Singapore is a multi-cultural country that lives in harmony. Within this nation, Asian communities comprise the indigenous Malay people, Chinese, Indian as well as settlers from other parts of Asia such as Korea and Japan. There are also other settlers from Europe, U.S.A and other parts of the world.
With such a kaleidoscope of people, Singapore is home to an array of cultures, and beliefs. Amongst the most popular cultures influencing families are confinement rules for new mothers, and in Singapore, there are quite a few of them.
Several mothers are often baffled about what rules and beliefs to follow. If you are perplexed, consider this your guide to navigating the most important rules concerning hygiene, confinement meals, physical activity and ritual pollution.
Confinement Belief #1 – Don’t bathe with warm water after delivery
Malay confinement rules permit bathing of both mother and child in warm water after delivery. Indian confinement rules are a bit more strict and they restrict bathing to only between 11 am and 2 pm when the daytime temperatures are highest. Chinese confinement rules restrict new mothers from bathing or washing their hair.
In all cultures, bathing is restricted during confinement primarily because of exposure to lower temperatures. This is often associated with rheumatism during the mother’s later stages of her life. However, modern scientific research provides no link between a new mom’s bath and rheumatic disorders.
If you are a new mom in Singapore, here’s a tip, don’t be afraid to take a warm bath. However, avoid exposing yourself to chills as it could cause you to catch a cold.
Confinement Belief #2 – You can drink alcohol during this period
There’s a ton of recommendations and rules when it comes to confinement foods menus. Along with these recommendations and rules, companies have come up with confinement food catering to serve the needs of new mothers.
Most of these confinement meal menus comprise various ingredients which have been tested over centuries of traditions and are beneficial to both the mother and child.
However, some beliefs such as encouraging alcohol intake to ‘warm the body’ and boost blood circulation are not scientifically proven by experts. In fact, this is detrimental for your child’s health and yourself. Instead, focus on consuming healthy and balanced diets which will promote recovery of mother and development of the baby.
Confinement Belief #3 – Don’t do any physical activity
Chinese, Malay and Indian confinement rules concur on the prohibition of sexual intercourse and limiting physical activity. Some confinement rules, such as for the Chinese, take it to the extreme. They restrict new mothers to near full-time bed rest and defer almost all activity to the confinement nanny.
Though new mothers are discouraged from undertaking strenuous physical activities, it is wise to permit some level of gentle exercises for the sake of their own health.
An exercise such as walking promotes blood circulation, healing and muscle restoration. Not forgetting the fact that Malay and Indian confinement rules promote the engagement of a special confinement masseuse whose massaging stimulates the mother’s muscles.
Confinement Belief #4 – Don’t be exposed to the wind and religious rituals
Lastly, Chinese confinement rules prohibit exposure to direct wind. Consequently, windows are closed and air conditioners are turned off where new mothers are.
Whereas it is true that new mothers tend to be weaker, discretion to this rule can be applied. If you are in a room that is full of people, it is better to have the windows open and avoid airborne infections.
Also, Chinese and Indian rules prohibit certain exposures to people and religious rituals. As the rules imply, these are ritualistic pollutions and may vary according to your beliefs.