[email protected] ♦ (+65) 6293 9249 ♦ Mon - Sun : 10:00AM - 7:00PM
In many Asian cultures, the period after a woman gives birth is known as her ‘confinement’. This period, which lasts about 30 to 40 days, is when a mother stays in her home and recuperates after her delivery.
Traditional confinement practices regulate all aspects of life, from a mother’s diet to her daily hygiene. Today, we shall look at the practice of bathing during the confinement period.
We shall contrast and try to understand the different views on this, and how you can best practice bathing if you’ve just given birth.
Bathing during Confinement: Modern Vs Traditional
These days, we understand a lot more about the birthing process and its subsequent recovery process. We also understand the causes of the many discomforts a mother faces during the confinement period.
This modern scientific knowledge has definitely changed the way many women view confinement. Therefore, many of the strict taboo bath practices have been modified to fit our lifestyles today.
Traditional Views on Confinement Bathing
In the past, confinement practices were very strict and it focused on preventing the mother from catching ‘wind’, which is thought to cause many of the aches and pains a mother faces. Wind is also thought to slow the healing process and increase the chances of infection.
Strictly speaking, traditional confinement practices forbid bathing and the washing of hair. This is because bathing is thought to increase a mother’s chances of catching a chill, leading to aches and pains all over her body.
Bathing is also believed to open up the pores, leading to infections and accumulation of ‘wind’ in the body which can cause rheumatism later in life.
Modern Views on Confinement Bathing
Many women these days no longer follow the strict rules of yesteryear when it comes to confinement practices and this is especially true for bathing and washing of hair. We have a better understanding of the importance of cleanliness, and how germs can accumulate on our bodies, hair and hands when we don’t wash up.
Washing is especially important to prevent diseases from being passed to your baby, which can happen when you’re holding them or when breastfeeding. As such, many women these days take regular baths during confinement and even wash their hair.
However, in order to avoid catching a chill, women practice the following steps:
- Bathing or showering with warm water
- Closing all windows and doors when bathing and dressing
- Blow drying one’s hair immediately after bath
- Avoiding turning on the air conditioning when emerging from the bathroom
The Benefits of Taking Warm Herbal Baths
One way to take baths during your confinement is by taking herbal baths. A full time or part time confinement nanny will be helpful during this time as they can help prepare these baths and ensure your safety in the bathroom.
Some of the common herbs that are added to confinement bath water include lemongrass, Chinese Chaste tree and Sembong or Da Feng Ai.
These herbs are boiled for at least 30 minutes and cooled to room temperature before being added to the bath water.
Having a herbal bath during your confinement can offer many benefits, including the following:
1. Soothing aches and pains
There’s nothing more comforting than soaking in warm water when you’re feeling tired and uncomfortable. As a mother who has just given birth, you will face a lot of bodily aches and pains which happen because your body is healing.
Warm water will help to soothe the inflammation your body is experiencing due to this healing process. This is helpful if the pain and discomfort is preventing you from resting properly, and your muscles feel tense all day long.
2. Prevents infections
Being a mum who has just given birth can take its toll on your body. You have to care for your baby, and for yourself too. This often means you lose sleep and be physically tired out.
As your body feels the strain of the first month, it may mean that your immune system feels the stress as well. This slightly increases the chances of infections, and one way of preventing them is to keep yourself clean.
Herbal baths have natural anti-microbial properties, which will help the healing of any post-natal wounds you have, and prevent them from getting infected.
Keeping yourself clean is also important as you don’t want to pass on any germs to your newborn baby. Germs can easily be passed when you’re breastfeeding, or even holding them close.
3. Promotes blood circulation
Good blood circulation is important during your post-natal confinement period because it is the main vehicle by which wound healing is achieved.
A good blood circulation will also help fight off infections, and keep you feeling as energetic and healthy as possible. Therefore, bathing with a warm herbal concoction will really boost your energy levels and reduce lethargy too.
4. Relaxation and stress relief
A lot of your physical healing in the postnatal phase is dependent on your mental health too. One good way of maintaining a great mental state is to manage your stress. Scheduling some ‘me’ time where you pamper yourself will help you relax and feel better all round.
Although you can take your herbal bath the traditional way, which is by scooping water and dousing yourself with it, it would be even better if you can soak in it for some time, as this will help the relaxation process.
Also the aroma from the herbs, like lemongrass, works well as an aromatherapy which promotes restfulness too.
Concluding Words on Confinement Herbal Baths
Herbal baths will help you in various ways during your confinement, as we’ve mentioned. However, you should ensure that the preparation process is done correctly so as to ensure that it has its maximum effect.
For this, you can enlist the help of a nanny agent which will have a confinement lady to recommend. At PEM, you can enjoy adding on a confinement herbal bath package when you book your confinement nanny with us. These experienced ladies will be fully prepared to prepare your herbal bath in the best way possible and help you along your first month with your new baby.