One thing I hear the most from parents who had or have a newborn is the lack of support they feel in the first couple of months. When I didn't have children, I did not know how to be there for my friends with babies. Honestly, I had no clue what women went through in those first couple of weeks. Sometimes there is little that can be done with the baby (as a friend or family member) especially if the baby is breastfeeding but there are other ways to show support. Some new mom's aren't ready for visitors and thats ok! There are still other ways to help! If you're reading this then your heart is already in the right place.
Don't ask, just do.Those first couple of weeks are a blur for new parents. I would hear "let me know if theres anything I can do to help" very often. That sounds nice but a mom with a newborn isn't going to reach out with a list of things they want you to do. Just doing something (like one of the things listed below) helps out in so many ways!
Bring food or have food delivered.
If the mom is okay with visitors, help with laundry, dishes, cleaning, light cooking, make sure mom has water and snacks while she nurses/bottle feeds the baby.
Check in with the mom (or dad) via text or phone call. If they don't respond immediately...don't be offended. Be intentional with your friendship and continue checking in.
Send flowers - I tend to like flowers in general but receiving flowers in those first couple of weeks is such a sweet gesture. It helped me feel supported and thought of in a time where I was too busy to care for myself.
Remember siblings: If the newborn has a sibling, don't forget to include them. There is so much attention on the newborn that siblings can feel left out. A couple of my friends gifted my son books, a new toy or snacks when his new baby sister arrived. It was such a sweet gesture that made my heart melt.
One other worthy thing to mention is that these don't all have to be done the first week the baby is born. Parents to newborns need support the first couple of months. If the new parent is like me, I didn't know how much help I needed or wanted until 2-3 months after the baby was born. Every parent and situation is different.
I hope this helps you, your family and friends!