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If you’re Asian, you are probably aware of or at least have heard of the confinement period which almost every new mother will go through right after childbirth. During this period, the mother is often seen all wrapped up in bed under a thick blanket, wearing thick clothing and socks.
This confinement practice is a pretty familiar and common scene in an Asian household with a new mother, including in Singapore. It usually lasts for at least 30 days, but some mothers may opt to extend their confinement to 60 days. After all, more rest, more energy!
Are you thinking of following this tradition of postpartum confinement as well? If you do, here’s how it may look like:
During this time, you will follow special practices and stick to traditional confinement food, which is essential for healing and restoring your lost energy. Every meal in confinement should be prepared using special ingredients with high nutritional value.
Not sure what they are? Below is a detailed outline of the common ingredients used in making Chinese confinement food and the health benefits they provide!
Sesame oil for confinement is like a match made in heaven! Not only sesame is grouped as one of the warm food but it also delicious and super versatile, allowing it to be used in various ways when cooking!
Most confinement nannies or caterers will use sesame oil while preparing confinement meals. Ancient Chinese and Indian healers have been using oil from refined grains to treat conditions like inflammation and constipation.
The oil is rich in minerals such as calcium, iron, and phosphorous. It also has high levels of vitamin E and polyunsaturated fats which are essential in the mother’s body. New mothers have been using sesame oil to improve blood circulation and suppress wind in the body. Its anti-oxidation and anti-depressant properties make it ideal for a mother struggling with postpartum depression.
Have you heard of how mothers are sometimes advised to reduce their intake of water and instead to have more red dates tea as a substitute for it? While the idea of avoiding to drink water during confinement has been debunked and fought against over and over by professional health experts, the fact that red dates tea is what is recommended to replace it is telling.
For mothers who do follow this principle, they would usually take longan red dates tea (red dates boiled together with longan) in place of water both for hydration purpose and their health benefits. Longan red dates tea is not only sweet but also provide different health benefits such as keeping your emotions in check, keeping your body warm, and helping in treating fatigue caused by childbirth and blood loss.
In general, red dates can help replenish your blood and restore your immunity to normal levels. Traditional confinement herbal soups are usually prepared with red dates along with other herbs, and Chinese mothers often consume herbal soup together with the teas to fully utilise the benefits from both red dates teas and the herbal soups to help them recuperate.
The Chinese wolfberry has excellent anti-oxidation properties and helps in nourishing the liver and kidneys. The Chinese have been using it in confinement foods to strengthen the mother’s weakened immunity and boost her energy levels. It also provides an excellent solution to the mother’s blurred vision.
Homemade dishes are almost incomplete without ginger! Ginger is a common ingredient in most Chinese confinement foods, especially in traditional confinement herbal soup. It has high healing properties and is hence ideal for dissipating cold and driving the wind out of the mother’s body. This protects her from severe ailments such as rheumatism and body aches. Old ginger also contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, which are essential for good health.
Longan brewed together with Chinese Wolfberry or red dates is a perfect heating drink, which acts as a substitute for drinking water. The tasty fruit is also used in reducing tension and improving blood circulation in a new mother’s body. Confined mothers struggling to fall asleep can use longan to treat insomnia and reduce their stress levels.
Various Types of Meats
This is probably the part you were really looking forward to come across! Yes, even during confinement, you are highly advised to have plenty of chicken, pork, fish, and beef in your dishes.
Meat provides a perfect base broth flavour to the confinement soups. Proteins found in most meats are excellent sources of energy, especially since you would be trying to restore your body to its previous condition.
The high levels of fatty acids in fish are good for the development of a healthy brain in a young child. Our menu serves a wide range of dishes prepared with various meats to cater a variety of ingredients that are well-balanced and nutrition for confinement mothers. Check out our Confinement Menu
Inevitably, you would most likely lose a lot of blood during childbirth hence the need to eat foods rich in iron such as black beans and animal liver to replenish the lost blood. Black beans also contain antioxidation properties, which are essential in restoring the mother’s health back to normal. Their high concentration of cholesterol-lowering fibre will also increase the circulation of blood in the body.
All in all, most Chinese confinement foods are well prepared to cater to the nutritional needs of a new mother. A lot of the ingredients used have a significant role in boosting the mother’s immunity, restoring the energy and blood levels back to normal, increasing lactation, promoting healing, and driving out the wind from the body.
If you’d like to create your own confinement foods, these ingredients are available in local shops and grocery stores at affordable prices. Try incorporating them in your confinement diet for maximum benefit.
No time for planning and cooking up your everyday confinement meals? We can help! As a confinement meals delivery Singapore service, we prepare a wide variety of fusion and traditional dishes that are filled with these nutrient-dense ingredients! Just drop us a call at +65 6727 5599 to know more about our meals!