(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )
Apartment Therapy's lovely and talented Family Editor, Carrie McBride, is off on maternity leave right now. This got us thinking about perfect gifts for new moms. I asked a bunch of friends what they would appreciate after just giving birth. There were lots of good suggestions, but one thing is clear: the time for onesies and diaper bags has passed. Gifts that make life easier and more comfortable at home are the way to go. 

1. Food: This was a clear winner. Many said how glorious it was to have pre-made food dropped of by friends. If you're not in the area, a gift card (to use while the baby is still small, sleeping a lot, and can be easily toted around) is good too. If your friend deserves a splurge, contact a meal delivery service. Packages are likely pricey, but you'll have a friend for life. 

2. Non-Maternity Clothing: After months of belly-friendly garb, how great is it to receive the gift of normal clothes? This one is easy; just pick up a gift card, and let the mom choose something brand new, even if it's just yoga pants.

3. Housecleaning: This is particularly great after 2-4 weeks, when moms are still moving slowly, but alert enough to notice all the dust piling up. 

4. Great Products: Cracked nipples and hemorrhoids are real things, people. Send products that naturally soothe sore skin, like an herbal sitz bath.

5. Spa Services: Sleep deprivation and spit up would make anyone feel frumpy. A trip to the hair salon, a pedicure, or a complimentary massage is just the ticket. Find a masseuse who does house calls, and you get a gold star for gift giving. At the very least, offer to watch the baby for an hour while she takes a shower or a nap.

So, all the rest of you moms out there, what gifts would you appreciate? What did you receive that you really loved and used?

(Images: 1. Food; 2. Clothing; 3. Cleaning; 4. Products; 5. Spa)