Updated: Aug 15, 2018
In the past , when a woman gives birth, she is required to stay indoors for a month with her baby under strict and traditional confinement rules like wearing thick clothing, not cooling herself with a fan, taking a shower and getting in contact with water. She is required to eat ginger and drink Chinese wine to expel ‘wind’ (gas), and have liver to replenish blood loss during childbirth.
In this modern era, new mummies can do confinement in a more enjoyable ways that help her recover from the rigours of pregnancy, labour and childbirth. Here are more details.
A new mummy may feel sad or depressed some days after giving birth. Such ‘postnatal blues’ due to hormonal changes occurring after pregnancy is usually short term and go away after two weeks of childbirth. To alleviate these symptoms, her husband can take her for a walk in the park for some fresh air and sunshine, or listen to soothing music at home. However, she should seek professional help if symptoms persist.
Having a warm bath will help a new mummy feel refreshed. During confinement, she may perspire a lot as she consumes a lot of ‘heaty’ food. If she is breastfeeding, she should take care of her personal hygiene and be comfortable. After a bath, she should dry herself well and blow dry her hair thoroughly to avoid catching a cold. It is recommended to use Da Feng Ai (大風), a herbal sachet that is soaked for 5 to 10 minutes in warm water ( 36 -39 degrees Celsius). These herbs helps to improve blood circulation, prevents ailments that may cause headaches and pain in the joints and back. It also prevents rheumatism in old age. Herbal baths would make her feel and smell fresh too.
3. Consuming sesame oils, wines , ginger
Consume these ingredients in moderation, as they may be too heaty for certain individuals and cause ulcers or constipation when taken in excess.
Alcohol and other organic ingredients (examples???) may go into the breast milk. Avoid consuming them if you are breastfeeding to prevent affecting the liver of the newborn or when he/she is suffering from jaundice.
4. Consuming cold, spicy or oily food, excessive salt and citrus fruit
It is advisable to avoid having cold food or water during confinement to aid the full recovery of the stomach and spleen of the new mummy. This is because cold food and drink may trigger abdomen pain and prolong lochia discharge. Coffee should also be avoided as the baby does not have the enzyme to break down and get rid of caffeine in the breast milk. It may also cause the baby to become irritable, jittery and develop sleeping problems.
Salt in the food should be cut down as it will affect the discharge of the water accumulated in the body and affect metabolism post parturm. Citrus fruit like oranges, lemons and lime should be avoided during first few months of breastfeeding as it may irritate the baby’s tummy, resulting diaper rash, skin problems or stomach ache. Oily food such as glutinous rice, deep fried food and oily meats should be avoided in the first two weeks of child birth due to a weak digestive system that may lead to constipation or diarrhoea.
5. Drinking more fluid
New mummies may be visiting the toilet more frequently. Do not be afraid to drink more fluid to stay hydrated, especially those who are breastfeeding. It also help the kidneys to produce more urine to remove and flush out excess fluid due to water retention accumulated during pregnancy.
6. Good ventilation and comfortable room temperature
The room should maintain a comfortable temperature for mummy and baby, especially between 24 and 25 degrees Celsius to avoid baby heat rash.
7. Eating well and balanced meals
New mummies have high nutritional needs as their bodies replenish blood loss during delivery and meet the demands of breastfeeding.
Their diet should include all the vital nutrients i.e. carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, folic acid, minerals and water in the right proportions. It should include milk, bread, cereals, fruit and vitamins.
It is important to take a well-balanced diet than specific food types to replenish the body’s stores. Fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin A and C are must be consumed daily. Carrots and dark green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin A. Fruit such as guava, black grapes, kiwi, apples , strawberries are good sources of vitamin C. Eat fruit and vegetables rich in fibre to help avoid constipation. Have iron-rich food such as raisins, gozi berries , beef, chicken, chicken kidney, oats and green leafy vegetables.