Food gifts for friend with a newborn + gestational diabetes.
November 10, 2014 12:01 PM   Subscribe

A dear friend of mine is likely to have a baby this week. She's just today been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I would love to help her and her husband out specifically by bringing them food to eat/freeze for when everyone's home from the hospital. However, I am a) clueless about baby things, b) clueless about how gestational diabetes complicates this picture.

My friend, being so newly diagnosed, does not yet know this stuff either, and she's so caught up with everything else going on that I expect my eventual request for her dietary restrictions (I will, of course, ask them for their doctor's food guidelines!) will get lost in the hubbub. So what can I plan to make for them that will, in all likelihood, be good, healthy, supportive food that she'll want to eat and that will freeze/keep well? Unfreezables are great, too - I live a block over and would be psyched to bring a fresh meal over to them at times, if they're receptive - but I expect things they can just pick up off the doorstep and throw in the freezer for dealing with later will be the gold standard.

(I realize there have been previous AskMe's about gestational diabetes & food, but hearkening back to my statement about being clueless, these have generally been for people who are still pregnant and I have no clue if or how her food requirements may change after delivery. Please forgive any ignorance on my part - way, way out of my depth here!)
posted by AthenaPolias to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Once the baby is born, generally the crisis is over for the mother. Babies born to moms with gestational diabetes are usually bigger than normal babies, so your friend might be pretty sore.

You'll be safe with carbs on the low end of the glycemic index and meat. Beans, lentils, split peas.

I went and stocked up with nice homemade meals, salads, specialties breads, etc. Good quality salad dressings, pre-made salads, fruit, coffee cream, coffee and sugar. (The coffee is VITAL!)

Stews and soups would be ideal for your purposes. Easy to re-heat, will sit in the fridge. Good stuff.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:18 PM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I had gestational diabetes in both of my pregnanices (though it was detected a lot earlier, not at the very end like your friend's) - it went away the day the baby was born. That's why it's called gestational. It was like magic!
posted by Dragonness at 12:19 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Gestational diabetes usually resolves within the first few days after delivery, so you should be all clear there. As to what to make for the newborn period, focus on things that take no prep for the parent. Things to make yummy sandwiches; soups/caseroles that are frozen in single servings so they're easy to heat up; fruit that you can grab and eat or that is already washed and cut; cheese (especially gooey soft cheese you can't eat while you're pregnant!) are some things that I totally appreciated right after I had my first. A friend also sent a rotisserie chicken along with prepped sides. That was awesome.
posted by goggie at 12:19 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

You really can't go wrong with meat and vegetables. Unless she's vegetarian, of course.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:20 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was dying for carbs. If anyone had brought me meat and vegetables I would have cried. (I mean, not really, I would have said thank you, but then I would have sent my husband out for bread.) I have never in my life been so happy to see a frozen lasagna.

Just bring her the regular food you'd bring anyone who is in a situation where they are hungry and having trouble cooking for themselves, is what I'm saying. Gift cards for takeout are also a great idea.
posted by xeney at 12:27 PM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I had gestational diabetes, and yes, after the baby arrived, the diabetes went away.

Definitely +1 for freezeable servings for one or two people. I didn't like huge casserole trays in my fridge, and we never ate all of whatever was in that huge pan.

Pasta bakes with cheese, chicken with rice casseroles, King Ranch Chicken (, sliced up fruit, crudites... Anything that doesn't require balancing on a plate while recovering from a c-section or while trying to eat while nursing the baby.
posted by msladygrey at 12:33 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yep, just whatever food she loves that goes well in the freezer. (I dealt with a borderline GD diagnosis for 5 months and all wanted was a hot fudge sundae.) GD ends with birth, when the placenta is passed the hormones that cause GD go away. Honestly, if she's due to give birth this week anyhow, she's will probably be on a low glycemic index diet for only a few days at most.

More about gestational diabetes here.

However, whatever you make, take my advice and package it up as single servings. And if you live close by, schedule times to come over and sit with the baby so she can do things like take a shower, nap, and actually eat the food!

Congrats to your friend.
posted by anastasiav at 12:33 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh! And if you are feeling super generous? A gift card/certificate for a local cleaning service, especially if she ends up recovering from a c-section.
posted by msladygrey at 12:34 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Crepes freeze wonderfully -- put a circle of waxed paper inbetween each, stack them up, slide them in a freezer bag -- and are good plain, and as vehicles for other foods.
posted by kmennie at 12:44 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not an entree, but in addition: these lactation cookies are super yummy. They're like oatmeal cookies times ten. They freeze well, too.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:11 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had gestational diabetes and it was over after delivery. So it may well be for your friend, it is only a very small percentage who continues to be diabetic.

I did so enjoy the meals my friends brought, I think it is the best gift you can make her. I did not care what it was they brought as long as it was easy to reheat and enough for husband and myself.
If she continues to be diabetic, meals that do not mix the carbohydrates in with the rest will be easier for her to measure (eg. rice and veggies - keep the rice separate, or if you make stew with starchy vegs like potato keep the potatoes separate).

Often women who breastfeed are very careful of their diet and eg. avoid spices, so if your friend breastfeeds you might want to ask if there is something she is trying to avoid eating. Or just not bring something very spicey.
But I would be careful about not asking her too many questions about this right now - the gestational diabetes is enough hassle and one week before birth I had no real clue if it might go away and about how or if breastfeeding might work.
posted by 15L06 at 1:17 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

The lactation cookies are delicious and effective, but probably not something you want to eat when your milk's just coming in. It's likely that she'll already be engorged and uncomfortable. Increasing supply before the supply has stabilized isn't likely to have happy results.
posted by Kriesa at 1:28 PM on November 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

Bring casserole that can be put in fridge and reheated. Something really good and hardy because she will be HUNGRY!!
posted by Toddles at 1:40 PM on November 10, 2014

I would advice against anything that causes gas (beans, lentils, lots of onions, etc) for now, if only for the discomfort it might bring to someone who just gave birth. This times a hundred if she ends up having a c-section.

I would recommend some chicken soup with vegetables and a little bit of rice or pasta. Almost definetly ok for her nutritional needs (I had some sort of Pre-diabetes for both my pregnancies) and is good comfort food for new mom and dad.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 1:50 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wanted to second the comment about about a cleaning service -- or, if you feel like you're a close enough friend, offering to come over a few times to do some cleaning for her yourself. A friend of mine had a difficult pregnancy/birth, and once the baby came she said me coming over and cleaning was the lifesaver for her (pretty minor -- basically just some vacuuming, sweeping, a few loads of laundry, and loading/unloading the diswasher). Lots of people brought food, and lots of people wanted to come and hold the baby, but not many people wanted to vacuum. :) (Of course, food and baby-holding are also great! But cleaning seems be be in lesser supply so it can be a nice thing to add if you're able to.)
posted by rainbowbrite at 2:03 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, these suggestions are wonderful - thanks, everyone! Please keep them coming - especially specific recipes. And thanks for the corrections re: gestational diabetes. I went to her last doctor's appointment with her and she was told none of what you've all just told me. She's been thinking worst-case scenario, and her stress coupled with my lack of any useful baby knowledge showed in this question! I'll be visiting her tomorrow, though, and you've all helped me contextualize what's up and what may be best for her (that is, what to offer at the right time), food-wise and non.

Lobster Mitten - thanks for the lactation cookies! What a great idea. And rainbowbrite - happy to vacuum! I'll ask :)
posted by AthenaPolias at 3:05 PM on November 10, 2014

Quiche. Easy to make, good hot or cold, and, you can put almost anything in it
posted by SobaFett at 5:58 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm very late to the party, but if she's planning on breastfeeding I would avoid things with sage, oregano, and peppermint.

posted by peasandcarrots at 8:39 AM on November 21, 2014

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