More on "Confinement Period"

In the olden days, the month immediately after delivery is considered a time that we've to really cares of ourselves and is call confinement period. This is because during this period the mother's physiological and mentally change. Traditional Chinese, Malays, and even some Europeans nowadays believe than when we take good of ourselves during these period, we will be healthier when we’re old.

According to ancient Chinese text, women who follow the traditions taboos (pantang) during this period are said to be 'doing the month' when the new mothers and her baby are practically confined to their room. Some practice 30 days to 40 days for their confinement period. It is probably from here that the word "confinement" is coined.

The practice of not bathing and washing hair in the old days are understandable because in ancient China everyone has very long hair and it takes a longer time to dry the hair after washing. In addition, most of the old houses are draughty so it is easy to catch a chill whether during confinement or not. Our mothers and grandmothers swear that if we bath during the confinement month you will develop joint pains in your old age. However, the bath water must be boiled and infused with water from boiled herbs. Somewhere over the years someone introduced the tradition of bathing with a whole concoction of herbs in the water such as lemongrass, ginger and some other herbs.

If the newly delivered mother uses up all her energy with strenuous work and is over tired, she will not be able to produce sufficient milk for her baby. Remember, in the old days all babies are exclusively breast fed. Also it takes about 6 - 8 weeks for the body to return to its pre-pregnant state therefore the confinement is to ensure that the mothers properly recovers from the stress of childbirth.

For those of you who are still unsure about the value of traditional practices my advice is that sometimes it may be easier to comply with the elders' advice for the sake of peace even though you may feel very uncomfortable for a few days. Then there will always be this doubt about what will happen if we do not comply to their advise. Later, if we complain of aches and pains we will definitely hear this phrase "I told you so". My advise some of these taboos (pantang) we should follow and some we should not e.g on bathing. Advisable for us to have a quick bath daily, as we need to attend to our baby. Hygiene is most important during our confinement.

We invite expectant mothers to read our blog as Madam Rokiah regularly posts helpful tips, advice and general information she has gained from over ten years of providing post-natal massage.

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