What would your grandma do for you if you have a cold? Probably make you lay on the couch while she’d cook you some delicious soup. That’s nourishing a new mom in a nutshell: what would grandma do… WWGD. Birth partners, spouses, care-takers: get your ‘grandma hats’ on. Your turn to step up and help. Momma just literally had a person come out of her. She needs a break.
Chinese Medicine and perhaps even East-Asian culture at-large is very clear about the instructions for mom and baby following childbirth. Following this wisdom, we recommend for our patients that, if possible, the mom does nothing other than spend time with baby, eat for herself, feed the baby, stay warm, and sleep. No work, no chores, no errands… for forty days.
There are also a veritable smorgasbord of specific nourishing and easy-to-digest foods that are to be prepared (someone cooks for her!) to help fortify the mother after the birth. A good place to start if you don’t know any, is this book – The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. If these foods are not familiar to you, look to your cultural cuisine and make the food your grandma would make you if you had a cold. Remember – WWGD.
Basically, it’s lots of soups, broths, and congees (rice porridge) for the new mom. The concept is simple: warm, easy to digest, and full of nutrition. Keep it simple.
Many of the broths can be prepared before childbirth and frozen, making for easy-to-make meals if the cooking team is limited or there are other children to parent at the same time. You can also organize a mealtrain as a way to invite your community to be a part of your support structure.
This is the goal – we advise our patients to rest as fiercely as they can and welcome as much support as they can find (so long as the support system doesn’t bring stress with it).
New moms: now is the time to rest and recover. Your body will thank you for years to come.