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por Reed Tam (2018-10-20)


T.Med Ctr

Asian mothers, especially the Chinese,observe many rules, regulations andtaboos that have been handed down from past generations during the period known as confinement. New mothers and their newborns usually stay home during this period, which lasts for about 28 days. New mothers are given special care and food to help the body recuperate from the trauma of childbirth. Special nannies known as confinement nannies are often hired to help look after new mothers and their newborn.


Believed to be weak and "cold" after the delivery of her baby, the new mother should keep warm with "heaty" foods and wear plenty of warm clothing. She is not allowed to go near fans or air-conditioning as she may catch a chill. In observing this
tradition, both mother and baby suffer the uncomfortable effects of bad ventilation,especially in the tropical heat of Singapore.


The Chinese do not allow new mothers to bathe for a month following childbirth as they may catch a chill and suffer from rheumatism later on in their lives. There is no scientific basis for such a belief. New mothers are recommended to have warm
baths as cold water may bring on muscle cramps. Using herbs, ginger or lemongrass to rid of wind is not necessary.


Despite the traditional Chinese ban on hair washing during confinement, new mothers are encouraged to wash their hair
when they are more stable on their feet after delivery. The worry is that some women may get giddy spells when shampooing and slip. The tradition is that washing hair during confinement allows "wind" to go into the heads and thus lead to headaches later on. This, again, has no scientific basis.


Contrary to the Chinese belief that alcohol increases blood circulation and warms the body, it is not a must after delivery. It does not help to boost your postpartum state and, if you are nursing, it can be transmitted through breast milk to your
baby. Alcohol can appear quickly in the mother's fore milk and jamu kuat dan ngesex tahan lama lama hind milk as well as reduce milk production as it inhibits
oxytocine release. Studies have shown that nursing babies while drinking heavily can

cause developmental delays in the child.


The Malays believe that a pregnant woman's behaviour and emotion affects her unborn child. As such, they are not allowed to attend funerals or harm any living creatures. Otherwise, the baby may be born deformed.

From the second trimester, food jamu like a cocktail of egg yolk, palm sugar,tamarind and secret herbs or pepper,
honey, lemon juice and tumeric taken with secret herbs is believed to be able to clean the womb.

Around the seventh month, a melenggang perut ceremony is performed to correct the position of the baby and for a safe delivery. There are also rituals like rolling the coconut to determine the sex of the baby. When the coconut stops
rolling and the "eyes" face upwards, it is a boy.


The Malay traditional confinement period is 40 days. A bright light burns day and night in the baby's home. Special food and
care is given to restore the mother's health and beauty. Bidan provides full belly massage, therapeutic baths and jamu.

The stomach is wrapped tightly to "shrink" the belly and jamu is used to cleanse any "dirty blood". Burning

charcoal is used to warm the feet and to heat up the "cooling" body after baths. The mother is encouraged to move about the house as too much rest prolongs the dirty blood in the mother's system.

Milk producing jamu are prescribed and fish is usually removed from the mother's diet to prevent fishy-smelling milk. The last part of the Malay massage is known as "realigning the womb" and it can be painful and, if not done properly,

can be harmful.

Be Happy

Share your stress and worries with loved ones and friends. Most mothers start to feel some emotional swings known as "baby blues" around the fourth day of the postpartum period. Talk about your concerns, log onto chat rooms on the Internet, or join hospital support groups.
These will allow you to share with other new mothers the anxieties of having a new baby and the disruptions that it brings.
Make sure that you consult your doctor,nurses or specialists if you feel that the anxieties are overwhelming you.


Indulge yourself in massages (if you had a caesarean delivery, do not massage the tummy), spa treatments and even manicures and pedicures. All these can help you regain a sense of well-being after having been through the traumatic and dramatic process of childbirth. Take time out with your husband without the baby so that both of you can unwind and recharge before going back to the stress and demands of caring for your baby.

Above all, enjoy motherhood.