I've got the sun in my eyes

Chinese Postnatal Confinement

“Confinement is a time for new mothers to recover and heal. The diet for confinement aims to enhance immunity, help to regain physical strength, replenish the loss of blood and ensure adequate breastmilk for the baby.

It lasts for 30 days during which time mother and baby are to be at home and on the 30th day, there is a celebration, called the Full Moon, sort of like a coming out party for the mother and baby where family and friends finally get to meet the baby.

Most people will hire a confinement nanny who will look after mum and baby during these 30 days. Her role is to cook for the mother and also help care for the baby to enable mum to recover”

It is actually a very nice concept! Unfortunately, there’s no confinement nanny service in Europe and it’ll be too costly to fly one all the way from Asia. My mommy will be here at some point of time though – hope the timing will be right!

I will selectively gather some tips and tricks of traditional Chinese confinement practice to adopt. Below are the notes of my research so far.

Bathing

  • Traditionally, mothers were not allowed to bath at all in the 30 days (yuksss!). It was said that bathing would cause headaches and arthritis later in life.
  • No way I am going to follow this but will take hot shower and bath in herbs (twice a week). Will remember to dry my hair every time also!
  • And dress warmly, with socks.

Drinks

  • No water, even if it was boiling hot. What happened to the recommended 8 glasses a day?
  • I will drink water (room temperature) and in addition, also the recommended tea made from red dates, longan and goji berry. A glass after every feed.

Food

  • A varied and balanced diet consist of rice or noodles with quality protein from pork, chicken or fish (organic!) as well as dairy and bean products; adequate fiber from leafy green vegetable, cereals and fruits; nourishing traditional Chinese herbal soup (a pot for 2 days, twice a week).
  • Include food rich in calcium and iron.
  • Some nutritious snacks such as yoghurt, eggs or fruits between normal meals are alright.
  • Avoid ‘cold food’. The term “cold” refers not only to foods which are cold in their physical form, but also foods that are considered cold in nature (conversely, there are also foods which are considered “hot” or “heaty” in nature). Find list of cold food here.
  • Food would be cooked with lots ginger, sesame oil, black vinegar, rice wine, pepper and other herbs.
  • In addition to keeping the body warm, confinement food is meant to help mothers heal quicker, for example turmeric is used to help clear the bleeding, ginger is also used to reduce bloating and gas and green papaya is used to increase breast milk production.
  • Avoid hot and spicy food as they might cause discomfort to the baby and also constipation.
  • No eggs for the first two weeks if C-sec.
  • Seasoning products such as soya sauce, noodle sauce and salt should not be taken (or at least, minimise your intake)

Others

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. No nicotine.

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