Bringing baby home

Home at last! Baby Taiwanxifu had an extended stay in hospital due to jaundice, but is now fully recovered. We couldn’t wait to bring him home. In fact, we were so keen that we brought him home in the middle of a typhoon.

A nurse in NICU hands us Baby Taiwanxifu to take home, all wrapped up and tied in a blue bow.

Well, actually the worst had passed the night before but it was still pretty windy. And there were broken tree branches everywhere. It was a declared ‘typhoon day’, which meant all offices and schools were closed. We didn’t have our lovely nanny to look after Taiwanxifu Toddler, so we took him along with us. He was so excited to bring his little brother (弟弟 didi) home. And Baby Taiwanxifu was delivered to us by the NICU staff all wrapped up like a present tied with a blue bow. So cute!

Happy to be home: the Taiwanxifu boys

Now that we are all home, my confinement nanny (月婆, yuepo) has started work. Mrs Yang (楊大姐 Yang Dajie, which translates as Elder Sister Yang) is not only an excellent cook, but she also has experience in caring for over one hundred babies. As soon as she arrived, she went straight to work in the kitchen cooking up nutritious meals and things for me to snack on if/ when I am up during the night. Feeling a bit tired from being in a shared ward at hospital (not to mention the journey to and from hospital in a Typhoon), I felt so blessed to be pampered by Mrs Yang. I love this cultural tradition of nurturing mothers!

My yuepo, Mrs Yang, holding Baby Taiwanxifu

The first dish that Mrs Yang made for me was a simple liver soup. Liver is traditionally eaten during the first week or so after childbirth, when liver energy is weak. Given that liver is rich in iron and other essential minerals, it is an ideal food to help women restore energy after childbirth. This was such a wonderful tonic and I immediately felt warming energy flow through me after consuming it.

Mrs Yang’s liver soup with goji berries

I must admit that it took me a while to take to eating liver. While I am partial to pâté, and despite the calories don’t mind lambs fry occasionally, the texture and taste of pork liver was something I turned my nose up at before becoming a Taiwanxifu. How my taste buds have changed!

Mrs Yang’s Liver Soup with Goji Berries

Ingredients

500ml water
3cm knob of ginger, finely sliced
Sesame oil
A generous spoon of goji berries (Chinese wolf berries)
One spring onion, chopped (optional)
100g pork liver, thinly sliced

Method

Slightly fry the ginger in sesame oil until it is fragrant.  It is important not to fry for too long.

Add water and bring to the boil.  Add the liver, goji berries and spring onions (if using).  Do not overcook the liver as it is best when tender.  Serve at once.

Note: confinement foods do not usually contain salt, which may take some getting used to. You can add a pinch of salt for other members of the family who might eat this dish.

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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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10 Responses to Bringing baby home

  1. Stephen C says:

    Aww, so cute.

    I’ve read that wolf berries are supposed to be good for the eyes; are they helpful during confinement for other reasons as well?

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Goji berries and Chinese red dates feature strongly in confinement foods and other restorative soups. I know that goji berries are a powerful source of antioxidants, but I am not sure what their role is from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Okay, I have consulted with the expert (my Traditional Chinese Medicine Practioner friend Claire Shen). Goji berries do not have a particular role in zuo yuezi, but more generally they are very good for restoring liver and kidney energy. Since zuo yuezi is aimed at nourishing both of these things post childbirth, it makes sense to include goji berries in many meals. You can also make a nice tea from Chinese red dates and goji berries. My yuepo (confinement nanny) just made me stir-fried pork with shallots and goji berries for lunch. Delicious!

  2. Becky says:

    So glad to see that your new little one is home and healthy.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Many thanks. And enjoy settling into life in Taipei. It is an easy place to live as an expat.

  3. Wendy says:

    Congratulations on your baby boy!! He’s beautiful.

    I can only eat liver when my mom makes it too. Looks like you are well taken care of :-)

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