipe. It’s hearty, delicious, and easy to prepare ahead of time.
Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup: This is hands-down one of my favorite soups. It’s not a meal for everyone, especially if they already have kids at home and you want to bring something the whole family will eat with ease, but for a new mom to one child that is seeking comfort and flavor, it’s a great option!
Mom’s Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce: If the family eats meat, this is a hands-down go-to. It’s the spaghetti recipe I grew up eating and I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t like it. Comforting, flavorful, and super-kid friendly!
There have been times I really want to bring a meal but have not had time to get into the kitchen and make something. My go-to options for picking up a meal are:
- Zoe’s Kitchen: Fresh, delicious, Greek-inspired food! Plus they offer small and large family meals that make it easy to order and pick-up.
- BBQ: For comfort food that the whole family will love (cough, mac ‘n cheese, cough). Local friends, Big Tiny’s BBQ in downtown Mooresville is one of my favorites!
- Pizza: Who doesn’t love pizza, right? For my friends that just want to have a meal they can throw down and have the whole family eat, pizza wins. I usually grab Papa Murphy’s because I love the take ‘n bake style so they family can have freshly baked pizza whenever they are ready for it.
I usually try to toss in a snack or muffin (or these toaster pop-ups if they like hearty and wholesome) and maybe a fun beverage, but I keep in mind that done is better than perfect.
I remember how grateful I was for any food or meal brought to me as I was balancing diapers and cluster-feedings, and know that just showing up with something is so appreciated.
I’d love to hear from you-
What is your go-to meal to bring a new mom friend?
What was the best/most helpful meal you received when you had a baby?
Great idea for meals, not only for new moms, but also for families that may be recovering from surgery or illness.
Tanya’s baby looks like a little doll!
Brittany Dixon says
She was a little doll- I really didn’t want to hand her back!
My favorite meal was from a friend but not after a baby…after major abdominal surgery. Since this all happened in January, she brought us homemade chicken dumpling soup in an ice cream pail. It was light enough that I could eat it without stomach upset, there was enough for a few days, and was super easy to serve and heat up being my husband was doing everything by himself including taking care of me.
Plus, it was January in Wisconsin and soup warms the soul which in January needs warming for sure.
Brittany Dixon says
What a great idea for a light, but comforting soup after surgery! My dad and bro were in Wisconsin two weekends ago for the Packer and Badgers games. They sent a video of snow coming down! Sounds like it’s soup weather already 🙂
My favorite meal was an email someone brought me! Ha! It’s such a thoughtful gesture, and is beyond helpful when you have your hands full with a newborn. I also love it when people came over with individual breakfast cookies or even snacks because grocery shopping with low on the priority list.
That’s any meal, not an email 🙃
Brittany Dixon says
I read this a few times thinking… email? eMEAL? Hmm.. then I saw your follow up- lol!
Cristina Rojas- the batchmaker says
Love this post (As per use)! I was born and raised in Honduras so this wasnt something I knew of until I had my first baby and I was blown away!!! TRULY. Speechless. I remember vowing to jump on as many meal trains as possible because I had been on the receiving side of it and knew how incredible it was. Now, Im expecting baby 2 (and truly not even expecting a meal train) but these are all great ideas even for me to have and prepare on the quick go!
ps- another favorite thing I like to do for mamas that have their littles in the hospital or something is to go to trader joes and spend 20-25$ on fruit/yogurt/cereal/milk/bread/snacks/chocolate/ sometimes I even add a bottle of vino (PRAISE for Trader Joes wine!!!!!!) and bring a bag of groceries.
I love taking meals to new mamas! It was one of the best things that I seriously had happen when we had our first. I have so many friends that live in other cities so I have taken to using Door Dash or pizza for sending a meal with love but not getting to go. We also have a few friends that did it for us and it was great. I work full time and I have many friends that do, so often getting off at 5pm and driving in DFW traffic (even 20 miles) can lead to a long night AND that isn’t including cooking time! This is a nice work around for those that do want to give and help but also understand that you don’t want dinner brought to you at 8pm 🙂
Brittany Dixon says
What great suggestions! I haven’t’ heard of Door Dash, but I will look it up. I’ve been on the receiving end of a Spoonful of Comfort delivery (https://www.spoonfulofcomfort.com/) and it was fabulous. I’m sure it would work well in this situation too. Great input- thank you!
Love all these ideas! I do have a question though: With both of my newborns, i found that dairy, tomato sauce, beans and corn really upset them (like the first two months of breastfeeding). Do you ever take those food diversions into account? Honestly, my go-to dinners for the the first few months were turkey/chicken pot pies, roasted chickens, pasta without a cheese or tomato sauce, honestly, really bland food. Just curious if you have any ideas for those type of diets? Like you, i had some of my lovely friends bring over dinners after my babies were born, and it was so generous, but more than half the time i couldn’t eat them…..(corn chowder, pizza, lasagna….)….but at least it fed my family! I guess if the mama isn’t breastfeeding, then it’s no big deal! One of my mom friends had her first baby a year ago and i brought her a roasted chicken, rolls, a canister of oatmeal (to help with supply) and green beans for the side 🙂
Brittany Dixon says
That’s a great point, Bethany! If I knew the mom was cutting anything out then yes, I would absolutely want to abide by whatever they needed. I might even bring something family-friendly, then a different something on the side to fit the mom’s need. I haven’t had many friends that have needed to cut things out and vegetarian is the biggest preference I’ve worked with, but what a great thing to keep in mind when picking a meal.
Also, I LOVE that you brought a friend oatmeal to help with supply. What a thoughtful gesture!
I am currently on the receiving end of a meal train after the birth of our second babe. A friend brought by a tub of homemade granola and it was amazing. Perfect for eating by the handful during late night cluster feeds, and great with fruit and yogurt for an easy breakfast we all (including the toddler) loved. Granola all the way!!
I’ve taken your stuffed shells to people and it’s so great!
I think it’s also really nice to make food for people at random times to make their lives easier! Thanks for this list!
I have been on the receiving end of having meals brought to my family after having babies and after surgery. I remember a wonderful meal of chicken divan, salad, rolls, and a great dessert after my third daughter was born. I have received wonderful pasta dishes a couple times after I gave birth. After surgery I remember receiving beef barley soup and French bread. Another friend brought us delicious beef stew. I remember a thoughtful friend bringing us homemade spaghetti sauce that lasted for days, and the next week bringing us a Costco roasted chicken. All these meals were greatly appreciated! When someone has a new baby or has had surgery, I usually make chicken and rice, a salad, and cookies. It is always well received’
This is fantastic! My best friend just had twin girls & while one girlie is at home, one is at the NICU. I live an hour & a half away, so I made stuffed shells for when I go to visit, but I am stumped as to what other ways I can help!! Thanks for the ideas!
I understand this is random, but when my nephew was in the NICU, I gave my brother and sister-in-law gas gift cards to help defray the cost of traveling to and from the NICU (they lived 2 hours away from the hospital). Books are also really appreciated – NICU babies love to be read to, even if it is through glass (like if the baby is in an isolette). Offering to help clean, do laundry, and take care of their other child so they can visit the NICU baby is also usually appreciated, as are gift cards to any fast food restaurants or coffee shops in the area of the hospital. Hope that helps!
What a great collection of recipes! Definitely bookmarking this as I have so many expectant friends right now. Also, I can attest to the fact that a meal beats anything else when visiting a new mom!
Great list! I’ve made the 5 ingredient spaghetti squash pie twice now (saw the recipe earlier) and my husband LOVES it. I agree it’s a great choice for a new mom, so healthy and filling but it’s definitely time intensive to make. My favorite meal was when friends brought over sushi! I had been missing sushi during my pregnancy 🙂
Kelli H says
I agree, getting a home cooked meal was the BEST thing after having a baby. One of my husband’s coworkers brought us Tri-tip, roasted Potatoes, and veggies. It was the best!!
My cousin had her baby last month and I brought her a chicken chili style soup with all the fixins and a loaf of cardamon bread. Now that I’ve had a baby and now how helpful it is, I will always be doing that in the future!
Your friend does look so great and her baby is adorable. Makes me a little sad mine is growing so fast! haha. I can see why people have 3!
We were on the receiving end of. A meal train this summer when our second was born. Our favorites were comfort foods , like quiches and chicken pot pies, especially at the beginning. A few people brought meals along with hearty muffins which we looooved especially in the middle of the night! A lot of folks brought something special for our 5 year old as well, like a special cookie or something kid friendly for him too and it made him feel special (and really helped.
I’ve taken lasagnes, pot pies, chicken kebabs with Greek salad. Always include a treat!
This is perfect timing, my neighbor just had her first yesterday! I was going to try and figure out what to bring her and her husband. Thank you
My favorite was a fruit platter and an assortment of bagels and cream cheese. I could have eaten the whole platter myself! The worst? A ham loaf. I had never heard of such a thing. We thought it was meatloaf, being pink and all, so we started cooking it, but it never turned brown. Eventually it started to smell like bacon and we figured it out. By that point I was ravenous and crying, so it was PB&J for dinner that night! The friend who brought it is a dear and we never, ever told her about it, but my husband and I do still laugh every time we hear someone mention ham loaf!
I’m lazy, so i bring jarred pasta sauce, ravioli, frozen broccoli, breadsticks, and ice cream! plus chips and dip if i plan on hanging out for a bit while visiting baby. (not that i insist on them opening it, but it tends to happen.)