About Confinement

All books say that a balanced diet is necessary for breastfeeding. This will include fruits and vegetables and water but I have been strongly discouraged from consuming fruits and vegetables after childbirth. Are these foods really necessary and are they not harmful to my body?

Fruits, vegetables and water are an important part of a well balanced diet. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables daily will help both you and your baby obtain all the important nutrients that you both require. However, some babies are sensitive to certain acidic fruits eating everything in moderation.

According to most Asian cultures, fruits that are considered real tabooed  are watermelon, and pineapples Vegetables that are also frown upon include kangkong, ‘ watercress, cucumber and chillies. We can continue to abide by these traditions and yet continue to consume fresh fruits and vegetable .Apples and pears and small amount of grapes are and green leafy vegetables such as choy sam, kale, French beans and carrots are usually allowed. Fluids of any kind (except for caffeinated and very sugary)

I have been advised not to shower or have my hair washed while I am in confinement. But my doctor says that I can shower or have my hair wash. Who shall I follow?

You can and certainly should keep yourself clean everyday and especially during the confinement or post partum period. The traditional practice has its roots in the temperate climate and also in conditions whereby sanitation was an issue. In a hot tropical country like ours, it is necessary to wash or shower daily to ensure that infections are kept abate. This is even more so if you have an episiotomy or a Caesarean Section. As you will be handling your newborn, you have to ensure that good hygiene is a top priority to reduce infection to the newborn

As Asian and with respect to our elders, we suggest that we ensure that showers and hair washes are carried out during the day and with warm water to reduce unnecessary stress from family. Hair should be dried immediately and thoroughly. 

I was told that my baby and I can only bathe in water that has been boiled and then cooled. But how is my maid to carry all these boiled water all over the house? Can I use the normal shower water?

This also has its roots in the distant past whereby sanitation was a problem. Most of us these days have treated water flowing from out taps. We no longer have to carry buckets of water from the river or the well. River and well water may be contaminated and hence boiling them makes great sense. But with today sanitation, this is not necessary. hence the normal shower water is safe to use. However, to reduce infection to the newborn, we suggest cleaning baby’s face with cooled boiled water for a month or so until the tear ducts are working properly.

About Your Baby

Will attending to my baby everytime she cries spoil her?
It may not be necessary to rush to baby immediately when she cries out. Listen to her carefully. Try to calm your baby by talking to her. This may be all that she wants from you. If however she continues to cry or if she appears to be in distress, pick her up and comfort her. Try to identify the causes of her cries. Attending to your baby when she needs you will actually help build her sense of confidence ands security.

Does crying cause colic?
It is actually that colic that causes baby to cry and not the other way round. Crying is a very necessary action. It is baby’s baby of communicating with you. Listening and watching when and how baby cries will help you to understand her needs easier and faster.