Best Foods to Bring a New Mom

Being a new mom ain’t easy.

I remember back before I had kids. Totally clueless. I think I even committed the deadly sin of going to visit someone with a new baby without bringing anything at all. Note: Never, ever visit a new mom without bringing something to eat. Buy a package of granola bars or a box of crackers if you have to, but please bring something. Seriously.

For those of you who plan ahead, here are a few tips for visiting a new mom – especially a first-time mom.

Tips for Visiting  a New Mom

1) Do not stay very long. Let me be more specific: limit your visit to no more than 15-20 minutes unless the mom specifically asks you to stay longer. Having visitors at this stage is exhausting. I don’t care if you are BFF, related by blood or next door neighbors. Get in, get out, go home. She’ll ask if she wants you to stay.

2) Everything you see while visiting is perfectly fine. Everything. Do not flinch if mama is in filthy pajamas and smells like a dumpster.  Postpartum hormones are insane, day-old breastmilk smells terrible and every movement may be an effort. You’re lucky that she put pants on at all for your visit. So mama is waddling around, sitting on an ice pack and wearing a 3 foot life saver around her still-pregnant-looking waist with one of her breasts hanging out? Not a big deal. Act normal.

3) Ask if you can help. Better yet, look for something specific that needs doing and ask if you can do it. “Hey, want me to take the trash out while I’m here?” Also, “While I hold the baby do you need to go to the bathroom or take a shower or anything?”

4) Check if mama has water or some other beverage nearby and if not, get her something to drink.

5) Do not allow the new mom to get up to get you anything. At all. If she asks if you are hungry or thirsty, the correct answer is no.

6) Do not visit if you are sick. Even a little bit sniffly. This should probably be tip #1 but I’m too lazy to rearrange.

What kinds of foods to bring a new mom

Okay, that was a long preamble to the main point of this post, which is to let you know about what kinds of foods you should bring. The main things you need to remember are that she’ll probably be eating with one hand and that there is a significant chance that the baby will be directly beneath her mouth as she’s eating. This means you should bring things that are easy to eat one-handed and that are unlikely to drip onto baby’s head.

Also remember that the new mom’s body is doing LOTS of healing work in the weeks and months after giving birth. She needs nutrient-dense foods, particularly if she’s breastfeeding. Think about rich, filling foods with lots of substance to them. Energetically warming and grounding foods are ideal.

A few other hints

– Fruit and veggies are always good. Pre-cut these whenever possible as it’s very difficult to cut anything when holding a new baby.

– Casseroles or other dishes that freeze well are great. She can eat some/all immediately and/or freeze for another day.

– Bringing beans, a roasted chicken or a big thing of pulled pork will provide a protein-rich option to add to almost anything for a quick meal.

– Desserts are also a welcome addition – again, remember the one-handed rule. Gloopy pies are out. Brownies and cookies are in.

Also remember that (if mom is lucky) lots of people will bring food in the first few weeks. However, things often get really hard after her spouse/partner returns to work. This is a great time to stop by or bring food.  Many mamas are also still struggling several months after baby is born. This is a another great time to bring a meal. I’ll never forget the lasagna my friend Lauren unexpectedly left on my doorstep one day when I was a few months postpartum with my first baby. She didn’t even ring the bell – just left it there and shot me a message to look outside. I felt like she was an angel sent from above. I needed that lasagna so badly. (Thanks, Lauren).

Ye Olde Pinterest Board (i.e. suggested foods for new moms)

Lastly, I’ve compiled some of my favorite dishes to bring to postpartum mamas below. This also includes suggestions from many other mamas I know. If you see anything missing from this list, please let me know. I’d love to add your suggestions!

Check out my “Best Meals to Bring Postpartum Moms” Board on Pinterest.

Thoughts? Add your comments here. 

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Camille Freeman (she/her)

Hi there! I'm a clinical herbalist and licensed nutritionist specializing in fertility and reproductive health. I faciliate the Monday Mentoring community of practice and offer continuing eduation programs for highly trained herbalists & nutritionists. I'm also a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, where I teach physiology, pathophysiology, and mindful eating.