The modern Asian woman faces a dilemma when expecting. Does she follow tradition like so many before her and follow confinement rules verbatim, even though they may conflict with today’s world? Or does she ignore tradition and do what is convenient? Maybe the modern woman can have the best of both worlds. Here are ten confinement restrictions that can be compromised for your convenience;
1. Washing hair
There are a couple of different options to get around this restriction without breaking tradition. You could wash your hair with dry shampoo, cut hair very short right before birth, or even tub some baby powder on the roots which will soak up the grease. It’s not the same as washing it, but your hair and scalp will feel better!
2. Air conditioning and fans
Getting around the air conditioning/fans or any other cool air might be very important during very hot days in the house. Pointing the fan or air conditioner away from you and ensuring that the rooms do not get so cold that chills come on keeps tradition without making mum miserable.
3. Leaving the house
Staying inside during confinement can cause cabin fever for mum, especially if she often left the house before baby. To help with this problem, try letting lots of light into the house by opening curtains. If the weather is warm outside, a window can be opened as long as wind does not come in.
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This confinement restriction is not only tradition, but also a matter of health. Sexual activity before confinement ends can cause multiple problems for the mother’s health. This doesn’t mean that cuddling and romance has to go too, but sex should always wait.
5. Reading and watching television
If mum cannot read, watch television, or even get onto the computer, then what can she do for the period of confinement? Rest! Rest is much recommended as pregnancy, labour and life with a newborn is very taxing on mum. Take advantage of the help and rest!
6. Water and cold drinks
Fluids are needed to recoup from childbirth and to keep milk supply built up. To follow tradition but still keep hydrated, try to get fluids from soups and teas. Hydration doesn’t just need to come from water; any fluids will do.
As with sex, lifting is not only against tradition, but also is a matter of health for mum. If something is needed lifted or moved, enlist in the help of anyone else. Muscles have already been weakened and changed, so they need to heal, otherwise they will tear very easily and make recovery much longer.
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The bad news is that not bathing for 40 days or so does not fit with our culture anymore. The good news is that during confinement, mum will not be doing much of anything that will make her really require a bath. Since she will not be moving, lifting, having sex, or cooking, she should not require too many baths. If cleaning is absolutely a must, sponge baths are acceptable as long as mum does not catch a chill and is dried and warmed immediately.
Tradition says that mum should stay in bed most of the confinement period. However, mums today are much more mobile and on the go, so it is hard to follow this restriction. Again, rest as much as possible. Mums will be glad they did. If duties absolutely require leaving bed, make it as quick as possible and return to resting when done. Do a little at a time, but mum will feel much better in the long run if they rest while they can.
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10. Bare skin
Tradition says that mum should wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks to prevent any chills among other reasons. Unfortunately, during the hot months, this might make mum miserable and possibly even sweaty which breaks the sweating restriction and also tempts mum to bathe. To get around this restriction, find very light and breathable fabric if possible. If confinement is during colder months, the restriction will probably be easy to follow.
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