Childbirth confinement for a new mother is an essential matter and should not be taken for granted. Should it not be well taken care of, it would affect the physical conditions of the mother.
Que Xiu Hwa said, in general mothers would take ginger liquor chicken and should stay away from cold water and hair-blowing or it could lead to intermittent headaches.
Tonic supplement two weeks later
"Normally tonic supplements should only be taken two weeks after the confinement," said Que.
Confinement lady would normally prepare a variety of cooked food based on the mothers' appetite, such as ginger liquor chicken with sweet potatoes leaves, kai lan and choy sum. Fish such as pomfret or ma you are also indispensable dishes for mothers in confinement.
With regard to the news reported on newspapers about the sudden death of an infant from choking milk, Que said confinement ladies were under constant stress overseeing infants at night and had to pay attention to every move of the babies.
At this point, Que provided an optimal way to avoid suffocation from milk ingestion: to let the babies rest on their sides while sleeping.
Infants diagnosed with jaundice should be bathed with iron cloth leaves, at the same time breast feeding mothers should stop taking ginger liquor chicken to avoid the yellowish skin color on their infants from getting worse.
Herbal medicine as secret formula
The issues of bathing for mothers and their newborn babies within the first month after confinement should not be neglected. In general, the traditional secret formula of using dried herbs as bath water is commonly practised to expel wind.
Hawkers at Bentong market used to sell dried herbs for such purposes. Da Feng Ai (bluemea balsamifera) is the herb for mothers while Bu Bu Grass (physalis angulata), Chuan Xin Lian (andrographis paniculata) and She Cao (clinacanthus nutans) are widely used to drive away toxic heat and cold.
75-year-old hawker Zhang Fook Zhen told Sin Chew Daily modern mothers still adhere to traditional herbal baths during confinement.
"It is quite difficult to buy herbs in big cities nowadays, and as such many people have to get their relatives to buy the herbs from Bentong or Chinese medical shops."
The herbs are quite cheap, selling only at RM1 to RM1.20 each bundle. Mothers in confinement would normally buy up to ten bundles each time.
Zhang said many people were rushing to give birth to dragon babies this year, resulting in robust sales for herbs and ginger.