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.