I don’t know about y’all, but babies are every where in my world right now! It seems like everyone is either pregnant, getting ready to pop, or just had a baby. Which is good for me because Gracie is letting me snuggle her less and less, so I need to gets my hands on some chubby baby cheeks before I catch baby fever myself. Babies are a lot like boats. It’s even more fun if you have a friend who has one. Less expensive, and all the fun!
A good friend had a baby a few weeks ago, so I waited until her family left to bring her dinner. I think the best time to visit (and by visit, I mean drop food, coo over the baby for 10 minutes, and leave) is the week that the family leaves and the daddy has to go back to work. I remember that being a time of such a big change for me when we had our babies, and it was nice to have a friend poke their head in with some food.
There are a ton of great recipes to bring a family, but before you cook anything, be sure you ask them about allergies. And always check with the Momma Bear about what foods she is craving or dreaming about. Chances are she hasn’t had a minute to feed herself, much less feed herself something made with just her taste buds in mind! My sweet friend wasn’t craving anything, so I went with comfort food. Something warm and hearty to fill her and her family’s belly. I picked a recipe for chicken pot pie out of my church cookbook. It was super easy! (Recipe at bottom of post)
Along with the chicken pot pie, I also made a batch of buttermilk biscuits and chocolate chip cookies. If you’re feeding a family, help yourself out and use a little Betty Crocker in your life. You can throw things together quickly, but it’s still warm and “homemade” for a new mom.
With an entree, biscuits, and a dessert done, I thought I’d throw in a little something extra because they have a two-year old son, and I know that toddlers are sometimes funny about unfamiliar food. Plus, I wanted my friend to have something she could snack on in the middle of the night or early mornings during feedings. I made a beautiful banana bread, which I promptly burnt on the outside and left raw in the middle. (#fail) But generally speaking, banana bread or any kind of bread makes a nice food gift for a new mom family because they can freeze it if they don’t eat it right away. Also, breads can be eaten for just about any meal, any time of day – which is nice for a new mom who may not know what the heck time of day it is!
(Insider tip: Mash bananas with a potato masher.)
In addition to the banana bread, I also cut up some raw veggies and made a ranch dip (the Hidden Valley kind you buy in the packets) for them to snack on. I would have also added fresh fruit cut up, but I knew her son didn’t like fruit, so I went with veggies instead.
When I went to the store, I made sure to pick up a 1/2 gallon of sweet tea to include, as well. Most grocery store delis have iced tea and lemonade, and that’s a nice something to include to make sure the entire meal is all set and ready to go.
Lastly, I took return address labels that I found in a desk drawer and labeled everything clearly. If there were serving instructions, I put those on the labels, too. Also, had there been any allergies, I would have labeled what ingredients were in each item, just to be clear.
I packed everything up in disposable food storage containers and freezer bags, so that my friend wouldn’t have to worry about getting anything back to me. Then, I put all the food in a reusable shopping bag and carried the chicken pot pie because it was still piping hot.
As I was making all of this food this morning, I kept coming up with all these different food and gift ideas I would have done, if I’d planned ahead. I missed the chance this time, but next time, here are a few things I would add or include:
- Cut up veggies and pack them in my favorite Ziplock Zip and Steam bags. Then, they could just pop the veggies in the microwave and have a hot, healthy side for any meal or snack.
- Sandwich goods – deli meat, sliced cheese, bread or rolls, sliced lettuce and tomatoes
- Muffins – Like banana bread, these are good to eat at any time of day and are great single serving snacks
- Yogurt and trimmings – Big tub of yogurt, plus berries, granola, and fruit to top with
- Paper plates, cups, and utensils
- Box of protein or health bars (I am partial to Luna bars for new moms because they are made for women’s bodies)
- A few of those big, extra nice chocolate bars you find in the candy aisle that you would never buy yourself. Like Dove or Godiva. Nothing better for a new mom in the middle of the night than a little sweet treat!
- A pack of juice boxes if they have kids
- A box of frozen easy meals for kids (like Crustables or even a few Kid Cuisines). They aren’t great to keep on the menu permanently, but for a new mom in a pinch, these can save the day!
Other things for the new momma that you might want to throw in to ramp up your care package:
- Magazines – Stick with parenting or family themed, as opposed to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. New moms don’t want to read about skinny people. Heck, I don’t want to read about skinny people!
- Little pampering items – Nail polish (how long has it been since she’s seen her toes?!?!), lip gloss, a couple of those single use facial masks, eye cream, etc.
- A nice box of tea (decaf if she’s breastfeeding)
- A pretty pack of thank you notes and a new pen. Makes all those thank you notes slightly more fun…
- Take out from her favorite place
- A Domino’s or Papa John’s gift card
Little gift ideas if there is a big brother or sister in the house:
- A balloon – my kids love balloons, and I like them because they are quiet!!!!
- Play Doh – another quiet something for the older ones to play with while the new baby sleeps
- A “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” shirt
- Plan a scavenger hunt in their neighborhood and then take them on it while momma gets some alone time. I know I don’t like my kids riding around in other people’s cars a lot, so this is a nice way to get the older sibling out of the house without having to worry about car seats and logistics.
- Cookie dough, then have them help you in the kitchen while you make the cookies (another good activity in the house while mommy sleeps or rests)
- Sidewalk chalk
- Coloring books and crayons
- A new movie – GOLD for a new mom! A new something to watch will keep older brothers and siblings entertained much more than watching something they already had. Be sure to stick with something somewhat educational, like Sesame Street or any PBS show.
- A snack or treat all for themselves (bonus if you can find a cute little container to hold it in)
- A new sippy cup with their favorite character on it
- A new pair of jammies
Visiting a new mom or family after a baby arrives is always such a tricky thing. Some people love having company over, while others seem to keep to themselves. Feel your friend out and see what they prefer. If you’re not sure, just ask. I tend to go with “less is more” when it comes to new babies. It won’t take a lot to impress a new mom, trust me! So, if you want to go visit, call ahead and ask what day and time is most convenient for them (try to give them a two week window to get home and settled before you go visit). Then BE ON TIME! Chances are that the new mom is probably only going to get up and dressed for your visit, so don’t show up early or too late because you’re wasting their precious pajama time!
Another thing I try to do is to voluntarily leave my kids at home. No new mom wants to ask you to leave your kids at home, so don’t make her uncomfortable! Bigger kids are germy! So, save the new mom from having to ask and make it clear that you’ll be coming solo. Today when I dropped the food with my friend, I left her a quick text message saying that my kids would be in the car, so I would just be dropping food and running. This way, she didn’t have to wonder or worry about how to handle little kids around her newborn.
Lastly, don’t forget to talk about HER! Babies get all the attention. But remember that the mommy has gone through something really crazy, too, and she will continue in that for a long time. Ask her how she’s feeling. Ask her if she needs anything. Ask her how her other kids are doing. Ask her about how she’s handling feedings or all-nighters. And whatever answer she gives to any question, please don’t tell her she’s doing it wrong or that you did it better. Just be supportive, encouraging, and complimentary. She’s going through a lot right now, and the best thing you can do is be there for her.
Chicken Pot Pie
- 2 frozen pie crusts
- 1 bag frozen mixed veggies
- 2 chicken breasts, boiled and cubed
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- 1 tsp thyme
Prepare frozen veggies according to package instructions. Then combine veggies, cubed chicken, soup, thyme in a bowl. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into one frozen pie crust. Fit the other pie crust over the top. Crimp sides. Cut two slits in the top of the pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.