What is a period of confinement? Postpartum period which is also known as the fourth trimester is also as crucial as the other three trimesters. It is the phase in which the new moms nurture their little ones and also regain their lost strength. This period in the life of a new mom wherein she recuperates from childbirth is known as confinement period.
There are several rules and restrictions to be followed depending on the place and culture of a new mom. Postnatal confinement food practices are most common in Asian countries whereas these are foreign to other western countries.
Confinement duration in some popular nations:
This varies across different nations. Following are few nations which are following confinement practice since ages:
India: In India the confinement period is 45 days.
Malaysia/Singapore: In these countries the confinement period is 44 days.
China: Chinese confinement period is of 30 days.
Now let’s see what these diets in aforesaid nations mainly consist of.
Indian Confinement diet:
It consists of the following items-
- Calcium rich food such as milk, cheese, paneer etc.
- Gondh Laddu (edible gum laddu).
- Fenugreek which is a galactagogue and aids in increasing milk production.
- Nuts like almond, cashew etc. Which contain good amount of magnesium and other essential nutrients.
- Dried ginger laddu (saunth laddu).
- Ghee which is believed to have good fats which promote the health of both mother and baby.
- Fresh fruits, as they are known for their antioxidant properties.
- Leafy vegetables to replenish the lost blood as they are rich in iron.
- “Papaya” as it is believed to contain an enzyme that helps in clearing the lochia soon.
- “Garlic” which is also a galactagogue is also served with every meal.
Few restricted items in Indian confinement diet:
- Spicy food such as chilly etc.
- Gassy food like chickpea flour, Bengal gram etc.
- Fried food is also a big “NO”.
- Food items made of Maida (all-purpose flour) are also restricted as it is believed that they are hard to digest and may lead to issues with the newborn.
- Even tomatoes are prohibited in certain cultures during this phase as this is considered to cause gastric problems.
Key constituents of Malay Confinement diet:
- Dairy food like milk, eggs, cheese etc. To replenish lost calcium.
- ‘JAMU’ a special drink made of herbs like turmeric, ginger, lemon and honey.
How does Chinese Confinement diet differ from that of other nations?
- The difference between diets of other nations and Chinese confinement diet is that it consists of lot of herbs such as angelica root, Du Zhong, Bei Qi etc. As its key components. These are known for their antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Myths regarding confinement food across various nations:
- No plain water during confinement: Water is very essential for breastmilk production. Moreover, a woman passes more urine in the first few weeks postpartum, so as to remove excess fluid. Therefore, adequate water must be consumed.
- Eat only liver and meats: During breastfeeding, what the mom eats gets delivered to the baby. So, it is essential for her to have a balanced diet.
- Wine consumption to purge the wind out: Alcohol must be strictly prohibited during breastfeeding since the effect could be passed on to the baby as well.
- Herbs to remove wind from the body: These organic substances can have negative effect on the health of the new born specially if the baby has jaundice by birth.