1. Nutritious nibbles.
The beef stroganoff from a hospital cafeteria may leave something to be desired, so if you're visiting the new parents there, Landon's top tip is to bring food or drinks from the outside world. Once the baby heads home, organize a meal train so you and others can take turns cooking meals, or drop off a baked pasta or casserole that can be easily frozen or reheated. If you don't have time for that, send them a gift card for some popular food delivery services in the area. Other ideas: "It would have been nice to have pre-chopped fruits and vegetables, lactation cookies, frozen smoothie packets, or frozen meals that were easy to pull out," Julie says. "Or a cute water bottle or tumbler with a metal straw and some flavor packets—something to replace those ugly, plastic water bottles from the hospital."
2. The gift of time.
Offer to run an errand for them or, if the new mom is comfortable with it, hold the baby for an hour or two so they can do something that they need to do (such as take a much-needed shower) or just to take some me-time (like heading out solo for a manicure). If the baby has older siblings who are rambunctious, offer to take them to a park to give them some peace and quiet with the newborn. You can also offer to hire professional cleaners to make the house shine, or even just take a few minutes to do any dishes in their sink and wipe down counters yourself.
3. A self-care basket.
It's tough for postpartum women to take proper care of themselves when they have to focus so much of their attention on the new baby. Help a mama out by providing her with a fun basket of goodies that could include: scented hand lotion, dry shampoo ("because you might not feel like jumping in the shower," Julie says), a hair accessory, lip balm, Preparation H ointment (because hello, hemorrhoids), a gift card to a streaming service, nipple cream (if she's nursing), comfy high-rise underwear (that won't irritate her scar if she's had a c-section), and her favorite coffee grounds or tea bags.