It goes without saying that new moms need time to recover and recharge after giving birth, which is why nearly every country and culture around the world has some form of maternity leave. The traditional Chinese custom of confinement after pregnancy is called ‘sitting the month’ and it involves a month-long rest period for mom and baby. While some modern mothers are opting out of the practice, there are actually some great benefits to postpartum confinement.
What does Confinement After Pregnancy Involve?
The Chinese custom of confinement involves mom and baby staying inside for a full month after the baby is born. During this time, a family member or nanny moves in or visits every day to help prepare nourishing meals and Chinese medicines, care for the baby, and clean up around the house. According to customs, new moms in confinement should avoid cold weather, wind and bathing (except with special ginger water), as these could allow illnesses to enter the body.
Benefits of Postpartum Confinement
The most obvious benefit of a confinement period is that it allows new mothers time to recuperate after giving birth. A typical confinement diet consists of healthy vegetables, grains and proteins, as well as plenty of fluids that help the body heal and recover. Some moms are also treated to pampering ginger water baths and postpartum massages to put the body and mind at ease. In addition, having someone to help out around the house and give advice on how to care for a newborn can do wonders for your state of mind, as the first few weeks can be stressful, especially for first-time moms.
How to Make the Most of Your Confinement Period
1. Enlist Help
If you come from a Chinese family, then you probably already have a family member ready to help out during your confinement period. If not, you may want to consider hiring a confinement nanny. Here in Singapore there are a few certified agencies like Nanny SOS that offer confinement nanny services by professional nannies who are trained and experienced in postnatal care, first aid, TCM and nutrition.
2. Be Good to Yourself
As a mom, your first instinct will probably be to focus entirely on your new baby, but to give the best possible care to your little one, you have to be at your best as well. Try to take some time out just for you. Listen to what your body needs and don’t be afraid to pamper yourself a bit. If you don’t have the money to hire a confinement nanny, make sure you are eating well and getting the rest you need.
3. Go With Your Gut Instinct
Every mother is different, so what works for some women during confinement may not work for others. Do what makes you feel comfortable and what makes sense for you. For example, if you want to take a long bath or a stroll outside in the fresh air, there is no reason you have to follow every single rule to the letter. After all, the confinement period is all about doing what’s best for you and your baby, and as the saying goes, ‘mother knows best’.