The Benefits of Confinement: A Guide for New Moms

The key to a successful recovery from confinement is to eat the right foods. Confinement strengthens the bond between mother and baby, and recent protests over strained relationships between children and their parents are a major concern. Healthy relationships can only be created in the initial stages of growth, so confinement is essential to resolve this social threat. The baby will be able to interact with the mother and form a formidable bond.

The period will give you time to understand your baby's needs, how to interpret their cries, and how best to breastfeed. You will also help your baby create a sleep pattern and adapt well to their new environment. We would say yes, it goes without saying that all new moms now need to recover and recharge after giving birth. A new mother experiences significant changes both mentally and physically during pregnancy, as well as after childbirth. The belief here is that the mother has been “cooled by childbirth, and it is necessary to eat” hot foods such as meat.

Many “lockdown” foods have been devised to ensure that these nutritional demands and beliefs are met. As a new mother, I have decided to spend the next 26 days confined to my house. Activities such as washing your hair will be rare or non-existent, touching cold objects and drinking cold water will be avoided, and physical activity, including household chores and walking in the fresh air, will be completely off-limits. I will adhere to a strict postpartum diet of chicken soups and organ meat prepared from Chinese herbs. These practices make up the Chinese postpartum practice known as zuò yuè zi, also called sitting the month or month of labor. While they may sound new and peculiar to some (they did this to me when I first heard about them), zuò yuè zi has been around for centuries and has recently become popular among Generation X and new millennial moms, both of Chinese and non-Chinese descent.

The month of confinement is an extended period of rest for postpartum mothers lasting between 26 and 45 days in which mothers and their babies are confined to their homes and cared for by other women; traditionally mothers or mothers-in-law assume this role of care, but hiring a confinement nurse or registering with a hotel confinement have become new standards in our modern society. The diet during the month of confinement is the cornerstone of this practice and focuses on rebalancing chi or energy force, the balance of yin and yang. Yin, or cold, foods are avoided and specific confinement meals based on traditional Chinese medicine are eaten. While I have decided to hire a Taiwanese postpartum nurse to live with us, supervise this process and cook meals, which I will document on my blog, I was happy to discover that there are meal delivery services in the month of confinement and cookbooks that are popping up for moms to build on these traditions by themselves as the practice becomes more widespread.

The Benefits of Confinement

Confinement is a very important time for you to recover and adapt to a new lifestyle with your baby. You should be careful about your diet and equip yourself with new essentials to feel more comfortable.

However, you should set your expectations with your confinement nanny to avoid any unnecessary frustration during your period of confinement. During this time, you will have to rely on other people, be it family or services such as childbirth, food delivery, lactation consultants, and postnatal masseuses. In the past, mother and baby were not allowed to leave their homes and had to remain strictly confined indoors throughout the entire period of confinement. You need to avoid cold foods throughout the entire period of confinement to help cleanse and unlock the blood and qi in your body. In addition to proper nutrition and proper rest, here are some essentials you need for your period of confinement.

Essentials for Confinement

  • Trusted food delivery services
  • Chinese herbs
  • Proteins
  • Seaweed
  • Black sesame seeds
Some trusted names for Chinese food include Chilli Padi, Tian Wei Signature, Thomson Medical, and Yue Zi Le Confinement, while halal options include Thomson Medical's Resepi Ibunda Confinement Home Delivery and Ummu Fazwill.

The custom of confinement advises new mothers to choose foods rich in energy and protein to restore energy levels, help reduce the size of the uterus and make the perineum heal. A typical Chinese confinement meal can be cooked with lots of ginger and sesame oil, and include foods that will help breastfeed, such as salmon. During the period of confinement, the new mom's food menu is designed to help speed up the mother's recovery from her weakened body. An easy way to ensure that all your nutritional needs are met during this time is to get food delivered in confinement, which delivers meals to your home every day, even on weekends and most holidays. Confinement food recipes are made up of ingredients that Chinese tradition considers beneficial to renew a new mother's body with energy and nutrients.

Finding a Confinement Babysitter

It's much easier if you can find a confinement babysitter that fits your requirements early on rather than suffering conflict and frustration during your period of confinement.

Proteins and foods such as seaweed and black sesame seeds should be included in the mother's confinement diet.

Avoiding Cold Foods During Confinement

Traditionally, Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures believe that moms should avoid chilling food during confinement.

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