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Dos and Don'ts during Confinement

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  • Dos and Don'ts during Confinement

    As we all know, Asians (esp Chinese) have a lot of rules regarding what you should and should not do during the confinement period. Having lived overseas for a couple of years, I don't really believe in some of the rules. Some of the rules include:

    1. No washing of hair during the confinement period
    I have very oily scalp and it gets super oily when I don't shampoo for two days so there's no way I can go without washing my hair for one whole month! Unless I shave off all my hair perhaps People say 'wind' gets into your head when you wash your hair and you'll get a lot of headaches when you are older. Personally, I don't really believe it so I think I am going to wash my hair anyhow. What do you think?

    My SIL only washed her hair after the first two weeks

    2. No showering and bathing during the confinement period.
    When I was working in a maternity hospital in Sydney, I saw how the women go into the shower soon after they'd delivered and it was encouraged by the midwives too. However, the Chinese believe that you shouldn't shower or bath for at least a month after you've delivered. My SIL only showered after two weeks, I think. She only sponged herself. I don't think I can tolerate this. What did you do, makeupmag? I think I'll take a shower when I leave the hospital.

    3. No eating of food, esp those in the 'cool' category
    Again, this is from observing my SIL. She didn't eat oranges, watermelons, certain vegetables like baby corn, peas etc. I really had to to her as she managed to eat the exact same food for the whole month and not get sick of it.

    There are other rules of course but these are all I can think of right now. Do share if you have more and whether or not you practise them.

  • #2
    I think strictly traditionally speaking (what I was told), we're not supposed to even touch water for te first 100 days (which was later reduced to a month) after delivery. This means no showering, brushing teeth, washing hair, washing face(!!), washing hands even. I was told the reason is because 'wind' from water will 'enter' the body cause aching joints/headaches/backaches.

    Very honestly, I'm gonna jump into my shower and have a good scrub all over the hour I reach home. I mean, after hours and hours of sweating and being in labour, how am I supposed to care for my baby (esp when I'm BF) if I'm covered in a layer of grime, sweat and dirt?

    I'm very glad that my MIL is doing my confinement for me, cause she's not anal about such beliefs at all, and I'm sure she won't bat an eyelid when I shower.

    As for 'cooling' food, maybe I'll restrain from things like cooling tea, but I'll definitely continue eating my fruits because I'm prone to heatiness and I suspect I'll be quite weak after delivery. So I'll need to eat lotsa fruits and veggies to replenish nutrients, its good for health!


    • #3
      Thanks for the feedback, mango! My MIL isn't too anal about these things also though my mum is. I am getting a doula to help with the confinement and hopefully she's not the old-fashioned and naggy time. My SIL had a really old-fashioned one last time and she was always telling her what to to and what not to do.

      I will have my showers when and as I want them and no one can stop me


      • #4
        Ariel, how come your doula helps with confinement? I thought doulas are hired to give prenatal advice, be your delivery companion, and give BF advise after birth? WHat does your doula do during confinement?

        Initially when I heard about doulas(from Mag), it seemed like a good idea, but after speaking to 2 doulas, I decided against having one, cause I have no idea where they fit in. From what I know, they offer advice on prenatal issues(ie, what's normal during pregnancy, what's not, what to expect, etc..), draw up a birth plan for you, and they are also your birth companion during labour. Their 'package' also includes 2-3 post-natal visits to help you BF more effectively or give advise in this area. Thats's what they do right?

        For me, prenatal-advise-wise, my trusted gynea is doing a good job, plus I've been reading up alot, and getting advise from experienced friends/forums. And I don't need a birth plan cause I'll mostly play by ear, and the few instructions I need to leave are v simple ones. Also, during labour, my hubby is already my birth companion and I doubt I want a stanger to be around just to give encouragement. And during labour if the need arises for me to make decisions, my gynea should be able to advise me accordingly. So where does a doula comes in? :huh:


        • #5
          out of curiosity, would you ladies hire one of those old grannies as your confinement 'nurse'?


          • #6
            Originally posted by ataraxia
            out of curiosity, would you ladies hire one of those old grannies as your confinement 'nurse'?
            as in in addition to a confinement nanny? Or you mean in replacement of one?

            For me, I wouldn't, cause older folks usually have many of their own beliefs (especially about confinement) that doesn't quite gel with mine. Plus, my MIL is doing confinement for me, so I'm already in very good hands. Won't need to hire a stranger hanging around my house giving me additional set of opinions.


            • #7
              Oops, when I referred to my doula, I was referring to those confinement nannies. I didn't know that correct term..sorry! We call them 'zuo yue po' in Mandarin which literally translates to sitting month nanny


              • #8
                yeah, that's what i'm talking about! one of those older aunties who help out during your confinement. teach you how to handle your baby, help with housework, and cook special meals for you.

                i think it's a good idea, but a little squeamish about having a stranger in the house.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ataraxia
                  yeah, that's what i'm talking about! one of those older aunties who help out during your confinement. teach you how to handle your baby, help with housework, and cook special meals for you.

                  i think it's a good idea, but a little squeamish about having a stranger in the house.
                  Oh, I see! For me, luckily my MIL is helping me out during confinement period, so I don't have to worry about a stranger in the house. I think I'm a little skeptical about hired confinement nannies because I've heard so many horror stories. Eg, a friend told me that her sister hired a Malaysian (btw, alot of then are malaysian, local ones are hard to find, not as experienced and cost a bomb!) confinement nanny, and because she (the nanny) had many years of experience, she bullied the mum into listening to her about absolutely everything, and was very posessive about the baby, refused to let her or her hubby touch the baby (saying that they don't know how to handle newborns), and refused to follow instructions about how the food is to be cooked (all her confinement food is drenched in thick layer of sesame oil, alcohol and ginger, which is not ideal for a BF mum at all). She also stuck fiercely by the traditional confinement rules and actually locked up the bathrooms so that the mum can't shower. AND hid remote controls for the air-con + fan. Imagine the poor mum was bullied into following all these regulations and more (she's worried that the bad-tempered nanny will be angry and take out on baby) for 2 weeks before she couldn't take it and fired the nanny (and the mum did offer to pay half of the originally agreed fees). But before she left, the spiteful nanny threw 3 bottles of the mum's bottled bird's nest(each bottle worth over $120+) and all the baby's milk bottles down the rubbish chute before she left!

                  Of course not all nannies are like that, but it also seems quite hard to find a good local (I just trust the local ones more) one. Most of them are just average from what I heard, and usually inclusive of the two red packets (one upon arrival, one before departure), they end up costing 2K or more (excluding food and other expenses). And their job is only to cook for the mother and do dishes (alot of them don't even help with housework like mopping, etc). Not very worthwhile if you ask me.


                  • #10
                    *** i heard frm my mother is that after giving birth, its best to find those experienced lady to 'catch the wind' for u. then one will have a healthier body next time. my mum dont have the $ to do this after she given birth n now her body is not so strong. She knew of pple ard her age or older who have done these things n they r stronger. I think this is kinda true.


                    • #11
                      Actually for me...

                      my 1st kid, I didn't get confinement nanny. Mom was helping me, but I had to look after the baby at night and handle some other chores. Also then, I didn't care much about many the traditional rules...... ended up having aching joints!

                      2nd kid, I had a confinement lady... though I don't have to look after the baby at night, but I constantly worried for her being looked after by a stranger.... eventually I learnt to relax. I wouldn't say my confinement lady is fantastic but I at least had a helping hand when I needed one. Also with the 2nd birth I tried to adhere to most traditional rules and somehow rather I felt much betta in terms of health.
                      Just my personal experience.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by VinLongo
                        *** i heard frm my mother is that after giving birth, its best to find those experienced lady to 'catch the wind' for u.
                        catch the wind?


                        • #13
                          Possibly a direct translation. I think it's just those massage ladies, after the session, you supposedly have lots of flatulence and burping to expel hehehe


                          • #14
                            I guess the primary benefit of those confinement nannies is to relieve some of your burden right after labour. From what I know, labour isn't much fun. And adapting to a new lifestyle and being responsible for a child can be extremely taxing and difficult, especially when you're already tired. So having someone experienced help you out might make you feel a little better. Plus the confinement nanny 'pampers' you a little.

                            But like Chris said, some nannies are scary! or just not very good. My aunt got one who was soooooo expensive. But she didn't do anything! just directed the maid around, took long naps, went to bed early, got up near noon, and I think cooked only one meal every other day? :roll: best to find a nanny through friend's recommendations (and preferably a friend you can trust )


                            • #15
                              The confinement nanny that my SIL hired was really old-fashioned so she offered all kinds of weird advice, which my SIL took since she also believed in those old-wives tales. The baby was jaundiced so she advised my SIL to bath the baby with Guiness Stout and Coconut Juice (something that most people here do!). No way am I going to allow MY confinement lady to order me around so yeah, I am going to be one difficult MIL knows this so she'll let me do things my way I think.

                              That particular confinement nanny also liked to put in a lot of water when cooking chicken soup so it tasted really bland. She also put in a lot of water when cooking rice so we had to eat soggy rice for one whole month! She continued to do that despite what my MIL told her. This time around, we are not going to ask her as my MIL has found another that's said to be really good.

                              Usually, the confinement nannies here don't stay over. They come very early in the morning (6.30 am) and wash the baby's laundry, cook breakfast/lunch/dinner for the mother, bath the baby etc and only go home in the evening. We are Foochow so we have this tradition of inviting relatives and friends to the house to 'eat noodles' after a woman has given birth. The confinement nannies have to help out with the cooking and washing as well. I think it's necessary or else my MIL cannot handle all these by herself.