A pregnant friend of mine asked me to share the the postpartum plan I taped up on my refrigerator shortly before giving birth. Having it eased my anxiety and made me feel more in control toward the end of my pregnancy. I can't find the original list, as it had been handwritten. But here's what I remember.
Postpartum (for about the first two weeks)
Offer to bring a home made or store bought meal.
Offer to take the older child(ren) for a couple of hours to the park or for a play day.
Feel free to stop by the house, but don't expect mom and baby to be available. They may both be sleeping.
Offer to vacuum or do dishes. Insist if the mother refuses. There is always something to clean, especially in a kitchen.
Don't ask to hold the baby. This is a crucial bonding time for mother and baby, especially for breastfeeding mothers (I assume, since I've only breastfed).
Don't take unflattering photos. A mother should not be made to feel self-conscious about her appearance so quickly after giving birth.
Don't invite the mother to go out to eat or out shopping. She needs her rest. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the body takes 18 months to fully recover after having a baby.