What NOT To Do When Planning Your Confinement Diet

What Not To Do When Planning Your Confinement Diet - Tian Wei Signature

As a mother who has just given birth, your confinement period is a time of rest and healing. That’s why a proper diet is important during this particular period. 

Traditional confinement food encourages the consumption of ‘heaty’ foods, particularly ginger. This is believed to rid the body of ‘cold’ elements, which causes aches and pains. 

Meanwhile in terms and nutrition, you would also need to ensure your confinement diet is well-balanced with a variety of ingredients that can boost your recovery and breast milk production. When planning your confinement recipes, here are some of the  things to avoid:

Not eating enough fruits and vegetables

A common myth in the traditional Chinese confinement diet is that mothers shouldn’t consume fruits and vegetables after giving birth. This is based on the belief that vegetables and fruits are “cold” in nature and would cause discomfort to the mother’s weakened body. However, this saying is actually untrue! According to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, there are some vegetables and fruits that are more neutral in nature. Furthermore, the temperature state of vegetables and fruits can be changed once it is cooked with another food ingredient that is more warming like ginger, thus making vegetables that are cooler; more neutral in nature. 

Having fruits during confinement as well as vegetables is a great way of getting essential vitamins and minerals to boost your postpartum recovery, this additionally helps in boosting the nutrients concentration in your breast milk to help with your baby’s growth. 

According to the Singapore Health Promotion Board, you should fill at least half of your plate with vegetables in every meal and have at least two servings of fruits per day.

Hence, even if you’re following traditional Chinese confinement practices, you should still incorporate fruits and vegetables in your daily meals. 

Some of the best vegetables for confinement diet include tomatoes, Shanghai green, snow peas, kai lan, pumpkin and spinach. As for the fruits to eat during a traditional confinement, apples, bananas and papayas are great choices. 

These foods are rich in Vitamin C to promote your wound healing after natural or caesarean birth, as well as to boost the vitamin C concentration in your breast milk. 

Taking excessive caffeinated, carbonated, and cold drinks

As a new mom, it’s often a challenge to get enough sleep, especially during the first few months. At times like this, a caffeine boost might sound like a really good pick-me-up. 

However, the caffeine in drinks like coffees and colas can make its way to your breast milk thus when in excess, these may potentially cause irritability in your baby. Sodas aren’t really a good choice either, as drinking them can introduce gas into your stomach, making you feel bloated and gassy. Rather than coffee or sodas, go for plain water, herbal soups if you are thirsty.

Aside from caffeinated drinks, having cold drinks during a traditional confinement is also not encouraged. While there is no substantial scientific evidence to prove that having cold drinks is indeed harmful to a postpartum mother’s health, you are encouraged to drink warm drinks only after delivery for the following reasons. 

First of all, it is traditionally believed that having cold drinks after delivery is likely to cause discomforts like cough and cold, especially when your body’s immune system is weaker after delivery. 

Furthermore, having cold water is also believed to slow down your digestion and cause your body to produce more gas. Bloatedness may seem like it puts additional pressure on the caesarean wound, making it more uncomfortable for the mother

Last but not least, having warm food and warm water has always been perceived as comforting and supporting recovery. For example, when we are feeling unwell, having warm meals and drinks tend to make us feel warm and better.

You May Also Read this : What Food Should You Avoid In Your Confinement Period

Going for unhealthy snacks and processed foods too often

It’s alright to snack during your confinement period. However, you should always choose healthy snacks like nuts, dried fruits and plain cereal. 

Try to limit  intake of sugar-laden or salty snacks. Snacks like potato chips and candy can fill you up, but aren’t really nutritious but high in calories. It helps to read labels and find out whether a certain snack you want has any added sugars or salt before you buy them too, so as to ensure your snacks are as natural as possible.

While avoiding unhealthy snacks during confinement might come across as a no brainer for you, remember to cut down on processed food too. These include frozen food like dumplings, sausages, pickles, and canned foods like luncheon meat. 

Processed foods tend to contain high amounts of preservatives, salt, oil, sugar and other additives. Overconsumption may slow down your healing process due to the lower nutritional value of these foods. 

Consuming too much hot and spicy foods

Any spicy foods you take, especially in large amounts, can affect the taste of your breast milk for your baby. Although a small amount, like some sliced chillies on your steamed fish or a bit or turmeric in your sauce might not do much harm, eating very spicy foods for every meal may irritate your digestive system and provide discomfort

When spicy foods are concerned, moderation is the key. 

But why all this caution?

After pregnancy, mothers need to be especially mindful of their diet as their bodies are still in a recovery state. 

Eating well-balanced meals including proteins, complex carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins helps to replenish all the nutrients that were depleted during the nine months of pregnancy. 

Making sure to eat enough fibre is also important as it encourages bowel regularity which is helpful for both new and established moms. Additionally, limiting frequent intake of sugary and salty snacks, processed foods should be prioritised.

Nutritious eating isn’t just beneficial to nursing mums; it sets a positive example for the baby too — who will eventually be exposed more and more to different types of food and flavours through breast milk — by teaching them healthy habits right from the start. Some effects of a poor-quality diet after childbirth include:

Lower quality of breastmilk

If your baby is breastfeeding on low-quality milk. This is because some micronutrients are dependent on the mother’s daily intake. If there is inadequate intake of these nutrients, there would be inadequate levels of these nutrients in the breast milk. These essential micronutrients are vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin D, omega 3-DHA, choline and iodine. These are nutrients that play various role in the development and growth of the baby. 

Epigenetics ( higher future health risk of your baby in adulthood)

There is increasing research and evidence on the impact of nutrition and lifestyle on the first 1000 days of life of our little ones. This means what you do and eat from the day your little one is conceived in your womb until your baby turns 2 years old; it all affects the likelihood or health risk of having obesity, diabetes or heart disease of your child in adulthood. That is how impactful a mother’s diet can be! So it is important for mothers to eat well during this time not just for her recovery but for her baby too!

Higher risk of developing food allergies

If there isn’t an intentional decision to have a diet that is of wide variety in cuisines and all types of food allergens, then it may put your baby at higher risk of developing a food allergy. Some of the allergenic foods are wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, dairy, seafood, fish and sesame seeds. Early exposure to allergenic foods helps to build tolerance and reduce risk of developing food allergies in later childhood. This early exposure starts as early as during pregnancy up until your baby turns 2 years old!

Infections & Slow recovery

A poor diet that provides you with empty calories will not be able to provide you with all the different nutrients to support your recovery. You will be at higher risk of nutritional deficiencies which will impair the rate of your recovery. Unresolved, your body may have delayed wound healing; The longer the wounds do not heal, the higher risk these wounds would be infected. 

Poor Skin Health and Dull Complexion

Oftentimes, our body reflects our eating habits and our lifestyle. Your skin condition is a reflection of your nutrition status. If you do not eat adequate vegetables, your skin may look more dull and pale than one that eats adequate fruits and vegetables daily. UV rays from the sun, free radicals from the environment and metabolic processes in our bodies are what ages us faster. The only way to reduce the rate of ageing in our body’s age, functionality and skin health is by having adequate antioxidants which are found to be rich in our fruits and vegetables! So eat your vegetables and fruits!

Closing Words

Traditional food during confinement and confinement food recipes that are well planned out and varied can be beneficial for both you and your baby. 

You can consider having them prepared and delivered to you by a professional confinement caterer in Singapore so that you can kick back and focus on regaining your strength.

Best Confinement Foods for You and Your Newborn
Best Confinement Foods for You and Your Newborn

  • Tian Wei Signature

    We are a team behind the leading confinement food caterer who understand the importance of a well balanced diet to help mothers recover properly post-delivery. On top of preparing nutritious confinement meals for mothers, we work closely with our in-house dietitian to research articles and scour the internet to put together a library of dietary knowledge to help mothers along in their confinement.