“Month ten” – Postpartum care
In Chinese medicine, the month after baby is born is still considered an intimate extension of your pregnancy. It is easy for everyone around you to focus primarily on the new baby during this time, and although that may be a welcome aspect of your support, in order for baby to best be taken care of right now, you need to be the focus of care and nurturing. A healthy mom is fundamental for a healthy baby—after all, baby benefits from your resources. This postpartum time should emphasize nourishing and replenishing you, and by extension, baby will be getting all the nourishment he needs.
The main lifestyle focus for you should be rest and bonding with your infant and incorporating nutritious food, such as a daily dose of postpartum bone broth, for your recovery and continued stamina.
Postpartum bone broth recipe
1 pound organic chicken or beef bones from your local health-food store or butcher (you can also just put a whole, uncooked chicken in the pot and use the meat for a plethora of dishes)
3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 inches of fresh ginger root, chopped
1 onion, peeled and halved
1 lemon, washed and halved
Whole head of fresh garlic, peeled and smashed
Generous tablespoon of sea salt
A palmful of both goji berries and Chinese red dates (also called Jujube)
Water to fill stockpot
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut oil
In a large pot, add the coconut oil and brown the bones on all sides over medium-high heat. Add everything else but the parsley, and fill stockpot almost full with water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for eight hours up to overnight (it will only get richer), periodically skimming the fat off the top. Add parsley, then turn off the heat. Strain the solids out through a colander and discard or reincorporate carrots and celery and chicken pieces (if you’ve used a whole chicken) into the soup.
The broth can be sipped as-is, or used as a base for other soups and recipes in this book and beyond. If you’re not going to use the stock within a few days, freeze it.
General postpartum care support tips
I can’t say enough about how great a postpartum doula is for the first week. If you can get a little sleep, your overall coping skills and bonding ability will probably improve greatly.
Nurturing touch can be very replenishing after birth. See if you can find someone who can come to your house.
It’s normal to feel overtaxed. Just keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t get incapacitating. You can enlist a therapist or a psychiatrist to give you support and help you assess the possible need for breastfeeding-safe medication.
Tell your story
Find a forum, either in person or online, to share your birth story. This can be a very therapeutic way to process your experience.
Now that you’ve concluded your pregnancy journey, the support you need is just beginning. Keep drawing on all the ways you’ve learned to care for during your pregnancy, and don’t hesitate to seek out resources during your postpartum period, or as I call it, the aftermath.