The Best Meals to Bring New Parents

We know what new babies eat but what about the parents?

Two of my best friends had a 6.5-pound baby girl last week. Now that I'm tuned into the baby channel, it seems like everyone is having one—the wife of this guy I work with, my dry cleaner's daughter, Tina Fey. Even Mariah Carey is reproducing. This brings up a lot of questions for the rest of us. For instance, Will I ever be ready for parenthood?, Can I pick up your baby?, and, What is the best dish to bring new parents?

The last question is particularly pertinent today because I just received an invitation to,  a website that helps you organize meals for new parents. Now I have access to a shared calendar where I can choose a day and declare what meal I'll bring, so that the new parents won't get seven pasta dishes in a row. This public dish display brought extra pressure to the decision. I had to research.

First, guidelines for bringing food to new parents:

  • Leftovers are a plus
  • Beware of onions, garlic, spiciness, broccoli, beans, and cauliflower, which can create problems for mom and baby.
  • Ditch heavy dishware. Jessica Ashley, Shine's Parenting editor, said that casserole dishes were too heavy to pick up with one hand while she was holding her baby. Instead, aluminum pans are light, recyclable, and don't have to be washed.
  • Make sure food is packed in easy-to-store containers for zero-effort clean-up.
  • Vegetables! Parents say that during those crazy first months they didn't get as many as they needed.
  • Don't forget dessert. New parents need chocolate, too. Wrote one mom on Chowhound, "people tend not to give you sweet stuff, but we craved a decent dessert!"

Click here for The Best Meals to Bring New Parents Slideshow

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My favorite, hands-down, is baked oatmeal. Yes, it's a breakfast dish instead of traditional dinner, but that adds a little variety to the menu (brinner isn't a bad thing, right?) It makes wonderful leftovers, easy to reheat-n-eat with one hand, PLUS when made with steel-cut oats it adds a good dose of fiber (helpful for a new mom) and the oats are good for supporting milk production. It's also flexible enough that I can tailor it to the parents' tastes, or those of other kids in the family. What's their favorite dried fruit? Or maybe they'd like chocolate chips on top? etc.

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