20 ways to help a new mom

Best friend had a baby? Spoil a new mom with these tips and gifts she'll appreciate.

By Ann Douglas

Offer great food and great advice

So your friend has just had a baby. This is your chance to shine as a friend -- to show your love in countless ways. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.

1. Do some batch cooking for your friend's freezer. Label each entrée and include a copy of the recipe in case she wants to replicate some of your culinary creations down the road. Better yet, get a group of your mutual friends together and do this as a group. The more friends, the more fun -- and the more entrées.

2. Gather up a bunch of menus from healthy take-out restaurants in the area (ideally ones that deliver, too). Treat your friend to a gift certificate from your favourite one.

3. Offer to serve the family "breakfast in bed" one weekend morning. Show up at the agreed-upon hour with a picnic basket full of freshly baked muffins, homemade fruit salad, coffee in a thermos (decaf or regular, depending on their preference), and other delicious breakfast fare. If the family is sleeping in because baby has given them a welcome sleep reprieve, let yourself in and leave the picnic basket in the hall outside the bedroom. They'll find it when they're ready to start their day.

4. Give a first-time mom an index card box full of great advice. Ask a bunch of her friends to contribute their best tips in a variety of different categories that will apply to her life as a new mom (e.g., sleep, feeding, and baby-soothing). Include lots of extra index cards and dividers so that she can continue to add her own tips over time.

5. Get the lowdown on the best Internet destinations for each stage of motherhood. Then add them to the bookmarks section of your friend's browser.

6. Find out where and when the moms in her neighbourhood get together. Is there a Friday morning playgroup at someone's house or does everyone converge on the local coffee shop?

7. Remind your friend perfection is not a prerequisite for motherhood. That kind of thinking went out with gelatin salads. Reinforce the message by passing along a humorous book about motherhood. (You can't have enough of those kinds of books.)

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