Five Tips for a Smooth Confinement
Pregnancy is one of the most significant experiences in a woman’s life. However, equally important is the postpartum confinement period. The six to eight week time-window after childbirth is crucial for both the mother and newborn.
Conceiving and carrying a baby to term is very demanding on your body. Reserves of essential nutrients such as folate, calcium and vitamin B6 are depleted. Whether you gave birth vaginally or you had a cesarean delivery, your body will need extra care to recover properly.
1. Pay Attention to Your Body
After giving birth, your newborn might be the centre of your focus. But don’t forget to pay attention to your body and monitor your recovery.
If you are experiencing severe pain, bleeding, swelling, fever, headache, contact your doctor as soon as possible. These could be signs of complications such as postpartum haemorrhage, deep vein thrombosis or heart problems.
2. Eat Well
Did you know? The average blood loss for a vaginal birth is roughly 480ml - more than one can of your average soft drink! Blood loss with a cesarean delivery can be close to one litre. Regardless of the method of delivery, there will be blood loss and eating the right foods can help you to replenish it.
A good diet is essential for restoring your body’s natural stores of vitamins and minerals. Eating food rich in iron, vitamin A, B and C will help with increasing your energy levels and repairing your body.
Stir-Fried Spinach with Sea Cucumber topped with Wolfberries
(available in our Confinement Trial Meal)
Drink eight glasses of water a day whether you are breastfeeding or not. It is important to replenish the fluids you have lost from the process of giving birth and staying hydrated will help bring your blood volume levels back to normal.
For breastfeeding mothers, foods like dark green and yellow vegetables, fenugreek, oatmeal, lean meat and poultry, goji berries and papaya, can help with regulating the production of milk and increasing milk flow.
Lactation cookies and other treats like lactation nougats are great to have on hand as they make great snacks and contain beneficial power foods for lactation like flax, yeast and oatmeal.
- Flaxseeds - have oestrogenic properties that can help nursing moms produce more milk and provides healthy fats that are a healthy component of breast milk to promote a child's brain development.
- Yeast - known for its highly digestible protein level, minerals, vitamin B, key amino acids and chromium which supports healthy milk supply for breastfeeding mothers. Not only that, it also elevates the energy levels and mood of postnatal mums.
- Oatmeal - contain plant oestrogens, which have been associated with the stimulation of milk glands. It also has a fiber called Beta-glucan, which can increase the levels of prolactin (a hormone that is responsible for producing milk) in the bloodstream.
3. Watch Out for Emotional Red Flags
The sudden decrease of hormones after childbirth might trigger an emotional response in new mothers. ‘Baby Blues’ are common and you may experience symptoms like irritability, crying, mood swings, appetite problems or reduced concentration. These symptoms should go away within the first two weeks.
A more severe emotional complication is postnatal depression (PND). PND may cause mothers to have:
- panic attacks
- uncontrollable mood swings
- feelings of emptiness, shame or guilt
- thoughts of harming themself or their baby
If you notice any of these red flags, contact a mental health professional as soon as possible.
4. Prioritise Self-Care
Have plenty of rest and avoid strenuous or mentally-draining activities. It is important to recharge both physically and mentally. Watch a movie, read a magazine, or do some online shopping. Anything that helps you destress should be prioritised.
Accept help from family members offering to assist with cooking and doing housework. Is your husband terrible at cooking? Engage a confinement caterer instead. Lunch and dinner are prepared with the optimal mix of herbs and ingredients for your recovery. Meals are delivered to your doorstep so you have more time to focus on yourself and to spend with family.
If it feels right for your body, consider postnatal massages. Massage may help relieve water retention, muscle soreness and breast engorgement, and tone your body. There are also in-home sessions available so you won’t even have to step out your door.
5. Don’t be too Hard on Yourself
Having a child is a beautiful experience but it is not easy being a mother. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Despite what you may see on social media, never stress about fitting society’s standards of a “perfect mother”.
Remember, happy mum equals happy baby.