I launched ‘Held: Postpartum Care Guided by Deeply Nourishing Whole Food’ two and a half years into becoming a mother.
My work is very much inspired by my own affirming and healing postpartum experience, surrounded by friends and family who held me in the early days of becoming mother. I was delivered hot meals in bed, and was supported in getting the rest that my body required: I was being tended to by seasoned mothers who knew the needs of a new mama, deep in their own bones.
‘Held’ is aimed at addressing the two most important universal postpartum needs:
Extended Rest & Nourishing Food
My meal offerings, available through my ‘Postpartum Pantry’ are inspired by the food that nourishes my family, as well as how we have historically supported postpartum women, globally.
Across cultures, the postpartum diet focuses on:
Pastured Animal Fats & Plant Based Oils - Ghee, butter, lard, and tallow, as well as minimally processed plant based oils from coconuts & olives. All of these fats are rich in Omega 3’s, which are critical for brain development, and recent studies have shown most mothers to be deficient in throughout pregnancy and postpartum.
Slowly Cooked Animal Protein - Braised meats, boiled stews, and bone broth made from boiling down bones and connective tissue. Protein from pastured animal sources are a complete protein, rich in Vitamin A, and rich in Collagen when slowly cooked, which our body needs for tissue repair and regeneration.
Warming in Nature - Across cultures, postpartum is considered a state of deficiency. Following childbirth, mothers often experience blood loss, nutrient depletion, and weakness. Incorporation of warming spices like cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic and mustard seed are wonderful ways to support our digestive system, and restore warmth into the body. Slow cooking all food prior to consumption allows the mother to conserve the energy she would need for digesting, for the more pressing jobs of healing and milk production.
Hydrating - Producing milk for baby requires a lot of energy! Adequate water intake is critical for healthy lactation, but it can often feel hard to drink enough of it every day. Herbal teas, bone broths and stews hydrate, and offer additional nutritional benefits without the added sugar that most modern beverages come along with.
Following these tenets, women throughout their pregnancy can assemble their pantry for postpartum healing, and ask their own community to offer gifts of support, in the form of healing food! ‘The First Forty Days’ written by Heng Ou is an amazing cookbook-style postpartum resource, centered around recipes to aid in postpartum healing. Find your favorite recipes, and share them with your community. I find that offering guidance in the form of recipes is usually very welcomed by loved ones, much to the benefit of the healing mother.
For mothers who would like nourishment beyond what her own community can provide, I offer in home postpartum care, centered around cooking which honors these tenets. I source the best animal proteins and dairy possible, from pasture based livestock farms in Maine. I go to great lengths to provide the best organic and local vegetables, and source my dry goods locally whenever I can. My meals and snacks offer whole food nutrition to mama, allowing her to focus on resting and bonding with her new babe. I believe that when mother thrives, baby thrives too.
A Glimpse at my Postpartum Pantry offerings:
Organic Bone Broth
Kitchari & Braised Beef
Coconut Chicken Curry
Nut and Seed Bars
Soothing Herbal Chai
Herbal Sitz Bath Kit
When I step into a new mother’s home, the first thing I usually do is fill up my pressure cooker with bones, cover with water, and get cooking! In addition to meal preparations, I am on hand for preparing an herbal sitz bath, guiding a vaginal steam session, holding babe so mother can eat or rest, performing light housework, and providing further resources to the entire family.
The childbearing years of a woman’s life are energy intensive, vulnerable, beautiful, and often exhausting. It is a time when women should surround themselves with the people in their lives, who they wish to be mothered by.
For my full offerings, please visit heldpostpartum.com.
For more a more in depth analysis of prenatal & postpartum nutrition, I highly recommend Lily Nichol’s book, ‘Real Food for Pregnancy’