Many mothers or mothers-to-be are often puzzled about the traditional confinement rules and taboos. Here we discuss the Top 4 Confinement Myths and provide further scientific reasonings and suggestions.
Confinement Myth #1 – To Bathe or Not to Bathe
New mothers are advised not to bathe or wash their hair for a month after childbirth to prevent catching a chill and suffer from rheumatism in the later part of their lives. However, there is no scientific reasoning to this and it could also be due to the living conditions in ancient China whereby women had to fetch water from rivers to bathe.
Furthermore, in tropical country like Singapore, in order to observe good personal hygiene, bathing is necessary to prevent build up of germs and sweat or any infection. It is recommended to take warm baths and dry yourself quickly or take hot sponge bath to remain fresh and clean.
You wouldn’t want to be sweaty and smelly when breastfeeding your baby. New mothers should also be encouraged to wash their hair only when they are more stable on their feet after giving birth.
Confinement Myth#2 – Keeping Warm with Food and Alcohol
It is believed that alcohol promotes blood circulation and warm the body. However, alcohol can be transmitted to the baby through breastfeeding and it is proven that drinking excessively during nursing may result in delay in development in the child.
Instead, have a healthy and balanced diet to provide your body with the necessary nutrients. Recommend oatmeal, brown rice, wholemeal bread, plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, and calcium-rich food. Gingers are also commonly used to get rid of ‘wind‘ in the body as the stomach and bowels, which are compressed during pregnancy, are now expanded causing organs to swell up with air and fluid.
Confinement Myth #3 – Saying “NO” to Air Condition
Many believe that new mothers should not come in contact with direct wind and this is true as after childbirth, women tend to be weaker. To keep health and body in tip-top condition, new mothers should avoid receiving direct wind from fan or air-conditioner.
However, the room should be sufficiently ventilated with adequate lighting so as to feel comfortable. In fact, air conditionings are allowed but the temperature should not be too low. It is recommended to keep the temperature between 25°C – 27°C.
Confinement Myth #4 – Eight Glasses of Water Per Day, No?
It is believed that new mothers should not drink water during confinement as it may cause water retention in the body.
However, sufficient fluid is essential to replace the lost fluid produced during breastfeeding. It is usually recommended for new mothers to consume longan and red date tea but it may not be adequate.
Hence, do consume plenty of longans and red date tea but also not forgetting to have plain warm water at times as well.
Apart from knowing about the confinement myths, do not forget to spend quality bonding time with your newborn and enjoy your new stage of life – motherhood.