Many pregnant and prospective mothers have questions about the Chinese postpartum period. The questions are about the program, what to eat, and the benefits of postpartum meals. In this article, you will learn the detailed ingredients and meal plans for the specialized foods. New mothers can eat these mealsfor their long-term health benefits and boost milk production as part of postpartum recovery.
What Is A Postpartum Period?
The postpartum period is the first month after childbirth.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), new mothers rest to regain their health, strength, and energy through the postpartum program.
While weight loss is not the main objective, new mothers should not engage in any physical activity during this time. The postpartum program strengthens women's health and helps prevent postpartum complications from wound healing .
What Are Main Ingredients in Chinese Postpartum Meals?
Some of the most common ingredients used in Chinese postpartum meals include:
- Chicken, pork, fish, eggs, tofu
- Vegetables such as spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes
- Fruits such as apples, bananas, and papaya
- Chinese herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, and sesame oil
- Congee (rice porridge) is a comforting and nourishing food for new mothers. It usually includes sweet potato, taro, red bean, vegetables, seafood, or a mix of grains, nuts, and dried fruits. Congee is easily digestible and provides a good source of carbohydrates, which helps replenish energy levels.
- The preparation of rice porridge for postpartum meals is more important than the type of rice used. However, jasmine rice is a common choice because of its soft flavor and slightly sticky texture. The standard grains rice-to-water ratio is 1:1.5, but this can vary based on personal preference and the rice type. Here are three types of common congee:
- Vegetable porridge is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
- Seafood porridge is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Eight-treasure porridge is a traditional Chinese dish packed with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. The name "eight-treasure" means using eight ingredients in the porridge, representing wealth and good luck in Chinese culture.
If you have a postpartum nanny, they will meal prep the confinement food each week. For more about their responsibilities, read here about Chinese Postpartum Nannies.
What Are Tips For Preparing Chinese Postpartum Meals
- Use fresh and high-quality ingredients.
- Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.
- Cook the meals thoroughly, but avoid overcooking them.
- Add herbs and spices to the meals to improve their flavor and nutritional value.
- Serve the meals warm or at room temperature to new mothers.
What Is A Sample Meal Plan for New Mothers' Postpartum Nutrition?
New mothers need to eat a nutritious diet to recover from childbirth. This is so that they can regain energy levels and support breast milk supply.
Blood sugar levels can fluctuate after childbirth. New moms should consistently consume meals and snacks during the day. This general meal plan provides a good starting point, with three main meals and three snacks per day.
Here is a more detailed sample plan. For specifics, you can work with your nanny to adjust it based on your individual needs and preferences.
Week One - Focus: Improve the flow of lochia, boost digestion, and replenish blood and Qi.
Ingredients and dishes
- Rice bean: an excellent food to eat in the first week after childbirth. It helps to detoxify your body and act as a diuretic. It also improves your digestion and replenishes your blood and Qi.
- Purple rice: once reserved exclusively for the Chinese Emperor's health and longevity, is now available to everyone. Purple rice strengthens a new mom's intestinal peristalsis, supporting the restoration of her body's functions.
- Jujube dates (red dates): Jujube dates play a significant role in cleansing, promoting Qi and blood circulation. They also serve as a substitute for water in the body, aiding in overall hydration.
- Pork liver: Rich in iron and vitamins, aids in replenishing blood and supporting the flow of lochia. This is an essential part of the diet during the first week.
|Red bean porridge
|Purple rice porridge with jujube dates
|Pork liver soup
|Postpartum soup (sheng Hua tang 生化汤）
Week Two - Focus: Improve milk secretion and nourish the kidney.
Ingredients and dishes
- Eucommia: Du Zhong is another name for the Eucommia ulmoides tree. This plant has several benefits, and it nourishes the kidney and gives strength to the mom's waist while reducing stress and tension.
- Millet rice and purple rice porridge: Improves kidney strength and offers healing properties.
- Pork loin: Improves the digestive system of the new mother.
|Millet rice porridge with Eucommia (八珍汤）
|Pig's feet and soybean soup
|Chestnut pork loin porridge
|Pork loin porridge
Sweet potato porridge with coconut milk and ginger:
a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium.
Week Three and Four - Focus: Improve blood flow and circulation, and nourish the blood.
Ingredients and dishes
- Black chicken: Builds the blood and supplements qi.
- Black vinegar: Therapeutic, blood cleansing, and artery-cleansing functions.
- Dang Gui: A valuable herb in traditional Chinese medicine to boost blood circulation.
|Black chicken soup
|Sea cucumber soup
|Red date beef soup
|Sea weed soup
Note: all photos are for representation only. For more information, consult with your nannies.
Other ingredients used to make confinement meals include
- Fresh ginger
- Black sesame seeds
- Black Fungus
- Lily bulbs
- Lily flowers
- Dried longan
- Red lotus seed
- Fish maw
- Yan wo (Cubilose): Some traditional Chinese postpartum diets may include bird's nest and snow clam in their meal plans. People consider these foods nutritious because they contain protein, collagen, calcium, and other minerals.
- Dong chong cao
- Shu di huang
- Motherwort herb
- Gastrodia elata
- Barley semen coicis
- Sweet rice
- Red beans
- Dioscorea opposita thunb
- White fungus
- Radix codonopsis root
- Glehnia littoralis
- Lotus seeds
- Candied dates
- Fox nut
- Lentinus edodes
- Black bean
- Brown sugar
- Tangerine peel
- Confinement rice wine
- Black Vinegar: Traditional Chinese cuisine incorporates this ingredient in many dishes, particularly those made with pork. People believe that black vinegar has therapeutic properties, such as purifying the blood and cleansing the arteries.
Ingredients needed for moms to take a good bath during confinement
What Are Some Additional Tips To Following The Postpartum Meal Plan?
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
- Choose whole grains over refined grains.
- Include lean protein in every meal.
- Drink plenty of fluids including water.
- Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive caffeine.
Where Can I Order These Nutritious And Delicious Postpartum Confinement Meals?
If you'd like to give this practice a try, you can:
- Find a local home chef for Chinese Postpartum Delivery Service
- Hire a confinement nanny to prepare your meals and offer the baby and mother care you need.
You can use the AyiConnect app to find both services. You can post a free job for hire directly through self-service.You can also start by searching through the Chinese Postpartum Confinement Nanny List.
For those busy professionals who don't have time or need language assistance, we also offer Concierge 1:1 service. Schedule a free consultation here for our concierge service, or check us out on ayiconnection.com.
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