What Food Should I Bring (Long-Distance!) To a New Mom?

Good Questions

Q: Within the next week my sister and her husband are expecting their first child and I will be an aunt! We will be going to visit her and her new family the Friday after Thanksgiving and staying the weekend (in a hotel). I would like to take her food, but I have two problems:

1. I've never had a baby before and don't know what type of food/meals are appreciated so soon after a little one arrives. 2. Whatever I make has to survive a 6-hour car ride; I'm hesitant to cook/bake at their house.

Do you or anyone else have any suggestions?

Sent by Liz

Editor: Liz, first of all, congratulations! The first baby in my husband's family is due within the next few weeks, so I am also feeling the eager anticipation of becoming an aunt. And, like you, we live about six hours away from the expectant couple, so taking meals is problematic.

Fortunately you (and me!) are in a great place to provide a lot of goodies and snacks that are often neglected in the traditional round of meals sent to new families. Usually a family will receive a couple weeks' worth of meals from friends and family, and these generally take the form of lasagna, lasagna, chicken potpie, lasagna. Lots of full and heavy meals — which are great (and good to freeze) but they miss the overwhelming snacking needs of a new nursing mom.

Nursing mothers are hungry all the time, and with a particular sharpness and urgency that isn't really normal at other times of life! They also get very thirsty, especially during nursing itself. It's great to have meals for dinner, but what about lunch, as Elizabeth noted here? Or breakfast? Or all the times in between?

So my suggestion would be to really stock your sister up on homemade cookies, granola, granola bars, a big bowl of cheese cubes, and fruit salad. Take her a case of her favorite lemonade or sparkling water. Try to think of snacks she would enjoy — and that she can eat one-handed, in the middle of the night! And don't forget about the sweets; the BEST thing we ever took to new parents (they told us anyways) was a big roll of frozen cookie dough!

Here's a rundown of some good snacks and sweets that would store well for a car trip.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Monster Cookies (pictured above)
Olive Oil Granola
Granola with Almonds, Apricots, Cranberries, and Pineapple
Crunchy Granola Bars
DIY Nutri-Grain Fruit and Nut Bars
Granola Bars and Other Quick Snacks
Veggies Stored In Dip
Milk and Honey Peanut Butter Balls
Edna Lewis' Old-Fashioned Cheese Straws
Pickled Carrots
15 Great Lunchbox Snacks

OK, that's our answer. Readers? More thoughts?

More meals for sharing:
Meals for New Moms: Make Lunch!
On Cooking For a New Mom and Dad
Good Question: Cooking for a New Mom
Hospitality: What Meals Do You Take to Friends?
MealBaby: Making it Easier to Share Meals

(Image: Faith Durand)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.