Welcome to the world, Baby LQF! New parents Z & M joined the ranks of parenthood last week and though Z & M have a whole gaggle of family and friends clamoring to meet the new baby, I already have my contribution to their first week home in the bag.
My daughter is now coming up on three years old, but I vividly remember that first week at home. The sleep deprivation, the uncertainty, the joy, the terror, all of those sweet “firsts,” the days on end in sweatpants … But I also remember the gift that a friend of our family gave us that will go down in history as THE BEST THING EVER GIVEN TO ME. A friend of my mother’s delivered a plastic cooler to our front porch the day we got home and then proceeded to stock it with delicious meals all week, never knocking and never coming in. We were told when to expect food and were instructed to leave the dishes in the cooler to be retrieved. I was in NO shape for visitors or cooking, so it was a lifesaver. Our friend became known to us as the “Food Fairy” and I owe her my eternal gratitude.
Since then, I’ve had a handful of good friends who’ve had babies and each time, I’ve played Food Fairy. It’s the best gift I can think to give and it’s an easy way to take care of a family who are just getting used to being a family. Each time, I’ve refined what I bring and what I do to fit the family’s needs, but the basic gist of it is as follows:
- Delivery of dinner, as well as breakfast and lunch for the following day, during late afternoon for three days. (I sneak up and leave the food as quietly as possible. I never knock and I tell my friends pretty firmly that I don’t need to be invited in, there’s plenty of time to meet their bundle later. My job is to be the secret agent of homemade food delivery.)
- A few custom onesies, because you can never have enough clean onesies when it comes to infants.
- My all-time favorite burp clothes: soft, super absorbent, and bleachable to get rid of stains.
- Lactation cookies, if the new mom is planning on nursing. (They’re just oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with brewer’s yeast and flax seed meal — good for nursing moms, but totally fine for everyone to consume. Tasty, too.)
As for what kind of food I include in my deliveries, here’s a rundown of a typical drop-off of dinner + breakfast + lunch:
- Pasta Primavera: This is the BEST. Don’t let the “vegan” part fool you. It’s gotten universal rave reviews from everyone.
- Homemade granola (I make mine from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook), berry and greek yogurt parfaits in mason jars OR steel-cut oatmeal with an add-on buffet of dried cherries, brown sugar, toasted almonds, etc.
- Kitchen sink salad, which is my favorite thing ever and includes: baby spinach, cooked tri-color tortellini, chopped carrots, cucumbers, dried cherries, spiced walnuts, fresh bacon crumbles, feta cheese and my favorite vinaigrette.
For more great advice on how to be the BEST FRIEND EVER to new parents, check out “How To Help A New Mom” by Roo Ciambriello from Neon Fresh. Roo is awesome and hilarious and #5 is the truest thing ever written on the internet. Roo’s excellent post came too late for my own bleary-eyed, stumbling first week home, otherwise I would have proactively sent it out to family and friends as explicit instructions. But if we ever have a #2, now you all know what’s expected. (Stand down, friends and family — not happening anytime soon.)