Tomorrow will be the final day of my confinement month, otherwise known as 坐月子(zuò yuèzi ) in Mandarin. It’s a traditional custom in the Chinese culture that after giving birth, the mum must stay at home, eat certain types of food cooked with the perennial ginger, sesame oil and a good dose of rice wine or DOM and rest as much as possible so that the body can recover from the trauma of delivering a baby.
Supposedly there are some activities that are not allowed during the confinement period, namely bathing (which I insisted and managed to convince my mum otherwise but we had to reach a compromise), eat anything that is cold, salty and even drink plain water (‘cos “they” say it results in more water retention).
Frankly I don’t give a hoot to any of these traditions, but since I am staying at my mum’s place, I got to respect her wishes as long as she respects mine. Anyway I have hired a nice confinement nanny, Aunty Jenny (a year younger than my mum but already a grandma to a couple of grandchildren) , who cooks the prescribed confinement-type food and generally helps me with taking care of TJ. I have learnt lots from her, and although I am supposed to be resting during this time, I still take care of TJ as much as possible so that I will not be at a loss when Aunty Jenny leaves after tomorrow. Btw, if anyone wants to hire Aunty Jenny, please leave a note at the Comments.
The most important thing to me is to be allowed to bathe/shower. I have heard from friends that they know of mums who didn’t or were not allowed to bathe for the entire confinement period. Oh hell, that would be a nightmare… not just for me, but my baby and everyone else around me. Maybe if I was staying in some temperate country or high on a mountain, where the temperatures are low, I wouldn’t need to bathe… but here in sunny S’pore, people do perspire and stink after awhile.
Anyway the compromise is that I bathe with this herbal water that Aunty Jenny has to prepare and boil each morning, but frankly whatever I do in the bathroom, no one knows right ?!? 😉 But yes, I do use the herbal water but only on my body… my hair will still be washed and rinsed off with the nice cool shower. 🙂
Foodwise, I am not so particular, except that it can be quite boring after awhile… there has got to be ginger, sesame oil and the liquor cooked with either pork, chicken, fish or caixin. Nonetheless, Aunty Jenny is a good cook and well, it’s also good that I am eating well and healthy too. Homecook food is still the best. 🙂 Besides, TJ is on breastmilk, so the food that goes into my body matters too.
Some dishes that Aunty Jenny make are:
During the day, my mum and Aunty Jenny will be at home to help me out, but come 1.30pm, my mum leaves for work and will not be back till after 11pm. Still, Aunty Jenny is around and in a way, I will miss the help that Aunty Jenny has rendered, it’s always good to have someone to watch over TJ when I need to nap or express my milk. Just like now, she is trying to calm cranky TJ while, ahem, I take a break and blog this entry.
As Aunty Jenny only comes during the daytime and leaves at 6pm (I pay her $1.8k for the 28 days of confinement not including the amount for daily marketing), I do find it hard at first to take care of TJ after 6pm, imagine a crying baby whose diapers need to be changed, angry that his milk isn’t ready and drats, my breasts feel like 2 rocks cos it’s time to express. But afterawhile, the routine sets in and well, I have more or less gotten used to multitasking and actually enjoy the time I have with TJ, just the two of us.
Besides Aunty Jenny, a good friend had recommended a malay lady (Aunty Khartijah) to give me post-natal massages ($380 for 7 sessions and 2 baby massages). At first I wasn’t so keen to do this, especially the binding that the these malay masseues do to my tummy area. However I reckoned I might as well do it, and besides D said that he would pay for this. I actually enjoy the massages more, the hourly long sessions are something that I look forward to. As for the tummy wrap, I am supposed to leave it on for about 7h, but I can only tahan it for at most 4h before taking it off. 🙂 Again, if anyone wants Aunty Khartijah’s service and contact no., please leave a note at the Comments.
It is amazing how TJ has changed from the day he was born till now, he looks different and has a major attitude. Not forgetting the number of times I have been “hit” by his pee and poo, or both of us falling asleep together ‘cos I was too tired to take him back to his cot and he was too tired from all that crying. It has been good so far, thank God for all the lil’ blessings that come our way each day. 🙂