Having a child now I realize what happened. It feels strange to ask your friends to come over and do your dishes or a load of laundry or pick up diapers. It feels uncomfortable asking someone over to hold your baby while you go to sleep. I'm used to inviting people over socially not as a utility. But that's what I needed.
What I really appreciated during our first weeks days and weeks with a newborn were the friends who just did things for us. They dropped off food and didn't ask to see the baby. They brought dinner over and did our dishes afterward while I napped.
If you have friends with newborns and you're looking to contribute, don't ask and wait for a response. An easy thing is to drop off food and then go home. Don't expect any social niceties or catching up. This isn't a social call, it's a friendship service.
If you're close enough and you really want to go the extra mile bring over food, put the baby in a sling on your chest and do the dishes. This feeds, completes a chore and occupies the baby while mom and dad grab a nap. Even 30 minutes can make a difference in those first few weeks.
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