Practices have also evolved over time and are quite different from those of a generation ago, especially in Chinese culture. In the nineteen forties and fifties, a new mother used to be confined to her bedroom during the confinement period which begins from the moment the baby is born until the baby reaches full moon or is a month old. She could not wash her hair during that period and could not leave the house for fear of wind entering her body and cause her to have aches and pains later on in life.
The confinement period was an enforced period of rest for the new mother so that she could recover from the ordeal of childbirth and recover her strength. A woman with specialized knowledge of herbs and confinement food is employed to look after the mother’s diet and to look after the baby day and night so that the mother has proper sleep and rest. She will stay with the family for the whole month and is paid a tidy sum for her services. Such services were in great demand and an expectant mother would book way in advance to ensure that when her delivery time is at hand, there would be someone to look after her needs and the baby.
These days, there is some flexibility. After ten days or so, the new mother may wash her hair using special bath water. Her bath is usually water boiled with a concoction of certain herbs that will draw out the wind from her body. No cold water or water straight from the tap is used.
Special food and wine are included in her diet. Chicken and wood ear fungus cooked in sesame oil and lots of ginger and glutinous rice wine is a daily staple. She can take only certain vegetables and fruit such as apples, guava and papaya. She is also given special soups which will promote breast milk production if she is breast feeding. Everyday, free range chicken is steamed with special herbs in a double boiler to get the pure chicken essence. This is especially nutritious and invigorating.
However it can be quite hard to acquire such personalized services nowadays as many of those women specialized in caring for the baby and new mother have retired and are no longer available. A new niche market has sprung up where women entrepreneurs have opened up confinement homes.
These homes offer confinement services to new mothers who want to ensure that they have enough sleep and rest which they may not get at home if they have young children in their families or if there is not enough room in their houses. These homes offer single rooms which give you privacy, or twin bedded rooms. The market price varies from a few thousand dollars to more, depending on the type of room you choose. Everything is taken care of, all meals provided and the baby looked after day and night. Baby diapers and formula ( if the …