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How to Support New Parents: Meal Train Edition

May 22, 2023

Amanda Nelson is the Advocacy Communications Manager at Owlet. She is passionate about making an impact and draws inspiration from her own journey as a mother of two.

We were three weeks into life with a newborn and a four-year old boy when my friend texted me letting me know that another friend had organized a meal train from across the country. Apparently a handful of friends and family signed up to bring us meals in the wake of the birth of our daughter.

Friends from afar opted for DoorDash gift cards, which were gladly welcomed as we got our bearings about us.

Some brought homemade dinners.

One girlfriend brought me coffee... a true blessing after a string of sleepless nights.

As a mom, I want nothing more than to take care of my family, no matter the circumstances. We’ve all been there. When your kid brings home a cold from school, you know full well it’s only a matter of days before you get it too. But you still pour your heart into nurturing your baby back to health. It’s second nature.

Before both of our babies were born, I spent a full day meal-prepping crockpot freezer meals—easy frozen meals that quite literally just need to be thrown into a crockpot to produce an average-tasting but healthy meal. It was important to me to know that I could still take care of my family despite being knee-deep into navigating our new life.

If taking care of my family is instinctual, asking for help is completely unnatural. I truly didn’t understand the concept of “the village” after our first born in hindsight because I wouldn’t allow myself to need it.

How to Set Up a Meal Train

Enter the meal train. A friend offered to email family and friends on behalf of us, asking them to provide a meal for us in the weeks after our daughter was born. She gave drop-off instructions and dietary restrictions and offered my husband’s phone number as a point person for drop-offs so that I would not be overwhelmed. It wasn’t an invitation to come and see the baby; rather, an invitation to support me and my family as I took care of our new baby.

Helpful Meal Train Considerations

One of the hardest parts about welcoming our second child was feeling like I didn’t have time for our first. Our son was the center of our universe for four and a half years before his sister joined us, and he was very accustomed to our undivided attention. Not being able to give that to him was a big adjustment for all of us and with that came incredible guilt for me.

So, when my girlfriend texted and asked what my son’s favorite fruit was, I was really touched. She told me she was bringing homemade gluten-free pasta, salad, snacks, dessert, and fruit, and didn’t plan to stop or intrude.

Later that week, she dropped these goodies on our porch and there on top of the bag were strawberries that she had washed and cut for my son. This extra gesture brought me to tears. She got it.

Motherhood Takes a Village

We are tired. Our bones ache. Our hormones are all over the place and in some cases, we are healing from C-sections or physically challenging labors. We are strangers in our new bodies, and we can’t wait to fast forward to the nights where everyone sleeps while simultaneously wanting to stop time and savor all the newborn cuddles.

We are mamas and in the simple gesture of washed and cut fruit, I learned that the village is all around us – it’s in the form of other mamas who are willing and able to take care of each other's babies if we simply allow it.

Author Bio

Amanda Nelson

Amanda is the Advocacy Communications Manager for Owlet's Owlet Cares program which supports our overall mission to reach every baby and every parent through advocacy, charitable and research initiatives that support families and communities. She is passionate about making an impact and draws inspiration from her own journey as a mother of two.