The confinement period for a mother after she gives birth is believed to be critical to her well-being and health. The purpose of this month-long phase is to nurture the mother back to her pre-natal state and help regain her lost strength so that she feels well enough to take on the new responsibilities of her young one.
So, what exactly does one do in this period? Here are a few tips to help you through this delicate phase of your life.
Sit When You Drink
Your mother or a confinement nanny must have advised you to sit while you drink. This advice, some people believe, is very important since with age and debilitating muscular strength, it becomes difficult to control urine. Hence, adopting this practice at this stage helps prepare you for any future complications.
Research has shown that the colostrum (the first golden-yellow milk that the baby receives in earlier days of breastfeeding) tends to contain high concentrations of immune-nutrients, which are extremely important for building the baby’s immunity. Be sure to nurse frequently and establish a good and running supply of milk so that the baby gets a wholesome amount of this nourishment.
It is normal for your new born baby to want to be breastfed often and for long periods of time. A good practice in the early days is to form a pattern of breastfeeding for about 10 minutes only, after which the baby tends to fall asleep.
Also, confinement nannies suggest compressing your breasts each time before latching or expressing milk. This helps release any blocked milk ducts and allows a smoother and fuller flow of milk.
To avoid getting sore nipples, position the baby correctly so that he or she latches to the breast properly and sucks effectively. Mothers having inverted or flat nipples must understand the basic technique of latching-on to make things easier. Relax and give the baby lots of time at the breast; in a few days he or she will learn to be breastfed and both of you will feel at ease. Moreover, get at least 2 hours of sleep before your next breastfeeding session. This offers a better supply and saves you from exhaustion.
Addressing Issues with Breastfeeding
Following breastfeeding, engorgement of the breasts may occur between the third and fifth day. However, prompt treatment involving post-natal massage and heat therapy can often cure the problem within 12 to 48 hours. Symptoms such as breast swelling, redness of the nipples, throbbing pain and low-grade fever may be indicative of an infection that needs additional medical treatment. For mothers with sore nipples, applying nipple creams is recommended and it is advised to avoid bras or breast pads made from synthetic fibres.
A confinement nanny will always advise you to look after your confinement diet. Increase your intake of fish, apples, and spinach. Malaysian gynaecologists suggest eating a vegetable called ‘pengaga’ for increasing milk supply. Also, it is advised to avoid taking foods that are ‘cold’, such as cabbage, cucumber, honeydew, orange and watermelon. Certain fishes, including catfish and stingray, should also be avoided during confinement and you should keep away from coffee.
Understanding Your Baby
A crying baby does not always mean that he or she is hungry. Most babies are fussy for the first few months, with tantrums generally beginning in the evening. If the crying becomes uncontrollable and lasts for more than three hours, the baby might have colic. Massaging helps them feel better and sleep more comfortably but getting an expert’s opinion is recommended. Also, babies with jaundice tend to sleep more and should be woken up for breastfeeding as per a specified routine.
There are different opinions on this. The Chinese believe that a woman must not bathe until at least 12 days after she has given birth, whereas some people extend this period to an entire month. For hygienic purposes, however, it is advised that you should just quickly rinse your body with the traditional bathing herbs so that you are clean enough to handle your new born baby without transmitting any infection.
Exercising during confinement vigorously is to be avoided for at least 2 months after a normal delivery, and for at least 4 months after a C-section.
Despite all the guidelines and restrictions, the purpose of the confinement period is to regain your health and bond with your baby. Enjoy this period of rest and relaxation while you make your way to full recovery. An even better idea is to engage a confinement lady in Singapore to accompany you through this journey. It gives you not only an extra pair of hands but also invaluable advice that will help you regain back to health.