6 Confinement Myths that you should know

Confinement Food

This is Daddy’s first post … got to share this because some people believed too strongly in confinement myths to the extent of making it a hell month for the mother. Well, not in my house! My wife shall be allowed to make her own informed decision about the “rules” of confinement.


In TCM, a woman loses large amounts of Qi and blood during childbirth, putting her body in a “cold” phase. This is why Chinese culture recommends a month-long period of “confinement” for the new mother. These weeks of rest and a modified diet are intended to restore the mother’s balance and return her to full health.

While certain confinement practices are common, it’s a bad idea to follow them blindly. Discover the truth behind the myths from a TCM perspective.

Myth: Do not drink plain water

This comes from the belief that drinking plain water causes water retention or will cool down the body too much.

The truth: There is no harm in drinking plain water. In fact, because new mothers tend to sweat heavily because of hormonal changes, they have all the more reason to drink water and keep hydrated. However, new mothers should be encouraged to drink warm water instead of cold water.

Myth: Consume alcohol

Drinking alcoholic beverages or eating dishes cooked with alcohol is thought to boost blood circulation and warm up the body.

The truth: It is correct that alcohol is used in TCM to expel cold and promote circulation. That said, new mothers should not regard alcohol as essential to their recovery. In fact, nursing mothers should avoid alcohol, since it can be passed on to their baby through breast milk.

Myth: Do not shower or wash one’s hair

Contact with water is thought to cause “wind” to enter the body and lead to headaches and rheumatism later in life. This taboo may have originated from northern China of the past. Since water quickly became freezing because of the cold weather, it was easy to catch a chill from bathing.

The truth: It is perfectly fine to continue one’s bathing habits. Besides maintaining personal comfort, regular bathing helps prevent skin and wound infections. However, the mother should not bathe with cold water. She should also dry her body immediately after bathing to prevent exposure to cold air.

Myth: Consume plenty of herbal supplements

Since childbirth drains a woman of Qi, it is recommended that she stock up on specific herbal soups and dishes that boost energy and blood.

The truth: Since every woman’s health profile is different, she may not benefit from the same remedies that help others. It is better to consult a qualified TCM physician for personalised advice and treatment.

That said, one dietary recommendation can be generalised to all new mothers. In TCM, it is best to avoid cooling foods during confinement. Eating such foods carry a risk of harming one’s Spleen and Stomach and hampering recovery. Foods to avoid include bamboo shoots, bananas, crabs and oysters.

Myth: Do not read or cry

Childbirth is thought to weaken the Liver, which is linked to the eyes. Therefore, one should avoid putting stress on the eyes by reading or crying. Otherwise, one might experience eye problems later in life.

The truth:There is no basis for the belief that reading or crying would lead to eye problems. However, TCM experts do hold that the large loss of blood during childbirth may weaken the eyes. This is because blood is related to the Liver, which is associated with the eyes. Regular consumption of Liver-protecting foods, such as Chinese Wolfberries, would help maintain eye health.

Myth: Wear warm clothing and do not use fans and air-conditioning

As with bathing, any exposure to cool air is said to cause “wind” to enter the body and lead to health problems later in life.

The truth: The key here is moderation. The new mother should do what makes her comfortable. In a hot and humid climate, fans and air conditioners may even be essential for preventing heat rash. However, the new mother should not let the fan or air-conditioner blow directly on her

shopping list

Week 18 Day 6.

Trimester 2 have been great so far, other than the aches and pains from the growing belly, the nausea has disappeared. it is the time where most mummies find their energy back to do the baby shopping. we went to hongkong/china recently for a short trip and i wasnt thankful at all for all the stairs we had to climb at the MTR stations. it was crowded and human traffic was bad. i couldnt take my time and had to rush up or down the stairs. it ended up with super bad back aches at the end of the day. my feet were also dying and i couldnt feel them anymore after the trip.

the thing about being pregnant and sitting an airplane…… the economy seats were too uncomfortable. we took scoot. our flight were past midnite there, and when we came back it was early morning. so i wanted to snooze badly but the design of the seat didnt allow me to snooze much, soon my tailbone was aching and there wasnt space to stretch my legs. oh well, i guess if we had to go for another trip, i would opt to upgrade to the biz class seats on scoot! haha…  oh yes and the air in the airplane was so dry, i felt my nose going to drop off any moment.

but overall, it was a good trip, we managed to get some goodies for our babygirl. we bought pyjamas and socks, about 11 items for SGD$37. it is not bad right?

we heard about the takashimaya baby fair happening now, and we heard good things about it. that the deals were worth going for and we decided to take the plunge to brave the crowds to check out the big ticket items for baby girl. we saw the bonbebe cot on the flyer, it was going at $399 with free organizer (like a mini shelf to put diapers/towels etc), a night light and 5 piece bedding. my bff got the same cot at $399 without the freebies. so we made our way down yesterday. seeing that it was a saturday, surprisingly it was not that bad a crowd. there wasnt a need to queue at cashiers, there was space to walk, in fact alot of parents were pushing their strollers around. it was all about personal space and giving way. so it was one of the best baby fairs i been to.

we purchased the bonbebe alexa cot and arranged delivery next week! so excited.

bonbebe alexia

this cot is a 4 in 1 which means it can be converted to a toddler bed, a day bed and even a kids bed in future. the wheels also will be useful when we have to push the cot to our spare bed room in the event my mom wants to take care. overall i would say it is a good buy!

we intended to only buy the baby cot, but when we saw the offer for sterilizer at the pigeon booth, going at $168 for loads of things, we had to take a second glance. in the end we also bought it. it comes with a food warmer, washing liquid, washing brush, 2 small milk bottles, 2 big milk bottles, 1 limited edition horse glass bottle, etc etc etc.

pigeon steriliser

comparing to the Avent one, this sterilizer is more spacious, it can accomodate about 8-9 bottles as the “trays” are adjustable. in future we can also put in baby bowls cos of the round design of it. it is also a rapid steamer which means just 6 mins and ure done! the separate food warmer is also useful when we have to heat up milk bottles for night feeds. there is also an attachment to warm up baby porridge in future if need be.

other than all these, we also purchased small frivolous items like onsies, socks, pacifier, detergent. we also bought a breastmilk cooler bag! it is endorsed with the Fridge to Go and it was going at 49% off. why not! haha.

phew. ok so we checked off some items off the checklist, i guess we are just about done with the big ticket items. we got robinsons voucher and we will check out the car seats there.

having a baby is expensive. so girls and boys, before you get pregnant, think carefully!

on a separate note, baby movements have increased. mostly at night. baby toh has a habit to jump and roll around when papa is playing music. she loves listening to music, so when papa toh plays twinkle twinkle little star on the piano app in his tablet, baby toh will dance to it. too cute. and i cant explain how or why but it just feels so amazing to feel her kicking in me. some days (usually day time) when i dont feel anything, i get slightly worried. but now i figured she is most active in the night. and also because the kicks are not so obvious yet, i tend to miss alot of her movements when im moving around in the day.

baby toh, mama and papa didnt plan for you so soon, but we are struggling to get everything ready before you arrive. all you need to do is grow and be healthy. love you much. cant wait to see you in the FA scan next saturday.

Girl or boy?

to be honest, we do not have a preference, i guess we are just excited to know if its a girl or boy, and whether it was either, we will still love very much simply because its our baby.

over the last week, my family, friends and colleagues have been making guesses on the gender. mom guessed it was boy because i was eating alot of meat. my colleagues mostly guessed it was a boy because they said i didnt look pregnant from behind (actually i dun tink i look very pregnant from in front either), my cousins guessed it was a girl….. just because.

this visit to dr siow was also exciting for us cos the last visit was 1 month ago! it didnt help that i started to feel pain below my belly area, especially at night. ill wake up with this pulling pain and then shortly after it subsides. of course i was worried that something was wrong. so i googled and so far all the responses was that due to the stretching of ligaments, sometimes when im in the wrong position, it will pull and tug and that will cause temporary pain.

brought this up to dr siow today and he said it was the round ligament pulling. and that it is ok to feel the pain as long as it is not a constant sharp pain. phew…

also got him to write a memo for our HK trip next week! just in case… i also got him to write a short note that i was taking calcium powder. well… bringing white powder into the airport isnt exactly normal right. hahaa…

he managed to scan baby facing down today. lying on the arm. the spine bone was so distinct, arms and legs were swinging all over the place. baby was very active and dr siow had problems trying to get a good heartbeat shot. he tried to measure and then baby moves and he has to re-measure.. he said.. aiya.. baby keep moving! hehehee.. i feel so happy to hear that baby is so active. that explains all the fluttering in my tummy the past week. baby has been having a private disco party in there! and… baby grew double the size from last visit! amazing!

and he also managed to scan between the legs and it was so clear. there was no sign of a kukubird! he is 80% sure that it is a girl. hee. but we will only be sure in 3 weeks when we go for the FA scan.

but of course, being excited first time parents, we couldnt help it. we went to get some nice proper clothes for our baby girl. but i think we went abit overboard. dont ask me what will happen if we fall into the 20% chance that it is a boy. argh.

clothes stash

(outfits from H&M, Cotton On Kids and Carters)

Girl outfits are too cute to resist! heee…

i am very blessed that so far i havent had any major problems in this pregnancy. we are about 40% along now and this can only get better. keep growing my darling. papa and mama cant wait to have you in our arms.

we are slowly preparing for your arrival so just continue being healthy and we will see you next March.