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Having gluten-free Food Brought Over Postpartum
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Hi all,

I'm expecting my first baby in January. I do all the cooking in our household (my husband is in grad school, and has very little time these days. Plus, he kinda sucks at cooking...). I know I'm looking a bit far into the future, but I am worrying about how to deal w/ people bringing food/offering to bring food over once I have my baby. We don't have a lot of freezer space, otherwise I would just pre-make a million meals to reheat and eat. I do plan on doing as much of that as I can. But I'm assuming most of the food we eat once our baby gets here will either have to be freshly prepared, or provided by others. I have a decent network of people (church community, family, friends) who I'm sure will offer to bring stuff over.

My question is, how do I ensure that I am not getting food that's going to make me sick? #1 - How do I deal w/ cross contamination issues from those not familiar w/ gluten-free cooking?! #2 - I have multiple foods I am intolerant to, so even if they get the gluten-free concept, how do I convey that I ALSO can't eat any dairy, beans, potatoes, onions, etc.

I don't know if I should just make some sort of blanket statement (post on FB/my blog/make handouts for anyone who offers food) saying, "These are the things I can't eat, and these are some ways to avoid making me sick." I suppose I could provide a list of ideas of things that we like/can eat that are simple enough to prepare...

Or should I just gratefully accept the meals, and if I feel like it's trustworthy, eat it, otherwise, let my hubby take care of it? The main issue w/ that is, he's slightly picky...so if it's not something that fits into his "comfort" zone, he won't eat it, and it will just go to waste.

Or do I just plan on making all of our food once the baby arrives?

I don't want to seem ungrateful or entitled by asking so much of people. I don't want to offend anyone who is obviously trying to help me out. But I also don't want their efforts to be wasted, if I can provide a way to make it beneficial for both them and my family.

Any suggestions, advice, and/or comfort would be much appreciated :)

Thanks!!

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In my case, I asked people not to bring over food, unless it was prepackaged gluten free stuff (like Udi's bread or muffins). You do NOT want to have a glutening right after having a baby. Childbirth does enough of a doozy on your intestines, and you don't want to encourage anything "on that end" immediately afterwards! Not to mention you need to regain a lot of spent energy after the process, and need to be able to sleep and spend time with baby, and not do much of anything else. It's just not worth the risk.

You can ask instead that people come over and help out around the house. Ask them, instead of a food delivery calendar lasting the first month, that they come over and do chores (clean dishes, do laundry, clean toilets) and so on. Or even just hold baby while you sleep.

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Yes, I definitely agree with declining any and all food except maybe pre-packaged gluten free. I don't trust anyone without Celiac to grasp the concept of cross contamination no matter how well intentioned they are. They would use their gluteny pans to cook your gluten free food. I usually tell them that if they have ever used wheat flour in their kitchen then the food wouldn't be safe for me. I use this when people offer or insist that they want to cook or bake gluten free for me and it usually ends there. But you could just say we are sorry that we won't be able to accept any offers of food due to our food sensitivities, however, we would welcome help with A,B,and C. That covers Celiac AND your husband being choosy. :D

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Do you have friends or family near you who might have a bit of extra freezer space so you could prepare a few meals in advance and have a place to store them until needed?

Also if you have a crock pot, you could plan some simple easy meals, prep them in the morning and let them simmer away all day so dinner would be a minimal effort.

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What if you were to have people come to cook with your ingredients in your kitchen?

I know all of those feelings your having. Now, I have children that can cook for me in a pinch. That has worked the best of anything since my first daughter was about 6 years old. I would lay on the counter and tell her how to do it. A couch in the kitchen would have been nice.

Diana

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I wouldn't let them feed me. I like the idea of them helping with chores.

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I'm just curious if this is a regional thing since people where I live wouldn't even think of bringing meals over, when a person comes home with a new baby people will bring over outfits or other necessities for the baby and if there was an older sibling they would bring a toy or other little something. Also (again maybe a regional thing???) if there were an announcement like that that kind of makes it sound like you are expecting people to bring stuff and that could be considered extremely offensive.

Like I said some of this maybe regional, I live in the NE now and when I had my oldest moved right away to GA and while I have heard of people bringing food and all I have never seen it in practice. Either way congrats on the little one and hope that everything goes smoothly for you.

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At least here in the NW, it seems pretty common. It is NOT expected based on an announcement at all! (Not to mention the announcement goes out to A LOT more people than you'd want to bring you food.) I know some churches do this just as a matter of course (people want to chip in), but even without churches, often friends' groups will organize it.

I wanted to add - I have a few set of friends that I do let cook for me. They do get it, and are not offended at all if I do a last minute "can I check those ingredients? oh, I can't have this afterall." But I still wouldn't let them cook for me (certainly at their houses) during this time. I didn't have the energy to check labels and this is a time where the relative "cost" of getting glutened is much higher than at other times.

A lot of people brought us just plain fruit. That was super awesome!

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At least here in the NW, it seems pretty common. It is NOT expected based on an announcement at all! (Not to mention the announcement goes out to A LOT more people than you'd want to bring you food.) I know some churches do this just as a matter of course (people want to chip in), but even without churches, often friends' groups will organize it.

That answers my question then, thank you. I find it very interesting how actions can be interpreted so many different ways depending on where you live.

Again OP congrats.

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Glad you brought this up - and congrats! :) We're due in early November!

We're fortunate that we have a chest freezer in our basement, so we can pre-make and freeze a lot of meals.

It's helpful to hear other suggestions for people who want to help out though. We don't have any family here, so if friends want to help out I like the idea of asking them to bring pre-packaged food specifically labelled gluten-free, or to offer other ways of helping (clothing donations, helping with a cleaning task, or just visiting and watching baby while I rest).

It's a touchy one because I certainly don't want to seem ungrateful if people do bring food, but it's definitely not worth the risk of getting sick when there will already be SO much going on and my body will already be exhausted and trying to heal.

Best wishes!

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When I had babies, the neighbors brought food.

i was thinking of some things I would have felt comfortable letting the neighbors do:

watch baby so I could shower in peace

run an errand (have a stash of cash to send with them)

drive me and baby for a brief erand so I could get out

walk the dog

vacuum

baby laundry

take other kids out to play

play with baby while I cooked or put away groceries

unload dishwasher

wash my car

yard work

take car to Jiffy lube

visit and talk about the world outside

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Thank you so much for posting this question! I've been starting to wonder the same thing! I'm due in December, and I just know lots of very well meaning people, especially from church, are going to insist on bringing meals and want to set up a meal calendar because it's just what they do when someone has a baby. In my case that could work out alright for my husband and two boys to eat (they are not gluten free), but then I still need to make myself something that is safe.

Are there any restaurants in your area that you trust? Maybe you could ask that several people chip in for a gift certificate instead? That way you could also use it for take-out or something and on a night when you really might be extra tired.

I also like the idea of asking for only prepackaged gluten free food.

Good luck to you and Congratulations!

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Do you have friends or family near you who might have a bit of extra freezer space so you could prepare a few meals in advance and have a place to store them until needed?

Also if you have a crock pot, you could plan some simple easy meals, prep them in the morning and let them simmer away all day so dinner would be a minimal effort.

you beat me to it, lol. Make your own and "rent" freezer space. Then they can return your own homemade stuff in series....everybody gets to "bring" something, and YOU are safe.

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I would just tell people not to bring food over at all. Nobody brought me any food after I had my baby. My mom did offer to cook a meal when we first got home. She said she would make anything I wanted. Knowing what a lousy cook my mom is, I bought a jar of cheese sauce and some pasta. Asked her to fix that.

I did find that I mainly didn't eat too much at first after I had the baby. She was a very fussy baby. I wasn't producing enough milk and I was forced to supplement. We didn't find out about her food intolerances until she was 6 but milk and soy were among them.

Mostly I had to make do with whatever foods I could grab quickly when I was home alone with her. That would be some cut up raw veggies, a piece of cheese, cereal in a bag. I realize that you can't eat all of these things. But what you should do is stock your kitchen with whatever kind of grab and go type things you can eat just in case you get a baby like mine. Or you might be lucky and have a baby that actually naps!

Once my husband got home, I had no trouble making a quick meal for us. I would have him watch her while I made the food. Then he would eat. Then he would watch her again while I ate and cleaned up the kitchen. You learn to do things very quickly when you have a baby.

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I'm just curious if this is a regional thing since people where I live wouldn't even think of bringing meals over, when a person comes home with a new baby people will bring over outfits or other necessities for the baby and if there was an older sibling they would bring a toy or other little something. Also (again maybe a regional thing???) if there were an announcement like that that kind of makes it sound like you are expecting people to bring stuff and that could be considered extremely offensive.

Like I said some of this maybe regional, I live in the NE now and when I had my oldest moved right away to GA and while I have heard of people bringing food and all I have never seen it in practice. Either way congrats on the little one and hope that everything goes smoothly for you.

I had my baby on Cape Cod. I have also lived in CA, PA, NY, KS and here in WA. Now granted we did have a lot of relatives in KS and they would help with the cooking. So that might be the difference. But really I have only ever heard of the food thing online.

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Meals aren't the done thing over this way either. I would highly recommend a small bar-fridge sized upright freezer, it will come in so handy after you have a baby. I use mine all the time, it's where I keep all the pre-prepared meals and each drawer has different things in it. They are not expensive, and our power bill has remained the same. I bought mine for under $400 when my daughter was about 3 and she's 9 now, no sign of it needing to be replaced any time soon either.

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Thank you all so much for your feedback! This has given me some great ideas. I don't think we have the money or room for an extra freezer right now, but I'm sure my in-laws, who live nearby, would be willing to share some freezer space! Great idea, I will plan on making some meals for them to store. I have also heard of people preparing food to throw into the crock-pot, and freezing it in a gallon ziplock bag. I think I am going to try a few of those meals as well.

For those questioning the regional food-giving thing, yes, out here in Utah it is twofold - we've got a lot of Mormon neighbors and friends, and that is a common thing. The church also organizes things like this that help out families going through diffulties, and for many people, making an extra plate of whatever they're preparing for their own family's dinner is quite common. It also seemed pretty common when I was growing up in Portland, OR.

I think that for those who do insist on bringing something over, I will have a little list of our favorite fruits/fresh food, gluten-free pre-packaged goods, and favorite restaurants for gift cards.

Thanks again! You are all great! I feel SO much better about this now :D

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The ladies at my church always cook for people who have had surgery, death, sickness, baby, just anything- and they offered to cook for our family for two full weeks....I kindly asked them not too.They understood and offered to get us gift cards for the baby instead. I am scared enough about being in the hospital and all. What am I suppose to eat????

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I am scared enough about being in the hospital and all. What am I suppose to eat????

Assuming you know your hospital, I would make an appointment with the dietician and let her know your due date and discuss it with her, and then alert the admitting clerk to contact the dietician when you are admitted. I lucked out when I was hospitalized this summer that the dietician was a celiac :D but you still have to watch out for the kitchen :rolleyes:

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