Although Indian, Malay, and Chinese traditions may have different approaches to postnatal confinement compared to Indian, Malay, or yue sao practices, all have the same goal: to help the mother regain her vitality after child bearing.
This principle is based upon the idea that after giving birth to a baby, the body’s Yin/Yang forces will be “out-of-balance”. Due to the loss of blood and energy, the mother’s body will be at a point where the yin would dominate. The postnatal confinement period is designed to replenish energy and restore the Yin-Yang balance. In Chinese confinement literally means “sitting for a month”. This basically means that mothers can relax and let go of all their routine duties.
The mother-in law would traditionally take care of the new mom. Most Chinese women prefer to hire a confinement nurse for companionship during confinement month. She will take care of the new mom and baby. She will cook and wash the baby’s clothes, as well as prepare the appropriate tonics and confinement meals for the mother. The mother will need to get adequate sleep at night so the confinement nanny can take care of feeding the baby.
Traditional confinement lasts about one month. As the term suggests, the mother is subject to many restrictions during this time. It began from the time the baby was born and continues for the first month. Sometimes, families may extend confinement to allow the mother more time to heal from a Cesarean Section birth.
During the confinement period, there are several rules you should follow:
– Remain indoors as much as you can and don’t go out.
It is forbidden to drink cold beverages or eat too cool or Yin-yin foods.
Avoid exposure to cold elements such as “yin” or the need to wash hair continuously for an extended period. Avoid high-speed fans or air conditioning set at extremely low temperatures.
– A warm, herbal bath specially prepared for you.
Chinese tradition states that if you don’t follow the rules, your body will be exposed to more “yin,” or cold energy. This will lead to rheumatism and related health problems later in life.