In China and many other Asian countries, confinement is the crucial period that starts with a baby’s birth and ends about forty days after. This critical time span is both for the better recovery of mothers and proper growth of the newborns. Mothers and their babies are advised not to leave the house during the confinement and are provided with special care by either family members or confinement nannies.
Apart from the confinement tradition, Chinese people also have the tradition of celebrating the first month of the baby’s birth. Many practices are carried out to celebrate the arrival of the newborn and the good health of their mothers. But there are some myths attached to the concept of confinement – mostly by those who are not well aware of this idea. Below are some of the myths about Confinement period that you should keep at bay.
Avoid Showering or Taking any kind of Bath
It is believed that by taking a bath, the mother can cause “wind” to get inside the body, resulting in severe body pain and weakness. This myth is mostly observed by the northern Chinese who think that the wind can damage the bone and result in rheumatism. However, the truth is that cleaning your body with water does not have any bad influence unless the mother uses cold water. Bathing with lukewarm water can, in fact, prevent skin infections and certain types of illness. However, you have to make sure to tap your skin dry as soon as possible after taking a bath.
Not to Consume Plain Water
Another myth related to “water contact” is the belief that taking in plain water can result in excessive cooling of the body or may lead to water preservation inside a mother’s body. The reality is that drinking water can drain harmful substances because new mothers undergo hormonal changes that result in extreme sweating. To avoid any problem, make sure that the water the mother takes is lukewarm water instead of icy cold water.
Avoid Reading anything or Crying
Women are advised not to read because the belief is that the liver, which affects the eyes, is weakened after childbirth. Hence reading may affect the mother’s sight due to the stress imposed on her eyes. The same belief is attached to crying. However, no substantial evidence has been found to support this claim. If that is still a worry, women should eat more healthy food during pregnancy to keep their eyes healthy. This is because childbirth can lead to blood loss, which has negative impacts on the eyes.
Confinement nannies in China do not allow mothers to consume alcohol during their pregnancy because they believe alcohol can disproportionately warm the body by boosting blood circulation. This myth is somehow beneficial to follow – not because of the body warming worry, but it is still best to avoid consuming alcohol at all. This is especially for new mothers who can transfer alcohol to their newborns during breastfeeding. So the safest precaution is to stay away from alcohol beverages and dishes as much as possible.
Another myth attached to the idea of “wind” is that of air-conditioning. Getting under a fan or air-condition is believed to cause wind inside the body. Conversely, the use of fan is important during the hot weather but moderation is required. Getting inside an excessively colder room should be prohibited as it can cause harm. A new mother should also avoid sitting right under a fan as it can harm both mother and the baby.
These myths are mostly based on chinese beliefs and may be practised by your confinement nanny be it true or not. This article aims to alleviate your worries about these myths. After all, the most important thing is for you to be as comfortable and healthy as you can during your confinement period. Feel free to discuss these myths with your nanny; you may end up learning something new from each other!