5th August 2015 was a special day for us as we welcome the much anticipated arrival of our 5th child. The children are excited to finally see their new baby brother and they can’t wait for us to start traveling again.In Malaysia, it is a norm within our ethnic communities of Chinese, Malays and Indians to practice their respective confinement traditions. For the Malay women we usually observe a pantang period. This is always hard for me to do. For me it is like being put under ‘house arrest’ for 44 days. The confinement period is actually a test of patience, many Malay women today still willingly observe the restrictions of this postnatal tradition.
Among the practices are:
hiring a traditional masseuse to massage our abdomen using hot stones and bind it with a special traditional corset.
avoid food that has ‘cold’ elements (this is to ensure the body retain as much heat as possible)
no cold drinks, avoid eggs related dish, no oily food, and lots and lots of herbs
For the Chinese, among their restriction includes not washing their hair during the whole confinement period, though dry shampoo is allowed and bathing only with specially prepared warm water that is infused with herbs.
The Indian women confinement practice is almost similar in terms of keeping the body warm. Bathing only in specially prepared warm water that has been boiled with Neem leaves, covering head with scarfs, wearing socks and stay in bed as long as possible.
Regardless the ethnicity, it is obvious that the objectives of the confinement is to help the new mothers to regain their energy from the rigors of pregnancy, labour and birth.
It has been almost 4 days since the arrival of our newborn and I hope that I can survive the next 40 days.