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Top 8 Postpartum Confinement Myths Debunked for Parents

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Published on
22 January 2021

Top 8 Postpartum Confinement Myths Debunked for Parents

The postpartum period for mothers is an important time for them to rest and recuperate. In fact, there is an ancient Chinese saying that goes: “Eat well, sleep well, nothing is better than sitting the month well". 

But what exactly is the postpartum confinement period?

What Is Postpartum Confinement: Postpartum Confinement Meaning

Postpartum confinement is a one-month period of dedicated care and support for new mothers. Its main goal is to provide an environment that facilitates healing, recovery, and adjustment after childbirth, ensuring the well-being of both the mother and the newborn.

Traditionally, postpartum confinement involves specific practices and rituals that vary across Chinese, Malay, and other cultures, as well as family traditions. These practices often include dietary restrictions, specialised herbs, warm baths, and specific care routines for the mother and baby. 

While some aspects of postpartum confinement practices may be rooted in cultural or traditional beliefs, it is important to note that not all practices are supported by scientific evidence. There are also many misconceptions and confinement myths surrounding this phase, which can lead to confusion and unnecessary stress. 

Now that we’ve understood what is the postpartum confinement period, let’s debunk eight of the top confinement myths to help parents navigate this transformative time with confidence.

Confinement Myth #1: Confinement means complete isolation

One prevalent myth is that confinement requires new mothers to be isolated from the outside world for an extended period. 

Fact: While it is important to prioritise rest and recovery during the postpartum period, complete isolation is not necessary. It is beneficial for new parents to have a support system in place, including family, friends, or even a confinement nanny. Social interactions, within reasonable limits and with proper hygiene precautions, can be helpful in combating feelings of loneliness and providing emotional support.

Confinement Myth #2: The confinement nanny should only be for 28 days

Another misconception is that confinement should last for only 28 days. 

Fact: The duration of the postpartum period varies significantly for each individual and family. While the standard 28-day confinement period is the norm in Singapore, some mummies may find it too short especially if their bodies require more time to recover from childbirth. 

Moreover, many first-time parents are also navigating the challenges of parenthood during this time, making it difficult to grasp all there is to learn within just one month. As the confinement nanny departs after the 28th day, some parents may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take next. 

We highly recommend considering additional help during the newborn phase, ideally up to three months, to ensure a smoother transition into parenthood. This extended support period allows parents as to gradually learn the ropes of parenting, gain confidence, and feel more empowered and well-prepared to meet their baby's needs effectively.

Confinement Myth #3: Only traditional practices are effective during confinement

Traditional practices during confinement can vary across cultures, and while some of them may have beneficial aspects, it is important to differentiate between helpful traditions and outdated practices. 

Fact: It is not wrong to follow certain dietary restrictions that are based on cultural beliefs, but it is crucial to prioritise a balanced and nutritious diet that meets the mother's nutritional needs. Consult with healthcare professionals can help determine which practices are safe and beneficial for both the mother and the baby.

Confinement Myth #4: Avoid consuming plain water

Some believe that drinking plain water during confinement will result in water retention, leading to a decrease in body temperature. This is said to allow "wind" to enter the body.

Fact: It is important for mothers, especially those who are breastfeeding, to maintain proper hydration. An average adult requires eight glasses of water per day, and breastfeeding mothers should consume at least that amount if not more. To meet their hydration needs, mothers should drink at least one glass of water after each breastfeeding session, which occurs approximately eight to ten times a day.

Confinement Myth #5: Don’t shower or bathe

Others also believe that coming into contact with cold water will invite "wind" into the body, leading to various ailments later in life, such as chronic headaches and arthritis.

Fact: Maintaining good personal hygiene after childbirth is crucial, especially in Singapore’s warm weather. It is particularly important to keep the perineum (the area between the genitals and the anus) clean and dry to promote healing and prevent infections.

Confinement Myth #6: Wear warm clothing and avoid using fans or air conditioning

It is commonly advised that mothers must wear long and thick clothing as well as avoid using fans or air conditioning during the confinement period. Similar to the above, this is for them to keep warm and prevent the entry of "wind" into the body.

Fact: A mother's hormone levels undergo changes after giving birth as her body adjusts to no longer being pregnant. These hormonal changes can lead to fluctuations in body temperature. Mummies may experience increased sweating as the body eliminates excess fluids, disrupting sleep, causing irritability, and impacting overall well-being. 

Manage postpartum sweating by staying cool, wearing comfortable clothing, and drinking an ample amount of water. A cool, constant room temperature, such as an air-conditioned room, is ideal for mothers. 

Confinement Myth #7: Postpartum depression is just the "baby blues"

Postpartum depression is a serious condition that affects many new mothers, and it is crucial to distinguish it from the common "baby blues." 

Fact: While the baby blues typically resolve within a couple of weeks, postpartum depression is a more prolonged and intense condition that requires professional intervention. It is important for parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, seek mental wellness help when needed, and not dismiss it as a temporary emotional state.

Confinement Myth #8: Consume alcohol during the confinement period

The last prevalent myth during the postpartum confinement period is the idea that consuming alcohol is hard-no for breastfeeding mothers.

Fact: While it's true that excessive alcohol consumption is not recommended, moderate alcohol consumption is generally considered safe during confinement. However, it's crucial to consult with your doctor or a healthcare professional regarding the permissible limits and to ensure it doesn't interfere with any medication you may be taking.

Alternative: Enjoy a glass of wine or your favorite alcoholic beverage in moderation, ensuring it doesn't affect your well-being or breastfeeding journey.

Nanny Knows Best: Debunk These Confinement Myths With NewBubs Confinement

The postpartum confinement period is a time when new parents need the most care and support. It is crucial for parents to separate fact from fiction and have a clear understanding of what to expect during the postpartum confinement period. 

Still unsure how to care for mother and baby? Why not engage a confinement nanny from New Bubs Confinement? Our nannies are professionally trained, bringing a wealth of medical and cultural knowledge that can be beneficial during the postpartum period. They are also familiar with specific dietary restrictions and traditional remedies that can fully support mummy's recovery and well-being.

Let us help you find the right nanny at our one-stop confinement agency in Singapore! Besides our transparent pricing and unlimited replacements, we also offer confinement herbal packages and postnatal massage packages. Get in touch with us today to find out more!

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