Are These Bizarre Asian Confinement Practices Real? Singapore Mums Share Their Thoughts

Ally Villar
·5-min read

You might have heard of a few postpartum confinement practices and myths from your friends or family. They may even have given you advice on what to do and what not to do after giving birth. But to what extent should you follow these ‘rules’?

According to the Ministry of Social and Family Development, confinement practices are actually common in Asian countries. This period is meant to protect the health of both–mummies and their newborns. Therefore, both scientifically and traditionally new mums are advised to practice them.

So to what extent are these still practised in our little island of Singapore? Netizens from the little red dot shared their experiences on the subject.

Reddit User’s Viral Post Asks New Mums About Postpartum Confinement Practices

Image source: iStock

A Reddit user named MangoDangoLango, recently uploaded a post asking, “Do mothers adhere to these traditional practices due to the fear of consequences and elder’s influence? In this day and age, does anyone know how much truth lies in these practices?”

The Redditor mentioned how they’d heard of a few confinement practices. These included no showering or not washing hair for a month, continued consumption of ginger in every meal, wearing long sleeves and socks at home while the windows are closed, and so on. The user also noted that most people believe that breaking these rules will subject new mums to health problems such as chronic headaches and arthritis.

The user was curious to know if any of these were true and if they were still being followed. Not surprisingly, many Singaporean mums answered this question!

To What Extent Is Confinement Practiced In Singapore?

what not to do after giving birth
what not to do after giving birth

Image source: iStock

The post garnered a lot of attention from new mums and netizens who left comments and opinions on the matter. They also shed light on what mums should really do and/or what not to do after giving birth.

1. “Don’t think p[eo]ple are as strict about this these days.”

While postpartum confinement practices are common for Asians, user meddkiks says mummies nowadays may not necessarily follow the rules.

“The most I hear is about having confinement nannies or getting confinement meals delivered for a month,” she wrote. “And also postpartum massages,” she added.

2. “Most ladies I know do a modern version of confinement.”

User IDreamMonoISeeChroma says that mummies in Singapore still loosely practice confinement after giving birth. Since “you’re gonna need a hell lot of rest when you have a baby crying for milk every 2 hours while you’re stitched up in your sensitive parts and heavily bleeding for weeks. Even worse if you had a c-sec, the recovery period is longer.”

For mummies who want to get that much-needed rest and relaxation after pregnancy, the Redditor mentions that medicinal herbs can help. She added that there are “confinement nannies” who can prepare baths for you as well as help you throughout.

“All you want to do is rest as much as you can,” the user concluded on a supportive note.

3. “How strictly the old-school rules are followed will depend on the individual as well as how much pressure they get from moms, moms in law, the nanny etc.”

Pointing to the demographic of r/singapore, Reddit user hucks22 told the author that she won’t be getting the answers he had hoped for. He explained, “The vast majority of my (Chinese) female friends (and my wife) did – and still do – postpartum confinement.”

He also added that, “Our nanny was super practical and reasonable, so none of that no washing hair/no air con crap. She did advise my wife to shower in the day instead of at night though, which isn’t hard to adhere to. The nanny also prepared nutritious and nourishing meals for her.”

4. “Most people I know do observe at least some of the traditions. I didn’t, and don’t know how people do it.”

Redditor tarothepug shared that she didn’t follow them at all and was not bothered by these rules.

“I took a shower as soon as I could after giving birth, and went out to eat and shop—it’s easiest in the first month when [my] baby sleeps through the entire outing,” wrote the user.

She added, “I also ate sushi and unpasteurised cheese while pregnant (with my doctor’s blessing) after realising that many Japanese and French women do it too, and they’re fine.”

5. “Can’t be bothered, didn’t follow.”

Reddit user xpricklyheatx finds that these practices may “easily trigger postnatal issues.”

“Imagine your hormones all over the place. Getting nagged at for showering, not wrapping up or drinking water (some are v strict only red date water or warm water). Post[-]birth pains are real down there and the constant cramping… It’s seriously uncomfortable enough without all this,” he elaborated.

He added that having a confinement nanny along with following the strict meals would only add up to “the cost of having kids.” His wife also didn’t want to spend a part of her maternity “arguing with someone abt food and baby care after she heard ab[ou]t how hardcore some of these nannies can be.”

“I cooked soups, steaks, we ordered in and made sure she had a balanced diet. I took the night shifts and helped wherever. We survived it,” he wrote.

Well, that question seems to have left new parents divided. What about you, mummy? Did you follow these postpartum confinement practices or planning to in your next pregnancy?


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