After the baby comes home (more tips for helping out)
As I said in my previous post, I wanted to dedicate one entire post to the subject of blessing the family of a new baby with a meal. When I asked for feedback from other women about what had blessed them and their family in the postpartum period, I heard a lot about meals and I wanted to share most of what I heard because it was really great stuff. With that being said, here are some thoughts on how to best bless such a family …
If you have the time, offer to be the one to organize the bringing of the meals for the family after they come home from the hospital. It is helpful if there is just one point person that the family with the new baby needs to communicate with about meals vs. having to reply to numerous emails or phone calls because there is no one point person organizing it all. If you are this person:
- Schedule 2-3 meals/week for at least the first month after the baby comes home, then a few meals at the 6-week mark, and at the 2-month mark (or ask the family if they would prefer a different kind of schedule. Also ask them if they want any frozen meals to be put in the freezer for a later time).
- Encourage people to bring enough food so that there will be some left-overs for a 2nd meal the next day.
- Make sure you are aware of any strong food aversions or food allergies that members of the family may have (you should always ask this, whether or not you are the one organizing meals for the family).
- Use a website such as mealbaby.com, where people can sign up online to bring meals, if you think this will make the process go more smoothly. This will ensure that the family receiving the meals will not get the same ones multiple times.
Other advice regarding meals:
- Include paper plates, utensils, and napkins with the meal you bring, especially if the family doesn’t have a dishwasher. I had someone bring me a big stack of each, something I would have never thought of. It was a bonus aspect to the meal they had brought because at the time of both my kids being born, we didn’t live in homes with dishwashers.
- Ask Mom if she has a specific hankering for anything in particular and if so, bring her that specific meal.
- Drop off the meal, ooh and ahh over the baby, then leave, thus relieving the family of any pressure they may feel to entertain. With that being said, this is where knowing the family comes in because some may welcome the company. As I’ve said before – when in doubt, ask.
- Bring the food in disposable containers that the family does not need to return to you (and make that clear).
- If you do not know what kind of meals others have been bringing, ask the new mom so that you can try to bring something different. Others told me that it was nice, specifically, to get something other than spaghetti, lasagna, or Mexican-themed meals. Also on this topic, one friend wrote me that she appreciated when people brought meals with salads as the main dish so that they received something other than heavier foods.
- Bring some snacks for the new mom to snack on while she’s recovering and/or up at all hours feeding the baby. Include things like nuts, fruits (washed and ready to eat), and granola bars.
- Bring a special treat for the new baby’s siblings. I once took a family a meal that included hot chocolate, a bag of marshmallows, and some other fun things specifically that I thought the kids may enjoy.
- It doesn’t have to be a fancy, 5-course meal! A simple meal will be a blessing to the family (who will be just grateful they don’t have to make the food themselves!) and less of a stress to you, especially if you’re busy. You can cook a pretty, simple, and substantial meal fairly easily – don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
What kind of advice about bringing meals to a family who has just had a baby would you add? Were there other things that blessed you as a family after you brought a new baby home? If you do not have kids, was there something you brought such a family that was particularly well-received? Please share if you do!