My Thoughts On Confinement...

~ Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 7:38 AM ~

I have previously blogged about my thoughts on confinement and its taboo in my old blog and totally forgotten about it until a recent comment submitted by a blog reader in that post prompted me to revise it and post it here in my new blog.

For your info, both my confinement were DIY, as in hubby is the one taking care of our babies in the first month while I recuperate from the labor and focus on breastfeeding our kiddos. You can read my post in my old blog if you want to know what made us decided to DIY our confinement.

Now whenever any friends or ex-colleagues of mine asked me about confinement, I had to go into a long story on how we DIY ours and why we wanted to DIY it. So here's the list on why we decided to DIY our confinement:

1. The opportunity to bond with our newborn (and older siblings to bond with their baby sibling too)

2. The opportunity to practise with trials and errors on babycare aspects, and what to expect and how to deal with crises or newborn incidents (crying, fussiness etc). Don't let other people handle your newborn child. You are the parent, do your job!

3. Economical - not needing to hire any confinement lady (CL) definitely saves a lot of money. (The confinement lady charges for 4 years ago is RM3300 ~ that is about USD1100 for 28 days of work).

4. No interference or different opinions on how you should parent your children. Some CL are very set and determined in certain aspects to make their job easier, such as formula feeding, bottle feeding, disposable diapers, baby sleeping with them etc, all these so that the new mum will get to rest. But if you allow these to happen, your decision to breastfeed your child will be affected. Baby sleeping in with other people such as the CL will only confuse them and make them attached to strangers than to you! Same goes with bottle feeding. Of course, there are a handful of CLs out there who are pro-breastfeeding and encourage the new mums to breastfeed as often and sleep with the baby. But it is not easy to find such CLs.

I have heard of various counts of CL stories horrors from friends and ex-colleagues, these are amongst the many that I can vividly remember...

  • A friend hired a CL only to fire the same CL in few weeks time as the CL only knows how to change baby's diapers and does nothing else.
  • A friend hired a CL and about a week before the CL leaving, started to panic as she has never been involved in caring of the baby and does not know what to do. Thank God she bucked up and start taking notes and taking over caring her baby before her CL leaves.
  • A friend complained that baby keeps crying at night and refused to be breastfed, only wants bottle feed. Because CL has been sleeping with baby for 1 month and bottle feeding baby all the while that baby is used to bottle feeding and to CL's body smell.

Now you will ask, then how to handle our own confinement? Well, in terms of babycare, you will need to learn and practise each and everyday. Nobody says parenting is an easy thing to do.

And I personally think if you bring the baby into the world, you should very well take care of the baby and not let others do your job. This is also why I quit my job to be a SAHM and decided to fully take care for my children for now.

You might say I just give birth, I need my rest. Fine, rest when baby is sleeping. During the first few months, all baby does is eat, sleep, pee and poop. So rest when they are resting. If you are staying with other family members (such as in-laws), try to see whether they can help out. Probably cooking food for you or anything.

How about foodwise? You want to replenish your energy and strength and want to drink some herbal medicines/food? You can buy those at the traditional Chinese medicine shops. Some even sell the 28-30 days daily packets of herbal drinks/medicines with instructions for you on how to make it. I didn't get those, I just drink more water and take the occasional black beans with red dates drinks that my MIL boiled for me few times a week.

How about those confinement taboos? Now, here's what I need to explain. Firstly, we are not into following any of those taboos, so apologies as I can't advise you how to get around these superstitious rules and taboos. For me, I will think whether such rules are logical or not. Cover up fully and wear socks? Those rules originated from our ancenstors back in China... and they have winter time in China. Malaysia? Winter? Never... so, think whether such rule is logic or not before you apply it to yourself. Same goes for not bathing, not shampooing your hair etc. Trust me... you will reek by the first day itself after birth. If you can survive past day 2 without showering and washing your hair, well kudos to you for making yourself more unhygienic and smelly. I know I already smell or sweat and blood right after birth and the first thing I did when I went back to my hospital room is to shower and wash everything. A clean and refreshed body definitely brings confidence and happiness to yourself.

Well, you may ask, my hubby had to go work, we don't stay with in-laws and definitely nobody help us out. Fine, go get that CL to help you out but make sure the CL does not interfere with your babycare and if you are planning to breastfeed, make sure the CL knows that you must establish your breastfeeding schedules and it would be great if baby is feeding on demand, direct if possible. Try not to introduce bottles or even formula. No pumping in the first month. If you really must have baby sleeping with the CL, try to get CL to wake up and bring baby to you at night when it is time for feeding. Get CL to help out with other aspects like cooking, washing clothes, etc. But do make sure to slowly take over the CL's job before she leaves. Else, you may suffer as you do not know how to handle baby then if she has been handling baby more than you.

That's all I can think of for now. Do share and feel free to ask if you have any concerns!

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