What To Cook For A New Mom – 30+ Best Meal Ideas

If a dear friend or loved one just had a baby, hands down the best gift you can give them is food! Easy meals and quick snacks are the most appreciated and most needed gifts you can give to a new mommy after birth to make her life easier. In this article you’ll find out the best ideas what to cook for a new mom.

What To Cook For A New Mom

New moms are sleep deprived, recovering from birth or surgery and have a tiny new baby entirely dependent on them. Having a fridge and freezer stocked full of food is one of the most helpful things you can offer a new parent during those few first weeks of chaos and adjusting to a new baby.

If you’re unsure of what types of food or meal ideas to gift a new mama, then keep reading for a list of great ideas for healthy meals to gift a new mom, as well as what types of foods or meals to avoid.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

Things To Remember When Bringing Meals For A New Mama

First up, is mom breastfeeding? There are some foods she should avoid, in that case.

Second, think about the whole family: the dad/husband, and if this is the first baby, or if there are other kids at home.; send foods that everyone can eat.

It’s okay to ask for specifics! If you’re already messaging mom to ask what time you can drop off a meal, then go ahead and ask if she’s craving anything in particular.

Of course, keep in mind any known food allergies or a gluten intolerance, and plan meals accordingly.


Breastfeeding mamas will expend an extra 300 – 500 calories a day to produce milk, so they will need extra food.

Foods That Increase Milk Production

Look for ingredients that increase milk production, called ‘galactagogues’ (try saying that three times fast!).

Some well-known galactagogues that you can incorporate into favorite recipes include:

  • Sweet potatoes or yams
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Fennel/Fennel seed
  • Oats/oatmeal
  • Lentils
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Fenugreek
  • Pumpkin
  • Sesame seeds
  • Cashews
  • Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
  • Flax Seeds
  • Ginger

Think Beyond The Casserole

I know, I know, casseroles are the traditional “congratulations on your new baby” food, but please hear me out: casseroles aren’t bad, they are just overdone.

It seems every second person sends a prepared casserole (or lasagna… so much lasagna!) for mom to throw in the freezer.

It’s a nice thought, but the problem here is that most casseroles are almost entirely lunch or dinner dishes. A new mom might have a freezer stocked with dinners for the first few weeks after baby arrives, but who wants to eat baked potatoes for breakfast?

What Are The Best Meals For A New Parent?

The best meal ideas for new parents offer a healthy balance of protein, vegetables and/or fruits, and high-fiber carbohydrates for energy (they’re gonna need it!).

This can be a typical family meal with side dishes and a main course, or a delicious quiche, hearty salad or pasta bake.

When you bring food to your best friend who just had a baby, consider different types of meals, not just dinner.

What Food Should I Bring A New Mom? – Best Meal Ideas

Let’s dive into some recipes for delicious food that all new mamas will love. I chose foods that are made from ingredients that are safe for breastfeeding mamas (I’m sure you don’t want to give her newborn baby colic!), as well as safe during postpartum (constipation is the last thing new mama needs!).

Food To Cook For New Mom

Now, this is in no way an exhaustive list; you know your friends the best – what types of foods do they like? You can find recipes online and whip up something quick, easy and freezer-friendly.

I’ve included some food and meal ideas, based on level of cooking effort, but the point here is just to get the ideas rolling.

1. Snacks

Think high-protein when choosing snacks for new parents.

It should be something super easy to grab and go, and not messy (mom might be eating it in bed), or easy to eat one-handed.

  • Snack Mix

A handful of cashew nuts or dried fruit is a great snack for mom.

  • Hummus and pita bread

Taking care to choose a low-garlic hummus, of course.

  • Granola bars

A great way to get oats in a one-handed snack.

  • Smoothie Packs

Give mama all the fruits with delicious smoothie packs.

Simply chop up fruits (strawberries, bananas, mango all freeze well), drop them in a freezer-safe bag and a few dollops of yogurt (greek yogurt has the most protein), and she can make a smoothie whenever she wants.

  • Lactation cookies

Nursing moms love lactation cookies! Here’s a simple recipe from How Sweet Eats.

Ingredients include: flax seeds, oats, and brewer’s yeast for all that galactagogue-goodness.

  • Regular cookies

What if your friend isn’t planning on nursing? Believe me, she’ll still appreciate some cookies… just probably normal ones, without brewer’s yeast in them.

Easiest: Martha Stewart’s Shortbread cookies – With only 4 ingredients, you really can’t mess this up.

More advanced: Brown Butter Pistachio Chocolate Shortbread cookies – Don’t they just sound fancy?

2. Breakfast

Breakfast is often the most forgotten about meal for new moms, but chances are she’s waking daily at 5 or 6 am with a newborn for the first few weeks.

She needs to eat, but she also needs to nap, so having pre-made breakfasts on hand can benefit both mom and baby, at once.

  • Granola + greek yogurt

The easiest breakfast to offer a new mom is granola. The oats are full of fiber, and will help nursing moms, and paired with fresh berries and protien-rich greek yogurt, it’s the perfect breakfast.

If youre’ the baking type, homemade granola is a wonderful breakfast for a new mom friend. Here’s a simple recipe from The Kitchn with step-by-step instructions:

Other great breakfast Ideas:

  • Frozen breakfast sandwiches

Go for egg-and-sausage, egg-and cheese, or egg-and-spinach for a perfect, one-handed breakfast new parents can pop into the microwave and eat within minutes.

  • Baked oatmeal

This pumpkin-baked oatmeal checks several boxes for galactagogues.

  • Blueberry Muffins

This recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction is a winner.

  • Egg casserole or quiche

Loaded with veggies, of course.

  • Fresh fruit

Don’t want to cook? Send over a big bowl of fruit! think peaches, apples and berries which can be eaten right away, without slicing or peeling.

3. Sides

Some of the best dishes to bring aren’t full meals. Sending a family-favorite side dish is just as appreciated, and it allows your friends to piece together their own meal.

This is especially helpful for families with other kiddos. Sides can make an easy meal for parents who need to think about dinner for picky toddlers or older kids.

  • Roasted Vegetables

This is one of my favorite recipes: Twice Baked potato casserole

  • Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potato Cassesrole – It’s not only for Thanksgiving, right? its a classic comfort food, too.

Stir-fried veggies with rice – A great way to get in some fresh ginger. Easily make this a meal with some chicken and it’s a freezer-friendly recipe, too.

Ham and Cheese Pockets – Are they a side dish? A snack? Lunch? I don’t know, but my friends’ kids loved these!

  • Fresh salad

No recipes needed, just chop up some fresh veggies and lettuce, put dressing on the side and serve fresh.

4. Main course

Friends, this is what you came for: the main course, probably dinner, am I right?

Yes, casseroles are allowed (I’ve included some popular recipes), but you can also send a main course with a side so the new parents can mix-and-match to create their own favorite meal.

  • Favorite meals to bring to mom:

Shredded Pork BBQ for sliders – Make sure to send buns along with this dinner.

Sweet-and-sour Meatballs – Pairs well with white rice and stir-fried vegetables.

Sloppy Joes – Send with potato wedges and fresh buns for a full meal.

5. Soup

Did you know that soup is actually a traditional first post-baby meal for moms around the world? Soup is not only the perfect comfort food, but its also a great way to give mom necessary vitamins and nutrients essential for postpartum recovery, all with lots and lots of water (staying well-hydrated is a big deal for nursing moms).

Another reason soup is a great go-to-meal for a new mom is because all of these soups can be prepared in a slow cooker.

  • Soup Ideas

Creamy vegetable – Easy to make and full of healthy veggies.

Loaded potato – Swap the chicken stock for water and omit the bacon bits to make this a vegetarian option.

Chicken noodle – The ultimate comfort food, the Damn Delicious recipe is a real winner.

6. Chicken

Parents and kids love quick and easy chicken dishes. They also make good leftovers, paired with salad or a wrap for multiple meals.

Marinated Chicken – Teryiaki, honey-mustard, barbecue or lemon-ginger, the options are really endless here. Chicken is easily frozen, and when its ready for cooking, can be baked in the oven, cooked on the stove top or prepared in the slow cooker.

Chicken fajitas – this one is best as a fresh, warm meal, instead of a freezer-meal.

Chicken Enchilada casserole – If your new mama likes Mexican food, this is a great choice.

One-pan Roasted Chicken and vegetables is an easy crowd pleaser for big families.

7. Other Recipes

Mushroom Enchilada Casserole

Vegetarian Baked Ziti

Baked Penne Pasta – use beef or Italian sausage.

Coconut Lentil Curry – great with naan bread or rice.

No Culinary Experience? Don’t worry!

So you’re inept in the kitchen? That’s okay, some of the best meals to bring a new mom are a fruit salad or a fresh salad – and both are hands-off cooking, yay!

Frozen pizza has never been a bad choice, either.

What food to bring for new mom

Gift Cards

Another option is a gift card for a local restaurant. One day, when they want to treat themselves, the new parents can order take-out or delivery and be so very grateful!


Don’t forget about something to drink! Nursing moms are constantly thirsty, so juice is always appreciated.

Steer clear of coffee and teas (caffeine intake should be in moderation, but always let your sleep-deprived friends decide for themselves).

What Food NOT To Send To A New Mom

There are some healthy foods that should be avoided during the postpartum period, because they could give mama or baby gas.

Gas is terrible for nursing babies, and so uncomfortable when you’re healing in those early weeks postpartum.

Gas-Inducing Foods To Avoid

  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Beans / baked beans (reach for lentils, instead)

Other Ingredients To Avoid

  • Lots of garlic

I didn’t say all garlic, just avoid lots. So, garlic moderation, okay? (Pasta without garlic in the tomato sauce? I can’t imagine!)

For a new parent, please go easy on the garlic. Large amounts of garlic can be transferred in the breastmilk and new babies might refuse to nurse.

  • Chocolate

If your friend has a sweet tooth, just keep in mind that chocolate acts as a laxative for babies. New moms can eat some chocolate, but they should go easy. Again, in moderation.

  • Some types of fish

Makerel, tuna and sword fish are all high in mercury, which can easily be passed to baby through breastmilk. Nursing moms should eat shrimp or salmon, instead.

  • Peppermint

Breastfeeding mamas should avoid peppermint, as it is suggested to reduce milk supply. Don’t bring dessert with peppermint in it.

More Tips For Sending Food To Friends Who Just Had A Baby

If you’re wondering what are the things new moms need for themselves and you’re unsure what to buy, bringing food for new mama is definitely a great (and safe) option! But there are a few things that you should keep in mind if you want to send food to new parents.

  • Don’t send meals that need additional ingredients or toppings

If you want to send over your favorite meals to a friend or family member, then send all the ingredients needed; salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, etc.

  • What to give INSTEAD: bring meals with all ingredients included

Even if it’s a fresh salad, send a favorite salad dressing to accompany it! Your mom friend will thank you.

  • Don’t give meals with complicated cooking instructions

New moms do not have time for saute-ing or braising anything. Time-intensive dishes will likely not be appreciated by new mamas. Only send meals that are convenient and quick to cook.

On that note; prepare and chop all the vegetables and meat before hand. That way, it can seamlessly go from freezer to oven.

  • Write any baking instructions directly on the item

Put the instructions right on top of the dish. Either write in marker, or tape the instructions down so they won’t get lost.

A new mom will likely not remember if its 275 or 350 degrees for baking, so make it easy for her and write it down all the baking instructions: baking temperature, baking time, and any additional ingredients or toppings (which you sent alone with the dish, right?).

  • Don’t expect your containers back

Please, keep your favorite ceramic baking dish or containers at home, and send food in something disposable.

  • Send disposable pans

We all like to reuse and recycle, but when you’re keeping a new baby alive, you get a free pass on washing dishes.

It’s always appreciated to send meals to new parents in disposable pans or containers they can keep. Aluminum pans are strong enough to go straight fro the freezer to the oven – a great idea for bringing food like roasted chicken or enchilada casserole.

Please keep in mind that this article IS NOT a medical advice or dietary advice. The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for consultation with a doctor. Always consult your health concerns and decisions with your doctor. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.

About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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