It's been a long Chinese tradition to do one month of confinement after giving birth. If you ask me, it's like one month of house detention with limited food. No fun.
I wouldn't say I have a strict confinement, but it's definitely restricting.
Confinement procedures [yes, I say it with much formality!] vary in different ethnic groups- different foods and doings. I'd say my mum more or less followed the Hakka tradition for my confinement. These include:
-Drinking red date and longan tea for the whole duration. No plain water. Amazingly the body does survive without one month of plain water though I don't know whether its good or bad.
For the past few weeks I've only drank boiled water submerged with dried longans and red dates.
-Eating foods with cooked chinese wine and ginger. Bleh. Imagine a repetitive menu for one month and everything loaded with ginger. This is suppose to repel wind and help sweat out excess waters.
-No showering. Well, technically I bathe with boiled herbal water. But I'm not allowed to touch un-boiled tap water. Let me tell you now- this is virtually impossible. From washing baby bottles to washing my hands before feeding- how can I not touch tap water?
-No hair washing. Urgh! Maybe this is one of the worst rules ever! It is believed that pores on the head 'open' after giving birth. So exposing these 'open pores' to water will induce headaches and other problems in the future. True or not, I'm not sure.
I know it sounds grose- but I've survived 3 weeks of yucky hair. I think it's becoming a helmet now- stuck on me. And if you need a insect repellant, do visit me! Hmm..or maybe I'm the one attracting the bugs!
-Eating heaty foods. Once again, to expel wind, help return the uterus to its pre-preggers state.
-Lie down when possible to refrain from straining the back. This one I do believe in. I've felt my own spine being more vulnerable after birth. Having said that, a newborn being breast-fed and needy doesn't allow much resting time.
One month of fun huh? I told H if he ever expected me to have another kid, lets skip this confinement ritual.