August 25, 2011

Naptime Cooking For New Parents {Naptime Simple Tips}

Muffins

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!