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Things to bring a new mommy? [Moved from Home Cooking]

Are there traditional things that a new mom is supposed to eat? I don't know anything about babies, but perhaps there are certain nutrients (calcium? protein?) that a new mother needs.

I ask because I'm making a few things to include in a gift basket for a new mother, but am not sure what to include. I know pregnant women typically shouldn't eat too much sugar (danger of prenatal diabetes, right?), but what about afterwards?

For some reason my gut tells me to stay away from full entree type things like casseroles for the freezer (which is what I would do for a relative or close friend). I don't know her or her tastes well enough to bring her entire meals. Somehow it feels like imposing my tastes on her. A basket of goodies seems more appropriate.

I'm also not sure about making something for the baby since she's probably breastfeeding now.

How does this sound for a basket (bearing in mind that the husband can eat everything if for some reason the mom can't):

-mini muffins of something healthy, like oatmeal blueberry or raisin bran.
-chocolate chip cookies (just because I make a mean chocolate chip cookie)
-a jar of oven-dried cherry tomatoes soaked in chili, garlic, and olive oil. Good for dipping bread, or for when they start cooking again (or maybe preserves since it's summer?)
-baby clothes from the couple's alma mater (they met in college)
-a pair of cigars for New Dad.

I'm so lost and open to suggestions it's not even funny. What did you want to eat when you (or your partner) had a baby?

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  1. That sounds great! Fresh fruit (maybe instead of the muffins) would be a nice addition.

    P.S. I'm not sure about the chili & garlic added to the dried cherry tomatoes. Depending on the baby, nursing after having eaten spicy or gas-producing foods can mean the baby is up all night (at least that was the case with with one of mine who had acid reflux.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Funwithfood

      Good point. My aunt ate all kinds of spicy food through and after her pregnancy, but even she knew she was unusual in that aspect. Better safe than sorry.

      I wish I could jar some pesto or other easy sauce that they can just pour over pasta. How could I jar it in a way that would stay green for awhile, in case they don't get to it for a week or two? Or, probably easier, how to jar some homemade tomato sauce so it'll keep in the fridge for a month or so?

      Dad only smokes away from children under the most celebratory occassions, so we thought it'd be fun. Maybe chocolate cigars instead...

      1. re: Pei

        Blanche the basil first and then shock in ice water, heard that keeps the basil a bright green. Also the fresher the better....

    2. Does Dad smoke? In any case he shouldn't do so around baby :)

      Otherwise, those sound like great suggestions. When you're breastfeeding you get pretty hungry, and those seem like nice indulgences. And even if baby isn't breastfeeding, he/she isn't eating food, so don't worry about that.

      And people may say that she shouldn't eat spicy food because the baby will be up all night. I personally think all of that is kind of silly and I breastfed two kids, but what really matters is, does the *mother* seem like someone who would obsess about such things? If so, don't do spicy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DGresh

        "And people may say that she shouldn't eat spicy food because the baby will be up all night. I personally think all of that is kind of silly and I breastfed two kids, but what really matters is, does the *mother* seem like someone who would obsess about such things? If so, don't do spicy."

        In response:
        Just because *you* haven't been up all night with a baby with digestive problems, doesn't mean they don't exist, geez! Believe me, there is nothing "silly" or "obsessive" about this problem! (I breast-fed two children also, for 1 year each.)

      2. From what I hear, the best thing you can give a new mom is.. time. So they value any prepared food that can be re-heated in no time. If you think you're super imposing your tastes, maybe get something like gift certificates to HomeBistro.com so the new Mom can chose herself?

        1. I would ask the mom if they are avoiding any foods. Now the current advice is: don't worry about it, except for nuts and if you have a strong history of allergies, other allergens. I always ate garlic, spicy food, etc. and the only thing my baby ever had reaction to was dairy (but that is rare).

          How about something to drink, even a great water or juice? You are SOOOO thirsty when breastfeeding. Also, I needed things for lunch that took NO prep time, and small snacks. High fiber items are good, but I won't go into why :). Nice breads are good for quick meals/snacks? Sauces are great as you suggested.

          1. I survived the first few weeks of mommyhood by snacking on all sorts of nuts (cashews, pistachioes, almonds) and eating fresh and dried fruits. You don't have time to cook, but you need lots of protein and carbs to keep up with yourself and the baby!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Treece

              My wife was warned to stay away from peanuts. Eating peanuts either may cause peanut allergies or trigger peanut allergies in infants.

            2. BEER! After nine long months . . . plus it's supposed to be great for breast milk production.

              4 Replies
              1. re: grubn

                AMEN!!!! I was going to suggest this. I was dying for a beer after abstaining for so long. And, I did find that drinking dark beer helped with breastmilk supply. So, throw a beer in the basket!

                1. re: nagrom

                  You do know that alcohol will go into the breastmilk?

                  1. re: notmartha

                    BOOOOO! Don't be a party pooper. A beer a day isn't going to have any worse of an effect on Mom and Baby than a serving of braised cabbage. Everything in moderation! I loved having pre portioned meals ready to defrost and eat when I was't nursing, burping, changing or the baby. Things like muffins are great and easy to freeze and reheat. I wouldn't avoid any foods per say unkless there are known allergies.

                    1. re: bolivianita

                      There's en expression (ok, so it's more of a marketing slogan, but still....):

                      Guinness is good for you.

              2. My favorite snack for quick energy:

                2 Tbs miso (more or less to taste)
                2 cups boiling water
                1/2 cup frozen edamame (Trader Joe's has these shelled and ready to go)
                soft tofu cut into cubes
                a few garlic chives (optional)

                Mix together and wolf down. (Neither myself nor my daughter have soy issues).

                1. Folks-

                  Please note, this is Chowhound, the original poster is asking about food gift items, discussion of any other, non-food related issues is off topic for Chowhound.

                  Thanks.

                  1. I think your basket is a nice idea. Try to put some food in it that you can eat with one hand (muffins, danishes, grapes, pita, hummus, etc.) Breastfeeding made me ravenous and you're up and hungry at all kinds of crazy hours.
                    Anything that requires a minimum of preparation would be appreciated, this includes washed/cutup fruit, bringing a salad or some nice cheese and buns.
                    My mother-in-law brought us 7 bottles of juice which we thought was a little over the top but you have so many visitors who want to see the baby that it's nice to keep up appearances of being a good host.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hoagy294

                      Buns! Of course. Thanks for that. I'll add an assortment of rolls to the basket. I can use the same base and make different shapes and toppings (black and white sesame seeds, various nuts, raisins, chocolate...). That way I'm only making dough for one basic loaf, but will end up with a dozen or so different things.

                    2. Definitely go with the chocolate cigars instead of the regular cigars. I know that See's makes chocolate cigars with cute "it's a boy" or "it's a girl" labels, because my husband brings one home from the office every time one of his friends has a baby. I think chocolate cigars are pretty popular right now.

                      Agree with the nuts suggestion, too.

                      1. Things that are easy to grab and eat with one hand, so muffins, cookies, wheat biscuits, bite-sized sandwiches, healthy snacks of any sort. It can take awhile to have your hands back to eat or cook a normal meal--and yes, she will be starving. Beer was one of the best presents after the new baby--and a case of water was really helpful. Seems odd that refilling the brita would be a chore, but grabbing bottles of water and having them scattered around the house helped tremendously. I did a lot of sudoku those first few weeks before figuring out how to set the baby down. Nice idea for a basket--they will be so happy to receive it!

                        1. My wife enjoyed getting fruit trays. Also a pan of lasagne is also nice, it heats well for several days.

                          1. Where were you after my kids were born?

                            The muffins and cookies sound great. Anything that can be eaten quickly and is filling. Nursing takes a lot more calories (about 500 per day) than pregnancy, actually and I was always ravenously hungry when mine were tiny. Bread and cheese and sandwich fixings? My first child was very fussy and it didn't matter what I ate or didn't eat. My seond child was happy as can be and it didn't matter what I ate or didn't eat, but it might for some nursing infants.

                            And the beverages. Yes! How about some different varieties of bottled water (still and fizzy)?

                            1. Yes, a nice pan of lasagna. You can stretch that across a couple of days.

                              I would even say to add a gift certificate to the nearest Pizza/Chinese delivery place.

                              Muffins are perfect.

                              Nuts - if you have a Trader Joes, get some of the mixes. "Confetti" is my favorite.

                              What new moms lack most is time...and sleep. The last thing you want to even think about is cooking. So anything that can be eaten as is or re-heated is perfect.

                              :)

                              1. Someone got us a gift basket that had all kinds of snacks but my favorite thing was the pre cut cheese.It was so handy to grab.

                                1. How about a gift pack with a nice festive bottle of non-alcoholic gourmet grape juice. We just sent a bottle to the daughter of one of our best friends. Try SweetwaterCellars.com. And in full disclosure, my wife and I own the business. Got tired of the traditional store brands and couldn't stomach the de-alcoholized stuff.

                                  1. I agree w/ the suggestions of anything that can be eaten with one hand, and needs no prep. Trail mix, granola, bite size cookies/muffins, etc.

                                    1. I think home made chicken soup will be both nourishing, nitritious and comforting. I don't know if it's old wife's tale, but my Mom insisted that the 'black boned chicken' are better.

                                      New Chinese moms are typically fed a slow stewed pot of eggs and ginger in a sweet vinergary sauce.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. I would definitely agree with the individually bottled drinks - water especially, though juices are nice as well. (Refilling the Brita really is a chore to a new mom!) Perhaps a small amount of nice smoked meat - ham, smoked turkey breast, even summer sausages or the like. A quick protein grab. Some special champagne truffles would be an extra treat - celebratory but without the true guilt of champagne for a nursing mom (Teuscher's are wonderful). An assortment of crackers - they don't go bad as fast as bread might, so they will last longer and are easy to grab.

                                        Wow. Just realized this original post was from months ago. Oh well - in case anyone needs the ideas now!! :-)

                                        1. Although my DDs are pretty much grown now, here are a few gifts that really stand out after all these years:

                                          * Casserole dishes in disposable containers that can be frozen for later use
                                          * Fancy cookies and cakes that can be served to the hordes who descend on you, especially if it's a first baby. People assumed we would be at home, especially MIL and family and it was nice to have something to serve them
                                          * One of the best gifts I remember was a hand made oversized envelope from a group of friends. They contained "coupons" for much needed services like running to the store, doing laundry, watching the baby, etc. We got about 12 of these and believe me, we cashed in every one. We always called in advance and our friends happily replied. It was GREAT to know you had an "emergency lifeline" if you really needed it.

                                          1. A new mom as in within her first month after childbirth?

                                            And is she Asian? If Taiwanese, the tradition is that they adhere to a specific diet for sitting month purposes, and the more hardcore ones don't wash their hair for a month. The diet would consist of black chicken soup with herbs, sesame chicken (chicken cooked in rice wine and sesame sauce) and if really hardcore, distilled rice wine water to drink (not regular water not tea). Ignore this post if she is of other ethnic background.

                                            1. If the new mom doesn't want a beer, oatmeal is also very beneficial to breastmilk production. How about a nice package of steel cut oats, or oatmeal cookies? Someone upthread suggested granola, too. And how about something to pamper herself with? Nice lotion or a little box of chocolates.