August 25, 2011

Naptime Cooking For New Parents {Naptime Simple Tips}


My sweet neighbor just had a beautiful new baby and I am planning to cook a few meals for her as soon as her mother-in-law leaves. It’s not that I don’t want to feed her mother-in-law, it is just that I want to wait until all of her help has departed so I can swoop in when she really needs an extra hand. I’ve cooked for many of my friends after they’ve had babies and I find that around the four week mark, once the helping hands have gone home, that they need a warm meal and some extra TLC.

As I plan the menu for her family I thought I would share a few simple tips I’ve picked up over the years I’ve been feeding my friend’s with newborns. Do you have any tips for feeding parents with newborns? I would love to hear!

Considerations for Menu Planning:

  • New Moms often have the same diet restrictions as when they are pregnant since they are usually nursing. Check with the new mom to see what foods she might be avoiding. This list might include raw seafood, blue cheeses and alcohol.
  • When a mom is nursing nutrients and elements of the food are passed through the breast milk to the baby. Sometimes a baby will react poorly to a specific food or meal that a mom eats. For example, my friend’s daughter got very gassy after her mother ate particularly spicy food. Again, check with the new mom to see what food she is avoiding, or, alternatively, what she is adding in to her diet for extra protein and strength.
  • Serving: Generally speaking, households with new babies can be quite chaotic and any food that is delivered can be served and reheated with easy. This is not the time to bring anything over that needs to sauced or handled delicately!

Food Ideas:

Breakfast: Muffins, breads, pancake mix and quiches are excellent to bring to new parents. These items can often be sliced and served any time of day. They can always be frozen for later if desired. My friend brought me fresh banana bread when my daughter was born and I served slices of it to people when they came to meet the baby!

Tomato Soup

Soups: Soups are always excellent for new parents. They are easy to reheat, can be stored in the fridge or even frozen for later if necessary. Here are some of my favorite soups to bring new parents:

Main Courses: A lot of people ask me for main course ideas when cooking for new parents. It can be tough to think of portable foods that can easily be reheated. Here are a few of my favorites ideas – and they are not just casseroles!

Sides & Salads: Cold salads are great to take to new parents. These are the kinds of things people bring out over the course of a few days and can even eat for lunch in a pinch.

Sweets: I find that a lot of new moms don’t want overwhelming heavy desserts. Instead, they prefer to stick with lighter fare that won’t leave them feeling bulky and poofy. Here are a few of my favorite lighter desserts. They are easy for a quick nibble during day or night – they even make a great snack at 3am!

End Notes: Having a new baby is always a wonderful time for a family, but it can still be exhausting and a little stressful. Once I pack the meal I usually add in a few extra treats for Mom and Dad. Maybe a nice bottle of wine or a spit of champagne. Or, if I know the Mom loves a particular sweet I’ll add a stash just for her. Sometimes I include a giftcard for a mani/pedi or a nice bottle of hand lotion. It is amazing how quickly your hands dry out when you are washing them all the time with the new baby in the house! A little something to convey some TLC is the name of the game!



  • This is great advice. I love spoiling a new mama with a little something extra. It is so much fun to surprise a tired mama with something just for her.

    • Anonymous

      It is, I agree!

  • Gg

    This is such a great post thank you!!!  I have read your work for a while but never commented.  Love it.  I’m wondering if you would do a post about grocery shopping?  How, where, why, when Naptime Chef style?  Thanks so much!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Gg! I would LOVE to do a post about grocery shopping and am happy to put it on the calendar! More soon! Best, Kelsey

  • jenn

    Great post, Kelsey!  I wish more of my friends cooked – I would have loved this kind of star treatment 🙂  You are right on the money here.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Jenn! I wish I lived closer, I would’ve cooked for you last spring!

  • Another tip is to ask the new mama how much food she wants. We were blessed to have several meals made for us after our daughter’s birth but each meal was for 4-6 people. Our fridge was quickly packed with leftovers and much of the food was spoiled before we could get to it. A serving for each of us would have been more than enough. 

    • Anonymous

      That is a great point, Stacy. Portions are important since families vary in size. Something freezable is always useful!

  • Well written article.Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.I will try this.You have done a great job by sharing this post with us.I like this post.Keep it up.

  • I would recommend not going overboard on the choc or coffee, can upset the baby. The last new mum I cooked for was my sister who was also managing tears and stitching. This meant it was important to both keep sugar down (as this can feed an infection) and fibre levels up (to help keep stools soft) Sorry for the TMI, but the mum you are cooking for just may thank me one day!
    Mashed up prunes can replace part butter and sugar in many brownie or cookies recipes and replacing regular white flour with wholemeal or even part spelt/nut/chickpea flour can help boost important protein intake for new mum too. Extra mash prunes can live in the fridge to add to brekkie cereal, go on top of pancakes, even in vege soup as my sister did!
    A jar of trail mix style munchies is good for by the bed- make sure the jar can be opened 1 handed! And portion control wax cheeses make good nibbles.
    Make 2 banana breads! Leave 1 whole for now and visitors and cut, wrap and most importantly LABEL the other one so mum can freeze for ongoing yummies. In fact whatever you take, portion it, wrap it, label it. She will never remember what is what and if you want your crockery back, label that too; saves stress for everybody.