My postnatal confinement

As a Chinese, there are so many traditions to follow during the month long postnatal confinement. I always find it ridiculous to follow them. I have done my confinement in a very simple way and received a lot of negative feedback from relatives and friends. They do not understand why I did not follow the traditions.

Some of the popular “rules” are: one must not shower; one has to take a lot of Chinese medicine and herbs, no drinking of water and no fan and air-conditioned are allow during this period. Why does the Chinese practise postnatal confinement? It is because they believe that during childbirth, the mother will lose a lot of blood and ‘Qi’. By doing the above, it will further weaken the mother’s body.

Singapore is a tropical country which has humid and warm weather all year long. Can you imagine a day without shower? I showered myself every day during my confinement, sometime, to the extent of even thrice a day. As a breastfeeding mother, I believe hygiene is the utmost important. How does this no shower thingy starts? It started long time ago from the Northern China as the weather was freezing due to the winter. It is fully understandable if the mother does not shower during winter. I guess I will not shower too if we have four seasons in Singapore. During my Childbirth Education Course I took at Mount Alvernia Hospital, we were told that it is a must to shower every day to maintain personal hygiene. Even TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Eu Yan Seng listed it as a myth. Anyway, my husband’s friend introduced us a body shower gel that is made up of herbs such as lemongrass, peppermint and desmodium caudatum (a traditional Chinese grass). I find it there is no harm in using it so we purchased a bottle to try it out. Each time after shower, it leaves a very strong lemongrass fragrance in the bathroom. I do not know whether it helps to relieve the ‘wind’ from the body, but so far I do not have any problem with it and it is also quite refreshing.

c1The shower gel is from Taiwan. The image is kind of weird isn’t it? 🙂

I did came across someone who said that her baby does not want to latch during feed, and she also mentioned that she did not shower for 2 weeks. I almost fainted. Can you imagine how smelly it is? Anyway, I can’t stop anyone from not going to shower. If you believe not showering is the best option then please go ahead. Please do not ask me not to shower though.

Before I gave birth, my friends and relative recommended me to do postnatal massage as they say it help to contract my tummy after birth. I was convinced by them. However, I am still curious; hence during my follow up appointment with my gynae, I checked with her on the effectiveness of postnatal massage. She told me that there is no scientific evidence to prove that postnatal massage can help in contraction of tummy back to normal size, though it can help to relax the body. It is really up to the individual. So I guess it’s another myth. I decided not to go for it. My gynae was right. In a few weeks, my tummy went back to almost the same size as before I got pregnant. I have gained 16kg during pregnancy and I have already lost around 10kg within the first month. It’s really lucky to lose so much weight, though I still have few more kg to go..

For daily meal, some mummies prefer to look for confinement lady. Some prefer to have their mother to help them, while others prefer to order confinement meals, just like me. I have ordered the confinement food from Natal Kitchen for 28 days. Every day they will send the food directly to my house, twice a day. Below are the photos of the food from them.

Why I choose Natal Kitchen? It is because I delivered my baby girl in Mount Alvernia and they are their business partner. I believe that if the hospital is using their service, I guess they should have a minimum standard. The meal cost me SGD $1,680. They do give early bird at $50 off. Overall, I am satisfied with the food and their service is also very good. They are quite fast in replying inquires. The food I like most is their sesame rice. Their herbal soups are not bad too.

One of my friends said that I did not do a proper confinement due to the food I took. I do not know what is proper and what is not proper. Does those food which I paid for is not food? Are those foods are not cooked by human beings too?
I received many comments from people, even from my own relatives. They are simply too “old school” minded. Super annoyed with the phrase people always like to say, “When you old then you will realise”. When we aged, everyone will slowly change in their health. The food we take has to be moderate. It doesn’t matter how much herbs we took.

There are also many people who tell me not to drink water during that one month period. My jaw really wants to drop to the floor. Those people only took the red dates and “longan” tea for the entire month. I did drink this tea too. Natal Kitchen will deliver 4 cups a day. But do you know that breastfeeding mothers need to take 2 to 3 litres of water a day? I drink plenty of water to keep myself hydrated. Adequate sleep and water is very important for breastfeeding mummies. It helps to boost milk supply. I felt so tried trying to explain to them.

Lastly, I did sleep in air-conditioned room every day. The room can get pretty warm at times. Even my little one feels comfortable in the room. I think she will love me more if I smell nice and do not sweat. I try to do things in moderation. I do not listen to what others say. Since what they say may not be correct anyway. The most important is I feel comfortable in what I am doing. 🙂

c11.jpgMy baby girl at 4 weeks old, started to have expression on her face ❤


2 thoughts on “My postnatal confinement

  1. Macabre Muffin

    congratulations! and your baby girl is super adorable. I’m not planning to follow those myths too, when i’m in confinement. glad to see someone else doing the same. 🙂 all the best on your journey as a mother!


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