Many Singaporeans hold their culture and practices deep within their hearts. One of these traditions is confinement, which is the period after childbirth. The mother has a set of traditional rules, diets and practices that she should follow during confinement period to promote quick recovery and boost energy levels in her body. Some of this traditional confinement food provide nourishment through improving their overall health. However, times are changing, and most confined mothers are no longer following some restrictive traditional practices that have no medical basis. Some of these old confinement myths include:
You should not drink plain water
Mothers are said not to be allowed to drink plain water during the confinement period to avoid cooling down the body. Instead, mothers are advised to take red date tea mixed with dried longan, which has excellent healing properties. These herbs can be considered one of the best confinement foods for any mother, but they will not provide the hydration that comes with drinking water. New mothers tend to sweat and visit the bathroom frequently meaning that they are at high risk of dehydration if they do not take in enough water. Therefore, a few glasses of warm water is essential for the mother during confinement.
Do not wash your head or take a shower
TCM professionals are against cleaning your head or taking a bath during confinement. The traditional confinement experts believe that taking any bath allows wind to enter mother’s body, leading to joint pains and other severe conditions such as rheumatism. However, this will only make the new mother more miserable during the confinement period and increase the chances of catching hygiene-related infections. Therefore, a mother can take a bath in hot water and dry her body as fast as possible to avoid falling sick. Alternatively, she can use water infused with healing herbs to ensure she stays as warm as possible while taking a bath or washing hair.
You should take rice wine to promote blood circulation
Rice wine was one of the best confinement foods in the past, but most people are against its intake today. Relatives would usually boil the rice wine to evaporate all the alcohol content before serving. However, times are changing now, and most people are going for confinement caterers rather than having their mothers or in-laws prepare the confinement dishes. Therefore, you should avoid any food with alcohol content especially if you are not monitoring its preparation. This prevents serious health cases such as liver cirrhosis on your child or worsening any case of jaundice.
You should only eat meat, liver, and herbs
Some traditional caregivers believe in specific foods that are essential to heating the body. Meat and liver are excellent sources of protein and iron while confinement herbs are excellent sources of minerals and body-building ingredients. However, you should not rely on specific foods for your nutritional needs as the body requires a balanced diet to function properly. Remember that your baby also depends on whatever you consume to meets his or her dietary requirements, so you should consider investing a lot on eating well-balanced nutritious food.
Avoid using fan or air conditioner
There is a common belief that the cold air will introduce wind in the body. Therefore, new mothers should not use an air conditioner or a fan even with the hot and humid temperatures in Singapore. However, exposure to very high temperatures may cause heat rash or render you and your child uncomfortable throughout the day and night. You should consider turning on the fan to increase air circulation the room and create a peaceful environment. All this should be done in moderation to avoid introducing a lot of cold air in the house.
Most people will follow these confinement myths to avoid falling sick or introducing wind in the body. However, most of them do not hold any scientific proof; they are just pure allegations. Remember that the one-month confinement period should be a time for you to bond with your child and to relax as much as possible. Mothers would always want to provide as much as possible for their little ones during this period, thus, proper confinement practices allow a mother to recover and increase lactation through a well-balanced lifestyle. Therefore, you should aim at being as comfortable as possible and not obsessing over all the confinement myths of the past.