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Care Package for New Mom

My SIL is due this month, and in addition to the gifts I've already sent for the baby, I'd like to send her a care package once the baby is born. She's having a home birth and will be breastfeeding, so she won't have much time to cook. I was thinking of sending some banana bread, two or three types of cookies and some granola/ trail mix type snack, but I'm looking for additional things that aren't too junky, and are easy to eat for a busy mom, as well as being good for shipping. Any suggestions would be most helpful! :)

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    1. You are so thoughtul! How about a mixed bean soup mix? Some low or no-caffeine green tea? And some gift certificates to decent take out places?

      1 Reply
      1. re: sueatmo

        Oh yes... the gift certificates are a great suggestion. When I had both my babies I had a good friend get me a meal right afterward - both times it was a great pasta dish from a local restaurant with lots of meat and vegetable and I swear it was the best food I'd ever tasted. When a friend of mine was due a while back we sent her a gift certificate for a fantastic pizza place close to them. It was greatly appreciated and they were able to get several meals that first week out of it.

      2. Nice gift! When I was breastfeeding I wanted lots of protein. My first thought is various roasted nuts, pumpkin seeds, etc., although you can work those into banana bread and trail mix. I used to crave hummus when I was breastfeeding, but that might be too perishable for shipping. What about a good quality summer sausage or dry salami, and some crackers or flat breads to go with?

        1. Great subject! I am up in the middle of the night breastfeeding my 11 day old! I think your idea of granola is great. I often need a quick snack after middle of the night feedings and i've been going through some fruit and nut p packed granola as a great quick energy source.

          I am also thirsty all the time! If your sil likes tea, that's a great idea. Or maybe homemade hot chocolate mix if is cold where she is. With my first baby I also had a friend send me some trashy magazines (people, star, etc) which was kind of good as something to do during the h hours spent nursing. Now I have a smartphone, thank goodness, so I can surf the web, but I thought that was very thoughtful as well.

          1. What about some gifts in a jar? Even though she won't have much time (or energy) for cooking, a nice split pea soup mix, or veggie chili in a jar might be just the trick, no measuring except the water, even hubby could do that!

            1. thirsty all the time and hungry all the time...and that's just the mom!

              I will back up all the suggestions here...with the caution to go easy on things that are spicy, garlicky, etc. -- so much of what Mom eats and drinks (even flavors) are transmitted through breast milk, and can upset brand-new tummies far more than you'd ever think. (two bites of St Patrick's Day cabbage -- two bites! -- meant hours of walking an infant with a *very* upset tummy for me)

              1. Homemade applesauce in a nice secure tupperware should be fine for shipping. the granola is a wonderful idea, I make tons of homemade granola with dried fruit & nuts and it saves really beautifully. You can also make granola bars out of it too, which might make nice easy-to-grab snacks.

                Depending on where she lives, you could also schedule a grocery delivery service (or a local grocer) to drop off a few must-have supplies that she may be running low on. Milk, eggs, OJ all that stuff.

                And nice body washes & body lotions, calming bath products might be a nice treat. http://newlondonpharmacy.com has an entire baby section for mothers-to-be. The products are basically safe for moms & babes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Feastonthcheap

                  Sorry, but I'd seriously question the safety of any homemade food like applesauce that arrived in my mailbox that wasn't sealed in a water bath or steam canner ...and a nursing mother just isn't in a position to take any risks at all with her health. Either can the applesauce like any jam/jelly preserve, or give it to her fresh, but had that shown up at my door I'd have pitched it, no matter how much I appreciated the thought and the effort.

                  The grocery delivery is an awesome idea, though.

                2. You are such a thoughtful SIL. I like all of the ideas shared so far, and thought I'd add a link to Smitten Kitchen's granola bars--she praises them as being easy to eat with one hand for a nursing mother.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: egging

                    Not only that - I saw she has started a baby food blog and the food looks good enough to gobble down for us toothy critters!

                    I do not mean to hijack - but you may want to point your young mom-to-be there eventually.

                    Love the grocery delivery idea. Also, a gift card to any restaurant with curbside service - so she can go get good dinner and not have to get herself and baby-kins out of the car. Here is a list of a few that offer it:
                    Applebee’s, Carrabba’s, Macaroni Grill, Outback Steakhouse, Ruby Tuesdays, and UNO Chicago Grill

                    You are a lovely SIL!

                  2. If you want to send prepared foods, and don't mind the extra shipping costs...I sent a frozen panini, calzones, and soup to my brother when my 2nd niece was born (when my 1st neice was born, I was able to gi visit them and cook!). I froze the soups in quart-sized containers, the panini & calzones were wrapped in foil then plastic bags. Everything was packed tightly into a styrofoam cooler that I put inside a box. The soup acted like freezer packs and kept the panini cold. Shipped frm Boston to NOLA in June, overnight, and the soups were still frozen the next day. They put the other items in the fridge & ate them over the next 2 days.

                    1. I like the idea of finding out which restaurants are your SIL/Brother's favorite in their area and call to find out if they either deliver or make arrangements with them to prepare an order for pick up (your brother/other family member can handle this). Pay over the phone with your credit card. They'll get a nice hot meal that I'm sure will be appreciated.

                      As far as home wrapped gifts, I have a son across country to whom I send food gifts. Like a lot of others here, I make huge bags of granola to send but I like to dry my own fruit. If you have a dehydrater, you can do apples, blueberries, etc. I also peel citrus (oranges, lemons, etcl) and dry these, either crystallized or plain then grind up and add to my mixes. Sometimes I add ancho chile powder for a sweet/savory combination. If you can't dry the ingredients, you can find dried fruit/nuts all over the place and add to your blend. Easy to grab a handful or add to a bowl with milk.

                      I also like to oven dry thin prosciutto or country ham slices until crispy like a potato chip. These are so good and better than regular potato chips. You can also make salami chips. These are safe to send in the mail.

                      1. I had my first last year and I second most of the snack and gift certificate ideas here. I wanted to suggest a giant cup with a handle, lid and straw. To breastfeed, you need to keep your water intake high, so I kept a giant cup filled with ice water with me at all times. The straw and handle make it easy to manage one-handed (or sometimes no-handed). Maybe some junky magazines too for entertainment value?

                        1. Quite seriously: sign her up for one of those Fruit-of-the-Month clubs. Harry & David does a good one. When I was home with the kidlet we were overwhelmed with sweet, starchy food -- seemed like everybody who came to see us brought cookies or something of the sort -- and greasy takeout, and what I found that we really needed and wanted, and had trouble getting, was fresh anything-at-all. My aunt sent some H&D pears right after we came home from the hospital; on my deathbed, I'll look back on those pears as one of the best, most thoughtful gifts I've ever received. If somebody had sent me a spinach salad I probably would have wept.

                          1. Many smaller caterers offer an option of a "pickup meal", frequently making extra portions of event foods to order on a small scale (to serve 2-4). And it's not necessarily expensive, and if you've got a reputable firm in mind, a pickup or delivered meal several times a week for the first month would be awesome. I survived my first month on mom's french toast and pumpkin crack; you don't want her to do that!
                            What a generous and loving sister in law you are.

                            1. Thank you so much everyone! You all had awesome ideas! Baby hasn't made an appearance yet, but it could be any day now. I looked into having meals delivered to their house, but that's a bit out of my price range at the moment. So, I've decided the package will include:

                              Two loaves of banana bread
                              A batch of Smitten Kitchen's "Thick, Chewy Granola bars"
                              Trail mix (almonds, walnuts, dried cherries, dark chocolate)
                              Green tea
                              and I'm going to send them some fruit from Harry & David

                              Again, thank you all so very much for the suggestions. You're a very helpful group of people here on Chowhound! ;)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                                you are amazing. the new mom is going to appreciate it so much!

                                1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                                  Great assortment - your SIL is a lucky mama!

                                2. A bottle of Champagne..... and a big bottle of Tylenol.... :)