Postpartum Health: Looking After Yourself During the Confinement Period.

The wait is finally over! It is almost time for you to hold your little bundle of joy in your hand! You have packed your maternity bag with hospital essentials for you and the bub. You have the Birth Plan printed out just in case. You think you are all set for the D-day. But Mum, have you thought about the Post-Delivery Plan? Expectant mums are often preoccupied with pregnancy woes and in preparing the house to welcome the newborn, often overlooking their own needs for the crucial period after delivery.

The weeks after childbirth are tough for new mothers as they are thrust into this new role while also recuperating from the delivery, and in case of a C-section delivery, from a major surgery. This is also a time when the mother goes through hormonal changes and an emotional upheaval. The mum is exhausted from the many demands of caring for a newborn – regular feeds, cleaning, bathing, diaper changes, burping, cuddling – the list is endless. She has to sync her body cycle with the baby’s sleep-awake cycle, and also face the many challenges of breastfeeding.

Many cultures prescribe a confinement period to allow the mum to rest and to focus on bonding with the newborn. In the Chinese culture it is for 30 days, in the Indian culture it is for 40 days and in Malay culture, the confinement period is for 44 days. While there are several unexpecteds that can pop up and all that you can do is to take one day at a time; it’s worthwhile to prep yourself for this phase.

Here is the Postpartum checklist:

Confinement Nanny – You need rest and good nutrition, period. Many new mums have the support of their mother, mother-in-law or other relatives. If you do not have a support system at home, it is highly recommended to hire a confinement nanny as she can cook confinement food for you and help you look after the baby while you rest. A confinement nanny can also offer you useful tips and advice for lactation, breastfeeding and baby care issues such as massaging and bathing the baby. In Singapore there are many agencies that provide experienced confinement nannies that can make your postnatal journey smoother.

Stay-at-home Helper – In case you do not wish to hire a confinement nanny, you will still need help with household chores. Hiring a live-in maid assures you that the cleaning and cooking is taken care of while you can take care of yourself and the baby. This may be all the more necessary if you have an older child since your hands are full with the newborn for the first few months. Many maid agencies in Singapore provide maids who are experienced in looking after newborns and babies and can help new mothers tide over this phase.

Confinement Food – New mothers need good nutrition to heal, recover and to support breastfeeding. They need healthy, balanced diets that include herbal tonics and soups. As it it will be hard for you to cook meals for yourself 3 times a day in this period, it is best to book for delivery of confinement food to your doorstep. Many confinement food agencies in Singapore deliver nutritious confinement food to the moms during their confinement period. You have the option to choose Chinese, Malay or Indian confinement food as per your cultural needs and many agencies offer traditional, modern and fusion menu.

Postnatal Massage -Postnatal Massages help mothers relax and re-energize. The massage also helps with lochia discharge, alleviates muscle aches and pains and regulates the flow of milk. Not only that, focused post natal massages push the uterus back in position and help moms lose pregnancy weight faster.

Nursing Supplies – Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding does not come naturally to every mum and it is not always smooth. Be prepared for various scenarios – you might lactate sufficiently to support your baby or you might not. Your baby may or may not latch on properly in the initial days. You might experience heavy flow of milk and might need to store it. You might experience breast engorgement and worse mastitis. Read on all these scenarios and conditions. To avoid getting caught unawares, arm yourself with a breast pump – manual or electric, storage bottles or containers, breast pads for leaky breasts, feeding bottles, cool compress, massage oil, pain relief medication and a container of formula milk just in case. Being prepared saves new moms from a whole deal of anxiety and stress. Finally, reach out to other new mothers and lactation support groups for advice, tips or just solidarity.

Help for “Me” Time – Childbirth and postnatal period is a challenging time for the mother physically, mentally and emotionally. Rope in as much help as you can from family members and friends whoever is ready to help- so you can have some time for yourself. Talk to your spouse beforehand, plan how he can space out his leave in this period to support you better. Take out sometime everyday to unwind and relax. Chat with your friends, go for walks, catch your favorite show on Netflix, listen to music or just take the well-deserved nap.

Parents World has compiled some of the best childbirth and confinement services in Singapore. Read more here: