So your best friend has just had a baby and you're desperate for a cuddle and a chance to catch up, but there's much more you can do for a new mum (and dad) than just enjoy tea and coo over the newborn.
A new baby is tiny, sweet and a blessing but they're also very tiring, cry a lot and the poo goes everywhere. Your friend is bound to be knackered after being up all night and there are a few things you can do which will really help.
1. Food Everyone brings a gift when they arrive for their visit from gorgeous clothes to fluffy teddy bears. The gift I appreciated most was food. Shopping, cooking and washing up are all extra jobs you'd rather not do when you've been up all night. Take a meal all ready to cook and preferably one that can be eaten one handed. Even if you're not a great cook, a pizza will do. One of my best friends went one step further and arranged a rota with a group of friends to have a dinner delivered to me each night for the first week after my husband went back to work. A husband would appear with a hot dinner and put it in my oven, ready to eat when we had time.
2. Washing Nobody told me just how much washing would be involved with a newborn. I assumed that there would be a few extra clothes to be done but they're small aren't they? Babies poo and wee a lot and it seems to escape from the nappy at just the wrong times. While you're visiting, put on a load of washing and perhaps bring some stain remover too. My mum is great at helping out and I was so pleased to have a plentiful supply of clean clothes. Along the lines of washing, helping with a quick tidy up, hoover and cleaning makes a difference but remember some people might take offence so ask first.
3. Compliments What you really want to hear when you still have a baby belly and dark circles under your eyes, is that you're doing well and look great. Compliments go a long way to making you feel good. Advice and ideas to try with the baby is fine but tread gently. All babies are different and well meaning comments are not always appreciated.
4. Toddler Time If your friend already has an older child, why not offer to look after their toddler for a couple of hours so they can get some rest or focus on the baby? I have a very active two year old and he loved getting 100% attention at a time when everyone is usually focused on the baby.
It doesn't feel like it, but newborns do actually sleep a lot. The thing is the sleep in short bursts and it felt to me that this was usually during the day when people were visiting. I remember first time around my gorgeous little bundle fell into a contented sleep while my in-laws were visiting. My mother-in-law kindly kept an eye on him while I was able to go to bed for an hour. The gift of sleep is the best of all.