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‘Round LA: MotherBees

In Chinese tradition, the entire family comes to the home and takes care of the newborn and mother. The mother stays wrapped up and in bed while her family cooks for her, using ingredients that provide all the nutrients she needs. This includes a famous soup using pig feet, which is supposed to help bring in milk for breastfeeding.

The tradition behind this is all about nurturing the mother after birth. Sounds like something all moms should have in their postpartum lives, no? Heng Ou, the founder of the LA-based nourishing food service MotherBees, believes so.

And while Ou personally had the privilege of experiencing this tradition, she realized that this whole idea was lost after birth for most. Raised by a traditional Chinese family in Maryland, Ou now resides in Los Angeles with her three kids and wants to find a way to support mothers through food. A mother has so much attention during pregnancy, and then within weeks after the baby is born, the excitement fades and the mother is on her own.

Through MotherBees, Ou designs meals for women in their third trimester and after birth. Food has always been her love, and especially giving food, and she believes that food and birth go hand and hand. With MotherBees, she’s combined these passions seamlessly to bring other mothers the nourishment they deserve. “The mission behind MotherBees is to provide care after birth. We want to be your support system. We provide convenience for a new mom for whom thought of cooking--especially a healthy, nutritious meal--is not on their mind. We want every mom to know they are being taken care of and nourished with the best food,” says Ou.

Here’s a closer look at MotherBees.

Why the name MotherBees?

Bees and Mothers are the two sources of life. Bees form a community working as a support system to the mother and her family. They could be the doula, caretaker or professional who surround the mother.

How do you juggle being a mother and a businesswoman?

Once you know there are no other options than to be the best mother and the best businesswoman to make a mission come to life, then nothing will stop you. It’s the power of being a woman who had tapped into the nectar of giving and receiving. Motherhood forces you to do so if you choose to take it.

How did you decide what the food menu would be?

I wanted fresh, colorful nutrient-dense foods that support mothers. I draw from my Chinese culture when creating dishes. The simpler, seasonal and more colorful, the better!

What are some of the nutritional benefits in the ingredients in your food?

There are so many nutritional benefits in all the ingredients in our food, especially for pregnant woman and postnatal moms. We have our energy drinks--Raspberry, Red Clover and Nettle Teas--that help with labor. We have many soups and broths, like the Lentil Chickpea and Quinoa Soup, which help with stamina and give that extra protein kick. The bone broth has minerals that endure your immune system and help digestion, which runs the entire gamut of your body. Eating these will preserve health and life. Our teas, like the Nettle Fennel Tea, Hibiscus Cinnamon Ginger Tea, all help in toning the uterus for implantation during conception and prepare the body for birth. They also help with milk supply. These teas can be drank throughout pregnancy and post-delivery. Cinnamon is very good after birth to help blood circulation and help with excessive blood loss.

What are some ingredients you use that help with breast milk supply?

At MotherBees we try not to have any foods that stop milk. Some of the ingredients in our food that help with milk supply are: ginger, nettle, cinnamon, fennel, and red raspberry. Each of these items assists with the kidneys and the uterus to become more productive in creating just the right amount of heat and sustenance for the body to recover.

What are the most popular dishes from MotherBees?

Our clients love a range of our foods, but some of our most popular are the seasonal green soup with the quinoa on the bottom, the Creamy Cashew and Chia Hemp Milk, and the Almond Black Sesame Milk.

Where do you see MotherBees in the future?

I have such a large vision for where this can go. I am currently writing a book! We are not looking to expand the menu, but possibly move into products, and then grocery stores. My biggest goal in the near future is to be able to have a percentage of sales go to birthing centers in developing countries like Nepal, Tibet or Mexico. I want to be able to support mothers and babies around the world.

All images provided by MotherBees.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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