Baby's First Year · Musings


Postnatal confinement, as my friend told me, should literally mean that mommies are “confined” to the bed.

Rest! Rest! Rest!

I couldn’t agree more. Cos the one and only luxury you have after having a baby is exactly that: S.L.E.E.P.

Daddy O took a month’s leave (2 weeks full-day, 2 weeks half-day) to help me with confinement as we didn’t engage any confinement lady nor a maid. My mother-in-law was unavailable because she was still working. I didn’t want her to lose that income knowing the family’s circumstances, plus she is not exactly enthusiastic about cooking, we decided to spare her the agony of making confinement food and just order delivery service.

I went for Natal Essentials because online reviews raved about the delicious food and quantity enough for both mommy and daddy. It’s really embarrassing but I must confess, lunch and dinner was almost always the highlights of my day. Exactly like what netizens described, the food was nourishing and delicious, the portion generous although it’s supposed to be for one pax. Sometimes we can only settle for dinner 2-3 hours after the tingkat was delivered, but the food still tastes amazing! Each meal also comes with traditional red dates tea which amounted to 2 cups approximately. Other confinement services highly popular with locals are: Newbaby, I.Host and Chilli Padi.

The challenge of taking confinement into our own hands is the stress and tiredness. Since we are new at taking care of a baby, we find ourselves guessing why baby is crying, deciding what to do and of course, the dreaded daily night wakings. I half regretted not engaging a confinement lady, but then again, knowing myself, I could have gotten myself into another whole set of stress regarding all the confinement taboos.

Can’t bathe, can’t switch on the fan, can’t eat this, can’t eat that. They say you will catch wind, catch cold, get rheumatism and get sick… etc.

The truth is, in the olden days, hot water is not readily available. By the time the hot water reaches mommy, it had started to turn cold and thus more susceptible to bacteria. Poor mommy doesn’t have doctors stitching their gaping wound in the past, thus mommy easily gets infected, plus the cold and pain, all sorts of sickness comes.

Fast forward to today. Almost every family in Singapore has a heater. Doctors also advised to bathe as soon as you are physically able to keep the wound clean.

And if you think about it, why is it then the older generation, who keeps so closely to all these rules and regulations, still get rheumatism???

My husband’s aunt also advised me: Don’t stand while drinking water or you’ll get incontinence.


The reason mommies get incontinence is the vagina stretched so much during childbirth that if you don’t do any pelvic exercises, your muscles will relax, causing urinary leakage. Nothing to do with standing, sitting, lying or even squatting whilst drinking water hor.

One of the funniest thing I heard about taboos was how a mother-in-law refused to sun the baby even though she has jaundice because: “It’s the 7th month, ghost month, cannot sun.”


It gives “confinement” a whole new meaning. Confining ourselves to too much rules and regulations.

I encourage mommies to read more, relax more, stop listening to “well-intentioned” advice and stop second-guessing yourself. As what the good old Book says:

“The truth shall set you free.”


What’s the most interesting confinement taboo you heard?

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