Today’s modern mums are expected to get back to the swing of things shortly after giving birth. Some are even expected to return to work only days after delivering their baby.
In the weeks following the birth of your child, you barely have time to do anything else as you are preoccupied with feeding, bathing, and caring for your bundle of joy. It gets even more hectic when you’re also hosting visitors who want to get a glimpse of your baby, all while tending to them and completing household chores. Luckily, postpartum confinement is now becoming a trend among new mums craving for rest and recovery.
The practice of postpartum confinement is nothing new. It has long been observed by millions of women around the world, especially in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Europe. Mums usually spend about 30 days resting at home following childbirth, with much of the housework delegated to a close family member or a professional nanny who cooks, cleans, and offers assistance to care for the new baby. During this period, visitors are also usually kept to a minimum.
Women who are not familiar with postpartum confinement are often put off by traditional practices that forbid washing the hair, eating salad, and going outdoors. Today, advancements in technology and education help many women explore modern adaptations of confinement. This is especially helpful to all new mums who are dreading the newborn haze.
Modernised postpartum confinement
There is no hard and fast rule to postpartum confinement. You don’t necessarily have to hire a nanny to do it. Some women enlist the help of their husbands to take control of housework and cook nutritious meals to help speed up their recovery. There are also some who opt for the traditional concept of confinement by doing things like avoiding cold air, water, and food, as well as not washing the hair for the first 12 days.
However, mums who want to opt for postpartum confinement are very much allowed to take baths and go out of the house. They also don’t have to adhere to a strict diet. Many mums try to eat a balanced diet of vegetables and protein to facilitate their recovery.
What’s important is that you have a dedicated time to recover from birth, bond with the baby, and adapt to the demands of parenthood.
“It’s a process that helps the mother, the baby and the father to adjust to one of the biggest changes to family life,” one mum who tried it out told SBS. “I had time to focus on the baby and sometimes he looked after the baby while I slept. I had time to adjust to life as a new mom.”
How to do postpartum confinement your way
There is now such a thing called DIY confinement where you can sample the essential elements of rest, protection from sudden temperature changes, nourishing food, and support from family, friends, and health professionals. According to Chinese medicine practitioner Anni Chien,
“confinement should be customised to fit each mother’s unique needs. The big trend is for new mothers to make some form of modification to better fit in with what they regard as most important to them.”
Chien also says that there shouldn’t be any reason you should give up bathing or your usual diet.
“Modern technologies and our current living environment gives us a lot more flexibility on how we can practice confinement. For example, modern bathrooms can give us warmth even in the middle of winter, so mothers have a lot of freedom relating to keeping their hygiene. Technologies in the kitchen also help us cook faster and to store food safely for longer, making it possible to prepare meals even before the baby is born,” she added.
As for your parenting, Chien says that it’s best to ignore unsolicited advice from other parties and do what’s best for you.
Postpartum confinement should not be baulked at. In fact, it must be encouraged. Mothers undergo a stressful period after they give birth, and they need all the rest they can get to be effective in caring for their newborns.
Want to know more about postpartum confinement? For more advice for new mums and tips for parenting, check us out at Lovee.