A Complete Guide To Feeding Mama
Everything you need to know about providing meals for a postpartum mother (and her family)
Your friend just had a baby and you’d like to serve her family by taking a meal. If you need ideas for how to nourish your mama friend, you’re at the right place. This post will include some general helpful tips, meal ideas, snack ideas, and beyond.
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Disclaimer: Not all of these ideas are exclusively low carb. You can always add healthy carbs to your meal if you’d like. Some ideas are for families that are not focusing on a low carb lifestyle while some are for low carb families.
After my daughter was born I was blessed beyond measure by my church community providing meals for several weeks! Two or three times a week a hot meal was delivered to my doorstep. The kindness and love that was shown was overwhelming in the best way possible. There I was, a new mom, freshly experiencing all of the things that come with having a baby. My daughter had a tongue tie which made the first few weeks very painful and difficult as I tried to navigate breastfeeding. Her ties were quickly revised but I was trying to figure out life with a newborn, not how to put a meal on the table.
So, to have people bring me meals was one of the best things during that season. I’ll be sharing about some of my favorite meal ideas as well as ideas from a bunch of my mama friends. This is serious business, folks. Let’s feed mama and her family well.
First Things First
A few ground rules for taking food to your mama friend.
- Pay attention to allergy or preference requests. Don’t judge her. Just try to honor her preferences!
- Take well-rounded meals.
- Now is the time you do everything in your power to make sure everything is disposable. Send food in take-out containers/disposable pans and make sure they know you don’t need them back! Go so far as to provide paper plates for the whole family. Even a whole package of paper plates! (If you take many meals to folks, you may want to consider buying a bulk bag of styrofoam containers from a big box store like Costco).
- Bagged salad kits are your best friend. Fresh fruit is what your friend really wants. Provide them if you’re able! Don’t skimp on this part.
- Go above and beyond, provide snacks and maybe even breakfast food!
- Now is not the time to try a recipe with unique flavors. Try to choose meals that are generally enjoyed by the masses.
- Be sure to look at the sign-up list so that they receive a variety of meals.
Meal Ideas (Main Dishes)
Keto/ Low Carb Options
- Casserole with ground beef – Hamburger casserole – The one unique ingredient is oat fiber, you can omit that or use almond flour
- Breakfast for dinner + berries + sausage links – Meat Crust Quiche
- Roasted chicken and vegetables – Red Roasted Chicken
- Roast + vegetables –Mississippi Roast
- Meatloaf + Roasted Vegetables – BBQ Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf, Meatza Supreme
- Enchiladas – Low Carb Beef And Cheese Enchiladas
- Soup + Salad – Chicken Cabbage Soup, Loaded Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Rotisserie chicken + a small veggie tray (this can all be picked up at the store if you’re short on time).
- Lettuce Sandwich Wraps – Washed and dried large leafy greens, a package of sliced cheese, a package of lunch meat, dijon mustard, and any toppings you’d like to include (think Subway – sliced tomatoes, sprouts, spinach, peppers..).
Slow Carb Options
These are just a few ideas, there are endless options but these can get you started.
- Casserole – Mushroom and Chicken Rice Pilaf
- Soup – Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (for cooler temps)
- Supplies to make sandwiches – sprouted quality bread, a package of lunch meat and cheese, a spread of some sort (Mayo, mustard), toppings (like lettuce and tomatoes).
- Chicken Taco stuffed Sweet Potatoes – made with seasoned chicken over sweet potatoes
- Fajita makings- Grilled/roasted peppers and onions + cooked chicken or steak with tortillas and the fixings (guacamole, sour cream, cheese).
Extras you may want to include
Here are some ideas of things you could bring in addition to a meal. Don’t feel like you need to bring any or all of these, but these would be wonderful additions.
- Enough food for leftovers for lunch the following day (don’t go overboard!).
- Snacks or special treats for older children like fruit snacks, juice boxes, popsicles, cookies, etc.
- Easy grab & go snacks for the nursing mama: granola bars, muffins, fruit, cheese sticks etc.
- Something easy for breakfast like berries and muffins or even a box of frozen waffles.
For Families with Allergies
Taking a meal to a family with allergies may seem like a daunting task, you might even hesitate to even try. You’ve got options.
Take into consideration their allergies. Is it gluten? Is it eggs? You’ll most likely find options. When in doubt, ASK! Don’t be afraid to ask your friend what kinds of food are safe in their home!
A pretty friendly recipe I’ve got (unless there are tomato allergies) is Red Roasted Chicken. If you prepare this in a disposable pan, you’ve got the protein covered. Add to that a roasted or steamed vegetable. You’re almost there. If they’re not particularly low carb, you could include a side of brown rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, bread, rolls, pasta, etc.
How to Organize a meal train
Using Take Them A Meal
If you want to head up a meal train for your mama friend, here are some ideas for how to get folks on board (no pun intended).
Ask the recipient:
- For days they’d prefer to receive meals. (sometimes with leftovers, it is overwhelming to receive meals daily).
- Discuss how long they can expect to receive meals. Some do for two weeks, some provide for over a month.
- If there are any allergies.
- How many people will be fed (include all individuals, like grandma who is staying to help during this transition period).
- Preferences for meals if there are other children in the house.
- Preferred delivery time and method (like don’t ring the doorbell, just text).
There are quite a few websites that you can use, but some of my readers are not US based. If you’re outside of the USA, perhaps there is a better resource but my favorite website is Take Them A Meal.
You can scroll down to the “Create” tab and enter the appropriate information, including a password. Then you can share the link and password with your friends, community, or church. This allows people to secure a day for delivering a meal. It also gives the ability to share what you plan to make (so that mama doesn’t get a week of straight Mac’n’cheese). If you are the coordinator, please pay attention and touch base with the recipient to make sure everything is going smoothly.
Take Them A Meal is great because it will send the individual preparing a meal a reminder email in advance.
You want to help, but you can’t cook them a meal
The beauty of this day and age is that there are so many options to serve friends when you’re not actually present to cook a meal. Here are a few ideas of ways to serve your new mama friend where you don’t have to be physically there.
- Send them a gift card to local restaurants that make meal pickups easy. Perhaps the husband can run to the restaurant to pick up a meal.
- Use websites like Grub Hub, Postmates, Uber Eats, or Door Dash to order food and have it delivered.
- Paypal or Venmo money to go towards a meal or groceries. If you/they don’t use either, you could send a check. I’m certain they would appreciate it!
- Freezer meals: perhaps you’re not able to take them a hot meal but you can prepare a freezer meal or two and pass it to them at a convenient time. I have done this in the past whilst working a job that didn’t allow for me to deliver a hot meal in their preferred time window. It could be something that is baked for or a crockpot meal etc.
Answering your questions:
Q. Should meals be provided for every birth?
A. Yes. Every single one of them.
Q. If I’m coordinating a meal train, how many weeks would be ideal?
A. Ideally, more than two weeks would be wonderful. Some do it for a month or longer (especially if it was a birth of multiples).
Q. For coordinators, should meals be provided every day?
A. This is something to discuss with the family. Some prefer a Monday, Wednesday, Friday sort of schedule, while others provide every weekday.
Q. Is it important that there be several courses (main, side, salad, dessert, etc.) provided?
A. No, as long as you provide a wholesome meal that isn’t just a tray of macaroni and cheese you’ll be okay. By that I mean, if you are cooking a crockpot or one pan meal with meat and veg that is sufficient.
When should meal trains be coordinated?
Honestly, meal trains can be coordinated in advance or after a baby is born.
If a meal train is organized prior to the birth of the baby, just touch base with the family to make sure its okay to start the meal train signups.
Please urge participants to follow through. I have mama friends who were told a meal is coming then one never showed up. This is unacceptable. Be diligent in this act of service.
Other situations that would need a meal sign-up
Perhaps a family is facing a long NICU stay, this would be a tremendous blessing during the long hospital days (gift cards for this situation would be welcomed).
If a mom is put on bed rest prior to delivery, this is a very challenging time for the family. Meals would be an amazing blessing when a mama is out of commission for however short or long it may be.
Meals are also a huge blessing at a time of miscarriage and loss.
A group of mothers weighed in to give these suggestions of what would be a huge blessing postpartum. These would be most well received from someone you know well.
- Volunteers to help with household tasks like washing the dishes and general house care.
- Help with laundry.
- Intentional time spent with older children going through a big transition.
The Don’ts of taking Mama a meal
If you are sick, please refrain from making a meal and possibly spreading your germs. Please switch with another volunteer or coordinate an alternative meal idea (see above for suggestions).
Please don’t expect that you’ll get to spend time with the newborn on this visit. Unless the mother asks you to come in to spend time meeting the baby, consider simply passing off the meal and heading home.
Make appropriate portions of food. If you take too much food (more than say dinner + lunch leftovers) it may be overwhelming for the family to finish the food before the next meal is expected. Freezers fill fast and you don’t want to put them in a situation where they feel bad for having to throw away food made with love.
Taking postpartum mothers (and their families) meals is a huge way to love on those in your community. You don’t have to prepare a fancy meal, but do what you can to shower this family with love. This is a huge ministry that many people are missing out on.
Don’t forget that there are suggestions for ways to serve families that don’t include going into your kitchen. Though a home-cooked meal is preferable, there are many ways you can love on that mama! My friend, Angela, wrote about creative ways to encourage young moms, which totally piggybacks on this post.