I want to dedicate this post to my parents and in-laws as they helped me tremendously after my birth, and cooked for me so I could focus on resting, recovering and taking care of the newborn.
After my second daughter was born, there was a lot of stress dealing with her weight loss. Physically, I was still healing and I was exhausted from lack of sleep and tons of other reasons. Thank goodness for having great support around me!
In the Chinese tradition passed centuries ago, mother’s were asked to stay home and not wash their hair for a full month. I believe the reasoning was to minimize the chance for the mother to catch a cold. Catching a cold during the first month after giving birth believed to have long term health effects. I didn’t follow the tradition completely as I did go out for doctor’s appointments and had to wash my hair (imagine not washing it for a month?!). However, I did follow a traditional Chinese postpartum diet, and know that it had contributed to my quick recovery!
Each ingredient in the dishes I ate and drank had its benefits. In general, I had to eat foods that were in the “warm” category in Chinese cooking including ginger, meat and squash, and avoid foods in the “cold” category including ice water, watermelon and sushi. I figured that if this diet helped me recovery during my first pregnancy and helped my mom and my grandma, what do I have to lose but try it out. Plus, I was too tired to cook.
As soon as a give birth, I drank a glass of sparkling wine, and when I arrived home from the hospital, I drank a brown bitter herbal drink. The drinks were supposed to help with releasing the discharge and blood from childbirth.
I am a soup girl, and thankfully that was what I ate most days. The fish and papaya soup and the pork hock with peanut soup were supposed to help with milk production.
Many of the ingredients in the dishes/soups including ginger and rice wine are essential to nourishing the body and support recovery. Dishes I had included eggs with ginger and black beans, and ginger rice.
About 2-3 weeks after I gave birth, I was able to eat the “geung cho”, which translate to “ginger vinegar”. Pork hock/pigs feet, ginger and egg was cooked in a sweet black vinegar. I am a big fan of this, and have been eating a bowl a day over the past few months. My family served this to relatives and guests to celebrate the recent birth of my daughter.
Near the end of the first month, my mom made me a pork stomach soup with lotus seeds and lots of whole black pepper. This soup was supposed to help strengthen my stomach to be able to eat anything I wanted after that. After the month was over, I got my raw oyster and sushi fix!
Also in Chinese tradition, the first month or 100 days after the baby is born, there is a large celebration (similar to the Western baby shower) with loved ones. We celebrated my 2nd daughter’s one month with a feast with a whole roasted pig and boiled eggs in red dye. We will also be celebrating my daughter’s 100 days at a Chinese restaurant banquet style.
I believe that my quick recovery was related to all the support I got, resting, and eating all the nutritious food!
Do you believe that what you eat after giving birth matters? I am interested in knowing what your postpartum diet was like. Comment below.
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