How Much Should My 5 Month Old Breastfed Baby Weight Postnatal ‘Confinement’ Food – Part 2

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Postnatal ‘Confinement’ Food – Part 2

Everyone will tell you to eat only ‘healthy’ food and avoid cold or cooling food as your body is cold after giving birth. This is true for the 3 main races in Malaysia, but sometimes what is considered ‘healthy’ may be ‘chilling’ for another, adding to our dilemma. The best option is to try the food as far as your culture and religion allow, and learn to substitute the ingredients where possible to suit your taste. I’m afraid my culinary expertise is limited to Chinese and Western food, so I can only talk about this type of food at this time.

Traditional Chinese containment food mainly consists of old ginger, rice wine, sesame oil, black vinegar, some warming alcohol, plenty of meat, especially kampong chicken and lean pork, white fish such as white pomfret, and some vegetables.

Apparently you are supposed to eat 30 chickens, 12 bottles of rice wine and 15 kilos of old ginger root during this period. Whether you can achieve this goal is up to you, but I find that most women today cannot do it. On average, if you practice what is recommended, the cost can easily be around RM 1000.00 ++ just for the food.

Foods to avoid for the first week only

Ginger – Delays wound healing and increases the risk of jaundice in the baby. Replace with peppercorns or garlic.

Fish – Causes foul-smelling lochia or discharge.

Alcohols recommended for consumption during labor are: Brandy, Yomeishu, rice wine and Guinness Malta because they are ‘yang’. If you don’t drink, this sudden consumption can cause alcohol rash, facial flushing and heart palpitations, so take it easy. Alcohol goes to the baby through breast milk, so if you want a good night’s sleep, drink the alcohol after your dinner. The alcohol content is reduced during cooking, so consider adding it to your food while cooking instead of drinking it neat. Guinness Malta is alcohol-free and has a high iron content and is therefore suitable if you are anemic. Pulut rice is rich in iron and is therefore used to make rice wine for nursing mothers after childbirth. The rice is low in fat and free of cholesterol with high dietary fiber to reduce the risk of heart attack and diabetes. It is better known as Shaoxing wine.

Beverages

It is believed that iced or cold drinks can cause severe shock to the system and further weaken the ‘cold’ body, therefore it is strongly recommended that boiled hot tea be consumed throughout the day as they are supposed to help warm up the womb. For those who do not believe in these teas, you can try drinking chamomile tea, which is also beneficial for the baby because it helps reduce wind

Soups

Soup is a nutritious substitute for water. You can use any meat for stock. The meat provides fat, which is essential for the extraction of fat-soluble nutrients. Drinking soup about 1 hour before nursing can help increase milk flow. Chinese soups are usually clear and easier to drink compared to creamy western soups and it is less fattening.

Below are some food ingredients you may want to add to your diet during the postnatal ‘incarceration’ month.

Boxthorn fruit or Chinese wolf berry is best known for correcting poor vision and eye strain. Used with other herbs, it is effective in improving energy and strength

Chinese angelica root or dong kwai is supposed to nourish the female organs, relieve menstrual cramps and prevent bleeding.

Chinese yam (wai san) used with meat and other herbs aids digestion, regulates sugar levels and controls inflammation in the uterus. The dried variety should be soaked for at least 15 minutes before use to remove the powder

Solomon’s seal (yok chuk) is used to relieve many ailments, especially those affecting the throat and lungs

Sesame oil, in addition to being rich in vitamin E, iron and calcium, helps to heal the uterus and rid it of “dirty residual blood”.

Chestnuts stimulate vital energy. Resolves fatigue depression and irritability. High content of phosphorus, selenium and calcium

Black vinegar is made from glutinous rice and lowers the ph of food. It leaches calcium from bones cooked with it, so it is used to prepare foods high in calcium, especially for nursing mothers, and it also relieves a windy stomach.

Dill has antibacterial and antispasmodic properties. It is a warming herb that aids digestion, removes gas, promotes breastfeeding, freshens the breath and relieves colic. It is the main ingredient in Gripe water.

Almonds and walnuts contain leucine and isoleucine, which are amino acids that regulate growth, blood sugar and wound healing.

Malay confinement food is the same as normal but with a lot of jamu which are basically natural herbal remedies used internally and externally for health and beauty. Make sure that the products are registered with the Ministry of Health and that they are locally produced

Kani seeds contain antioxidants to promote youthfulness, tighten vaginal muscles, prevent excessive discharge, odor and itching. It firms the breasts and promotes healing of the reproductive system after childbirth.

Gallangal is a member of the ginger family and acts as an antibiotic. It warms the body, cleans the blood, improves the appetite, reduces wind and gives energy to the muscles.

Pegaga leaves increase energy, help ease sleep problems, improve blood circulation.

Turmeric acts as an antibiotic and promotes healthy circulation.

Drumstick leaves are rich in proteins, vitamins C and A, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, potassium and other minerals. Because of their nutrients and ability to promote milk flow, they are a valuable food for survival in poor countries.

The most important thing to remember is to be comfortable with what you eat. Don’t force yourself to eat something you don’t like or will cause problems later. Although you are ‘in confinement’, you are not a prisoner per se.

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