For cleaning during confinement 

Function: (on package) Improve blood circulation in meridians, removal of body wind, dampness and coolness, relief abdomen of body wind.

Use: One packet per ‘wipe down’. Boil for 10-15 minutes before use.

Cost: $2 per packet at the Chinese TCM store in Sengkang Compass Point B1

Why?: Why confinement practices? It is troublesome, tedious and can be downright unpleasant when you have to go without shower/baths/shampooing your hair for weeks to a month after delivery. And on TV, we dont see our western counterparts going through this. I have friends who go through the confinement proper (herbal wipe baths, no washing of hair for a month- use dry shampoo like cats instead) and others who bath one day after delivery. I think it is deeply personal, depending on what you believe in.

Choosing the traditional confinement practice-  it is believed that the pores are all open after the traumatic process of birth; and being one of the only three opportunities a woman has a chance to rejuvenate and jump-start her health (other two being puberty and menopause) thus worthy of the one month ‘suffering’. Women who follow the strict rules rave by the speed the body regain its prenatal shape and felt better. It is believed that it alleviates the problems of ageing later on, and problems like headaches, backaches etc. In many cases, the ‘wind’ causes the bloating-weight problem, making losing weight postnatal extremely difficult. My boss now goes to this masseurs in AMK who uses Qigong to ‘press out the air’.

I read in a Taiwanese website that it is believed that if you wash your hair, ‘wind’  will enter the body through the scalp and cause clotting of blood in the uterus, making expelling them more difficult, causing ‘female-related ailments’. There are so many rules to follow if you really want to adhere strictly, and the practice does differ in different parts of Asia. My China born sister-in-law gets her maid to boil lemon-grass in water for the wipe-down, i have also heard of others boiling ginger peels. i decide to go for something a little more ‘high-tech’- Da Feng Ai Women’s Recovery Bath.

Jamu Massage-  i have booked the Malay lady to do the painful Jamu massage which helps to shrink the uterus and get mommy back in shape. Many also provide other services like herbal drinks, body wraps and massages for the baby. Costs ~$50-$150 per session (for ~10 sessions after delivery at the comfort of home)

Maternity Pad: i got the normal sanitary pads initially but was told that i need to get the maternity version which is wider and longer. I got this from Kiddy Palace but it has no ‘wings’ so i may grab alternatives from mothercare. Angel recommends getting at least four packs, and also cotton wool. Cotton wool dipped in warm water for the cleaning of stiches (plus the alcohol provided by the hospital) for the perineal cut will help healing by keeping the area sterile, clean and dry. OUCH.

interesting useful item: MUJI catalogue has this cotton ribbed confinement shorts retailing at S$19 in grey or black which ‘is suitable for use immediately after giving birth, as pads can be changed without having to take the garment off. It uses a fully water-proof fabric that covers up to the waist. The crotch piece is soft to the skin and velcro helps it to open and close easily.’ But it was not on sale in Marina Square store.