Help a new mama without spending a fortune (or anything at all!)

My sweet baby boy will be two on Wednesday. Everyone warns you how fast it will pass but you NEVER believe them.

I spend a lot of time planning for the future, but I also spend time looking back on previous life events and thinking about how they led us to where we are today. Thinking back to a time in my life when I had two children under two I am richly blessed by the outpouring of love our family received after Isaac was born.

Today I wanted to share a few ways to bless a new mama.

1. Bring the unexpected.

I once brought toilet paper to someone's house after she had a baby. At first it seemed random. But after things had calmed down the mom sent me a thank you note that said "I thought the toilet paper was a strange gift at first, until we ran out and I didn't have to go to the store to get some more."

So bring toilet paper, milk and maybe a few other household items you think the family might need. And diapers and wipes. Always bring diapers and wipes.

2. Bring a meal but not a covered dish.

Bringing food is a great way to bless a family, but if a new mom has to wash that dish and return it to you that blessing turns into something stressful.

Just throw the food into a disposable pan and if you want to go the extra mile include paper plates.

Even if you bring something as simple as sandwiches and salad it's nice not to have to cook.

3. Don't forget about mom.

Let's face it, everyone is really there for the main attraction... the baby. Sure, mom did all the work but we are all there to see the baby. Don't ignore the fact that mom is probably still in a lot of pain, extremely exhausted and feels like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Bring her something that's just for her. My aunt gave me an insulated cup with my monogram on it. It was perfect for those long days nursing when I was CONSTANTLY thirsty.

You can put together a really nice care package for just a few dollars and trust me she will remember it ALWAYS.

4. Offer to take her older children somewhere for a few hours.

After Isaac was born it was a rare and special treat for Ryals to get to leave the house, so if someone offered to take him somewhere fun or even just take him in the yard to play it was a big deal. Plus it gave me a little time to focus my brain on just the new baby.

5. Offer to hold the baby so she can shower.

There were days when I would sit in the recliner nursing sweet Isaac and suddenly be struck with the thought "I don't remember the last time I showered." Isaac was a fussy baby. He would scream when put to down and required being constantly held.

It was nice whenever anyone offered to hold him so I could hop in the shower, run to the bathroom or throw on a load of laundry.

6. Offer to do a little house work.

Speaking of laundry. If you could offer to fold a load or two, put the dishes in the dish washer or just pick up the house this goes a long way. Just try to do it in a way that doesn't sound like you're putting down her house keeping skills.

7. Encourage her.

It's hard. It is so hard to have a newborn. Yes, it's blissful. But it's exhausting. So just offer her a word of encouragement. Tell her she is doing a great job. Validate her mothering choices with encouraging words.

Don't tell her that about your baby that had terrible colic or wouldn't nurse. And don't bring her corn syrup and prune juice because he baby might get constipated (yes, someone did that to me. No I haven't gotten over it.)

Mothering isn't easy. The newborn phase isn't easy. That is why encouraging, mentoring and lifting up new moms is so important.

What about you? What what would you add to the list?