Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Confinement 101: Myths or must do?

I've always been rather fascinated about the whole list of dos and don'ts that accompany the practice of confinement. Some seem rather tough, such as not showering for the entire confinement period. However, certain practices, such as ensuring the mother gets nutritious food, seems to be common sense. I've shared about how we've done each confinement differently in my previous confinement post, and this round I thought I'd just ask around to see who did what, and which practices were deemed to be effective and useful.

:: Bath practices: 
Traditionally for the Chinese, showers and baths are not allowed during the confinement period. But with our humid weather, the idea of not being able to shower for one day is just not possible for me! After all, you are not just dealing with sweat, but also leaking milk as well as lochia. I insisted on showering everyday for all four of my confinements, and from what I know, most of my friends did the same. According to my massage lady, many Chinese still do ascribe to the no bath rule during the confinement period. However, showering during confinement did not seem to have any adverse effects on myself or friends. But many friends did state that we have to be careful to only take hot showers, and not bathe too late at night, in case we catch a chill. My mum and MIL also insisted that I blow-dry my hair for the same reasons (I usually do not bother, except during the confinement period).

For the earlier three confinements, I just had regular showers. Some of my friends took herbal baths, which are said to help expel wind and promote circulation. So I thought I'd try those herbal baths for this confinement, to see if they made any difference. To be honest, I didn't manage to do it regularly, as I found that being able to take a shower was already a luxury! Most times I was rushing, because I had to shower, dry my hair, feed the baby and help settle the other kids before the massage lady came to do my postnatal massage. So it was a challenge to add the extra step of preparing the herbal bath.

However, if herbal baths are a must for you, the ones from Mummamia make bath preparation quick and fuss-free. The herbs come pre-packed in a bag that you just need to steep in hot water. There's no need to boil stuff in a pot over the stove, and that makes it much faster and less messy. I found the bags so much easier to use (it felt like I was making myself a giant pot of tea). However, do be careful if you do try squeeze out the liquid in the bag after steeping, as I found the bag sometimes tears if you are not careful. To be honest, I didn't find the baths particularly helpful in recovery, but then again, I wasn't able to take these herbal baths regularly from the lack of time.

:: Keeping the chills away: Many friends I chatted with shared that this was important during the confinement period, and I found out it was true, the hard way! Some friends shared with me how I should avoid frequent contact with water (eg. when washing the dishes), but I brushed those warnings aside. After all, if I didn't wash stuff up, then who would? However, I found that my finger joints started to hurt really bad after awhile, to the point that it was painful to clench and unclench my fists. The pain subsided after I started reducing my dish-washing frequency.

That aside, some friends also reminded me to cover-up well if we were using the air-con. (I know that some folks even avoid using the air-conditioning. Some others even avoid using the fan.) I did try to cover-up, since the weather was just too hot and I found I really needed the air-con (especially since I was downing so much hot soup!). However, there were times when I went to bed without a blanket, thanks to the boys who usually run off with mine to play. Mid-way through my confinement, after a few days of sleeping without a blanket, I found myself having such bad aches in my legs, that I was limping for a couple of days! After that painful episode, I ensured that I wore socks and used a blanket when sleeping in an air-conditioned room.

Some folks would also recommend drinking a certain amount of alcohol to "keep warm". However, I opted not to, since I don't take too well to alcohol and hated the after-effects. That aside, I did follow the advice to blow-dry my hair, and take warm showers though.

I used to pooh-pooh these ideas about catching a chill and keeping warm during the confinement period. After all, you are in Singapore! However, I've learnt that it really pays to follow advice when it comes to this aspect, even though there is no scientific backing to it.

:: Expelling wind: Having a newborn to hold and cuddle is a wonderful experience, but your body post-delivery is usually far from glamourous. Aside from the aches and pains after the labour, there's also the issue of wind and bloating. The stool softeners that are frequently prescribed after birth doesn't exactly help, since I think it does cause a certain amount of gas. I found that post-natal massage was pretty effective in helping with both the wind and bloatedness, and the issue of gas more or less resolved after I stopped consuming the stool softeners.

The Mom Series Confinement Package from Mummamia contains various supplements that claim to help with regards to this issue. The Su Ho Wan pills are supposed to help with expelling wind, as well provide symptomatic relief from headaches, stomachaches and coughs. The Su Ho oil helps with expelling wind and is used to treat muscular aches and sprains as well as stomachaches. The Pai Fong pills are supposed to help regulate menstruation and aid in general health. 

While these were provided to me to try, I was only able to test the pills and oil only once, as baby J had jaundice and I was advised to stay off any traditional Chinese medicines in case the herbs aggravate the situation. They seemed to help with regards to the wind, but I can't vouch for their effectiveness since I only managed to consume the supplements once.

:: Nutrition for nursing: A key feature of confinement is going on a specific diet, which aims to help in recovery post-delivery, as well as promote milk production. My mum cooked my meals during this confinement period, and I think having those nutritious meals and herbal soups really helped (however, we had to cut down on the ginger and herbs due to the jaundice, and I only consumed the herbal soups after Baby J's bilirubin levels were lower). 

One difference during this confinement was that I tried the nursing herbal soups from Mummamia. For my first three babies, I found that my milk only came in after four days or so, and we had to top up with formula after latching for the first four days. However, this round, my milk came in earlier, and we didn't have to buy any formula (we did have to top up in the first two days but the hospital nursery could settle that). I am not sure if this was due to the nursing herbal soups, but perhaps they may have helped in milk production, because I had to stop consuming the soups after awhile due to overproduction! These nursing herbal soups come prepacked, just like the other herbal soups that we tried, and are easy to prepare. 

All in all, I think having the confinement period is a good practice, since it allows the mother to have time and extra help (unless you opt not to have a nanny or other help from relatives/friends) to recover. However, I'd say you don't need to follow all the prescribed practices. Just pick and choose those that work! ;)


Mummamia is offering a promotion for readers of this blog, where you will receive 1 free box of nursing herbal soup (worth $43) with every 30 days worth of confinement herbs purchased (ie. 3 sets, since each set has 10 packets). Just use the code MKGMUM0216 at checkout!   

They are also sponsoring a box of nursing herbal soups for one reader of this blog! To take part in this giveaway, please follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Do note that you have to like and comment on this FB post to enter. For more information, do visit their website and FB page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: We received Mummamia products for purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own. This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or associated with Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Great information for all new mums.
    For me, my mum & MIL just took care of everything. I was like a big helpless dumb dumb back then



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...