by Marisa Belger
After the birth of her third child, LA native Heng Ou was determined to give local new mamas a serving of postpartum care similar to what she received during her experience with zuo yuezi, or the Chinese art of confinement after ybirth. Zuo yuezi follows a lengthy list of protocols, including staying warm and limiting outside stimuli, but food is at the heart of the program. Throughout the 40-day regimen, new mothers are served hearty soups and stews and revitalizing teas and tonics, each enhanced with ingredients designed to support post-delivery recuperation, encourage lactation, and create easeful bonding with baby.
Through her company MotherBees, Ou gives Los Angeles mothers essential TLC—a new mother’s needs often get lost in the whirlwind of a newborn’s arrival—with home-cooked meals delivered quietly to their doorstep. Dishes and drinks include kabocha squash and red lentil soup; hibiscus, cinnamon and ginger tonic; and a “Mother’s Bowl” with kitchari (an Ayurvedic mixture of rice and beans), greens and wild mushrooms. “Food plays such a big role in postpartum healing,” says Ou, co-author of The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. “Feeding a new mother nutrient-dense, delicious things is the quickest way to help her find her center again and to give her the strength to tend to the needs of the newest, and most demanding, member of her family.” motherbees.com