According to the Chinese Traditions & Practices, women who have just delivered their newborns have to traditionally undergo a 100 days post-natal confinement period to “cleanse” themselves. But in Singapore, our standard practice is reduced to 28-30 days depending on the calendar month. Along with the post-natal confinement period, there are many Do’s and Don’ts which the Chinese abide to for centuries. I’ll share them along the way!!
Myth 1 : Do Not Shower / Wash Your Hair
My gynaecologist advised me otherwise on the taboo since Singapore is a humid country. Personally, I strongly feel that hygiene is very important during this period, especially so if you are breastfeeding (like me) or have wounds. I do shower twice a day (warm water ) and wash my hair (including blowing dry immediately) on alternate days.
For those ladies who follow the strict rules of post-natal confinement, they would normally get the bath herbs from the Chinese Medical Halls which should be mixed thoroughly with warm water before cleansing the body.
The reason for the myth is mainly due to belief that your body will be exposed to the “wind” which could result in rheumatism / arthritis / headaches in future. Based on my personal opinion, when our body gets in contact with warm water, the pores would naturally open for better absorption so it doesn’t matter whether you are observing confinement/ normal showering. You must remember to get yourself dried immediately after shower.
Myth 2: Do Not Drink Plain Water
It is believed that drinking of plain water would result in water retention. I am not sure how truth the myth really is since I still consume 1-2 glasses of warm water each day, other than the tradition red date drink. It is important to avoid cold water though as it may caused heavy bleeding or contraction as the womb is recovering.
Homemade Red Dates Drink Ingredients: Dried Longan, Red Dates, Honey Dates and Dang Shen.
Myth 3: Confinement Food
During the 28 days of confinement, one is supposed to replenish the bodily loss during delivery with ingredients like red dates, wolf berries (improve eye sights), ginger (for rid of wind in the stomach) and many others.
For the initial 3 days, I had home cooked food by my mother before deciding to pre-order 14-days of confinement food delivery from Thomson Baby Confinement Caterer (part of the Thomson Medical Hospital / which will be shared in the next blog) to ease my mother the trouble of cooking and the husband of rushing about amidst his busy schedule.
Home Cooked Confinement Food (18-20 April) | Steamed Threadfin with Ginger & Soya Sauce
Home Cooked Confinement Food (18-20 April) | Stir Fry Spinach
Home Cooked Confinement Food (18-20 April) | Air Fry Chicken Drumstick
Home Cooked Confinement Food (18-20 April) | Carrot, Potato & Spare Ribs Soup with Red Dates & Wolfberries
Home Cooked Confinement Food (18-20 April) | Stir Fried French Beans
Home Cooked Confinement Food (18-20 April) | Braised Pig Liver with Ginger
Home Cooked Confinement Food (18-20 April) | Black Chicken Herbal Soup
Home Cooked Confinement Food | Grandma’s Black Vinegar Pig Trotter
It is important to avoid cooling food such as bamboo shoots, bananas, crabs and oysters as they may jeopardise the recovery process.
Myth 4: Consumption of Alcohol
Alcohol such as DOM is commonly included in confinement soup / dishes to promote blood circulation and expel cold. However, nursing mothers should avoid alcohol as it can be passed on to the babies through breast milk.
DOM have a wide variety of chinese herbs included in the recipe. However, do note that it also contain 40% alcohol. Thus, for health benefits, my family recommend that I consume about 15ml (1 tbsp) per day (after confinement period) as it is important not to be alcohol intoxicated.
Myth 5: Consumption of herbal supplements
Every woman have a different body condition. It is important to consult your physician who will tailor the recommended supplement to adjust your body condition back to normal after birth.
Myth 6: Do Not Use the Fan / Air Conditioning
Similar to the reasoning for showering, many believed that you should avoid fan / air conditioning during confinement. However, in the humid Singapore weather, it is simply impossible for me to let the natural wind cool me down. So I do have the air conditioning switched on most of the time. This is to avoid heat rashes and it is too much to bear the stickiness from the perspiration, especially if you are breastfeeding.
That’s all for today.
Look out for my next sharing on my 14-days of confinement food from Thomson Medical Confinement Food Caterer.
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