DO ask if there's anything you can help with and be specific. A new mom may feel overwhelmed, especially if she has more than one child to care for. Or she may be shy about asking for specific things, not wanting to bother anyone. When you ask if there's anything you can help with, feel free to throw out suggestions. "I was trying to think of what I could do to help you the most. Do you have dinner plans for tonight? Or maybe there's some chores that need done? I'm going to town later - do you need anything while I'm out?"
DON'T overstay your welcome. I'm not saying to run out the door five minutes after you arrive, though. Instead I'm saying to take into account momma and baby's moods & schedules that particular day. It can be tiring to have guests wanting to sit around and chat while the baby is now sleeping and was up all last night. Or maybe you've noticed that Momma is feeling weepy or stressed - feel free to stay a little longer, chat, give a hug, and help out a bit.
DO ask if you can watch her other kids for the afternoon, an overnight, or just for an outing. This can be good and bad. She will probably be very happy to have the other kids out of the house for awhile. But also try to be understanding if she is feeling kind of "momma bear-like." I remember after the birth of my third baby, I felt very overly protective and weepy when my other kids weren't there. I haven't noticed that as much with the last two births but I've found it generally works out for them to just be gone for an afternoon, or other shorter period of time - rather than two nights or something like that. *Plus, it gives the kids a change of pace/environment.
DON'T critique. Ever. New moms are faced with a barrage of choices when it comes to their new kiddo. Compliment them on what they are doing well. If there's something you feel they are doing wrong, remember that it's not your baby. You aren't with them 24/7 and you didn't give birth to them. If the new mom asks specifically for an opinion on something, feel free. Just be gentle.
DO offer to make a meal train. The past few times I've had babies my friends have organized a meal train for me (through mealtrain.com) and I usually didn't end up having to worry about meals for at least two weeks. I found this to be one of the MOST helpful things anyone could do for me. It is so nice not to have to worry about making dinner! Other ideas instead of a meal train are: boxes of snacks, a "meal in a basket" that has all the ingredients mom needs to whip up a quick dinner, gift cards for local restaurants, calling and ordering something for delivery to the new mom's house, and premade freezer meals mom can heat and eat.
DON'T try to do everything for her. Instead focus on helping the new mom with upkeep. I have a friend who is FABULOUS at this. She stopped by for several days in a row after the birth of my third child and focused on helping me with the main household chores - throwing a load of clothes in the washer, loading my dishwasher or doing up what dishes were in the sink, dumping the bathroom trash, etc.
DO compliment her. Even if she looks like she got hit by a truck, with dark circles under her eyes, yesterday's yoga pants, and hair unkempt. But I would almost bet you can see that "new mom" glow in there, regardless. Compliment her on it (sincerely) and I guarantee you'll make her day.
Now it's your turn to weigh in - what did I forget? Anything else you'd add? Sound off in the comment section!