There’s no shortage of books out there focusing on your new baby: her sleep, her health, her care. But when it comes to learning how to take care of yourself, there’s just not a lot of information. Heng Ou’s new book, The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother, is a much-needed addition to the barren postpartum bookshelves.
At first glance, it’s a cookbook: there’s 60 simple recipes, including soups, meals, snacks and calming and lactation-boosting teas, written by the founder of LA-based Motherbees, which focuses on postpartum care and nourishment. Each is packed with nutrients that encourage tissue repair, hormone balancing and easeful lactation—iron, protein, fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants—and they generally help to keep postpartum depletion at bay. Therapeutic herbs and spices address states that are unique to a brand new mama, explains Heng, like the jittery sensation that comes from getting just two consecutive hours of sleep at night or the blues that can sneak up on you when you spend too many hours alone with a fussy newborn.
But The First Forty Days is also a guide for new mamas struggling to adjust to their new way of life, helping them navigate inevitable relationship challenges, and honoring the significance of pregnancy and birth. “Women are inundated with support and resources about pregnancy and birth, but are often left to fend for themselves during the first early weeks of motherhood,” she continues. “We believe that he first forty days after birth is an essential period of rest of recovery that can influence the long-term health and happiness of mom and baby.”
Below, Heng shares one of her favorite recipes from the book for a PB&J Smoothie that’s perfect for postpartum. Enjoy!
PB & J SMOOTHIE
Introducing the comfort food smoothie: a grown-up peanut butter and jelly sandwich—without the bread, and in a glass. Packed with protein to keep you satiated, it is grounding and filling with a balance of sweet and nutty tastes. Using frozen banana might feel good if you have
a summertime baby snuggled on hot skin. Just notice if the colder smoothie that results makes you feel chilled and adjust accordingly.
5 tablespoons (75 g) peanut butter
1 fresh or frozen banana, peeled
1 cup (150 g) fresh or frozen berries or 1⁄4 cup (60 g) all-natural fruit jam (no artificial sweeteners, just fruit)
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (optional)
2 cups (480 ml) light coconut milk or nut milk of your choice
1 tablespoon honey
Blend everything in a blender until smooth. For an extra-pretty presentation, take a knife and smear some of the fruit on the inside of the serving glasses in an upward spiral. Pour the smoothie into the glasses for a striped look that any kids in the house will love.