Monday, April 9, 2018

Confinement without the Lady

The confinement period following childbirth is a very important period for a woman to take good care and to recuperate from the pregnancy. I cannot imagine how taxing it would be for ones' body to take the stress of carrying another life for 10 months, provide the necessary nutrients, and subsequently to recover from the amount of blood loss during birth. Especially when it is a cesarean birth.

I have heard of many parents talking about 'regrets' after having children. And it's not about their kids, but rather their nonchalant attitudes during the crucial period of recovery following birth. They will mention about how they felt less energetic or how their bodies ached because they had not taken care during confinement. While I have to admit that I have my own reservations about some dubious practices that were handed down for generations, most of the current practices does make certain sense. And of course taking of proper confinement food and herbal concoctions would no doubt be beneficial for the mommy.

We decided on a "self-service" confinement following the birth of Starri because I was gungho and thought that I would be able to take a full month off work to help (which ended up only to be 2 weeks max), and most importantly, save us a whole lot of money! Employing a confinement lady during the Chinese New Year period would easily cost twice as much and upwards of $5,000! I may be able to bathe, feed and take care of the baby, but cooking is a no no for me. Thankfully the catering of confinement food put together by the TCM Physicians and Nutritionists at Thomson Medical, totally took care of this aspect of confinement.

The lunch and dinner come delivered in 4 blue thermal containers (consisting of one meat, one vegetable, one soup and rice) that kept the food warm, as well as with a thermos flask of red date tea. Thus my wife was able to have hot red date tea throughout the day, and managed to refrain from the temptation of any cold drinks. The food portions were rather generous and I actually shared the food with my wife for the entire 28-day course! So much so that I can even give my own personal assessment of the food! For one, I am definitely impressed with the freshness of the ingredients like the fishes, and the herb-infused vegetables were tasty without the need for too much salt. There were lots of goji berries and dan gui in the dishes. In fact I think I ate more vegetable during this period than I would have in a whole year! And to add on, they actually serve Kinmemai gourmet Japanese rice which we loved over normal rice. 

The "takeaway" version of papaya fish soup is different from the milky one in the hospital.
This has to be one of my favourite. Should be egg tofu or something. 
A 28-day package would consist of 2 cycles of 10-days and 18-days which means you would be seeing the same food within 2 weeks for lunch and/or dinner. There is only that much variety or combinations, otherwise they would have to come up with more than 56 totally different dishes to please the pickiest of customers. I am also not going to lie, the food tasted great on most days when it came on time. But it can get a little disappointing when the delivery is delayed due to unforeseen reasons leading to the food getting "old", as with any other packed food from anywhere. You can find more information on their confinement food packages here.

Some of the essentials for confinement, all conveniently packed for daily use.
However solely relying on just the food is not enough, because a woman would require herbal concoctions to nourish, strengthen, rejuvenate and recuperate from the "ordeal" post-natal. I remembered spending hundreds of dollars buying herbs that were packed on the spot from the Chinese medical hall that were not that well-received by my wife, but this time round we had the pre-packed vacuum-sealed herbs from Mummamia Confinement that came along with clear and simple instructions on the use.

The instructions are all clearly shown and really quite idiot-proof already.
The herbs comes in a box of 10 individually packed herbs clearly labelled Day 1 to Day 5 and one pack is meant for 2 servings in the day, for lunch and dinner. So I started off with brewing Day 1 herbs with meat and followed through with the others days and restarting the cycle after Day 5. Not many people would appreciate the taste of these herbs, and by the first cycle, the wife would have made her preference known. You can vary the water used between 1.5l to 2l so as to make it easier for her to finish up, if you know what I mean. We used a total of 3 boxes for the entire confinement period.

Use these for mom and baby when taking baths.

In this age and time, I believe that most young moms would find it crazy to abstain from bathing and hair washing throughout the confinement. I personally felt that the idea was actually not to catch a chill during this period, and my wife used Ban Kah Chai Mom Confinement Herbal Bath for her baths. Even Starri had her Baby Herbal Bath too, which helped with mild jaundice and baby rashes. After keeping hygiene in check, one must also ensure to fully towel dry and not catch a cold!

All the ingredients are apportioned for the nest results.
We also supplemented the routine with nursing herbal soup to boost milk production.
Water retention is not a pretty sight but her condition was well kept under control!
My wife started taking cold drinks after the confinement and told me that she could feel the difference almost immediately the next day. She actually got body aches which she never felt while she was still drinking tea. The Pre-packed Red Dates Tea from Mummamia Confinement comes in a 10-day pack, in easy to cook sachets. Drinking that helps reduce water retention, and the ingredients are rich in Iron and Vitamin C as well. Those who wished to boost milk production can also try out the Nursing Herbal Soup as a supplement. Do check out their full range of confinement necessities available here.

I am thankful that my wife experienced a great recovery from her 5th cesarean birth, despite the nurses telling me about her heavy loss of blood this time round, which made me worried as I sat alone in the room waiting so long for her return from labour ward. My wife is definitely a strong lady to begin with but I am sure taking extra care, having nutritious food and proper tonics during the confinement period helped lots!

Disclaimer: We were provided with a 28-day confinement food packaged by Thomson Medical as well as a 30-day confinement package by Mummia Confinement for review. No monetary compensation was received and all views are of my own.

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