Your Post-Baby Belly: Why It’s Changed and How to Tone It

Welcoming a new life into the world is a truly transformative experience for the mother. For one, there are significant physical changes to your body, both during pregnancy and postpartum. Your growing belly is perhaps the most obvious change of all. While abdominal muscles and skin are pretty resilient, pregnancy and childbirth will stretch and strain them tremendously. Needless to say, your abdomen will not snap back to its pre-pregnancy state directly after your baby is born. 

Understanding Your Changing Belly

During pregnancy and childbirth, your belly undergoes rapid changes. These include:

  • stretching of abdominal muscles to accommodate the growing baby
  • accumulation of excess skin and fat around the abdomen due to weight gain
  • hormonal changes that help to relax the ligaments and tissues in the abdominal area to facilitate the childbirth process


Here’s what you can expect after delivering your baby:

  • Directly after giving birth, your weight can be approximately 5kg lighter, depending on the baby’s size, and weight of amniotic fluid and placenta, with your belly still looking around six months pregnant
  • Six weeks post-delivery, your uterus shrinks back to its original size and excess fluids are flushed out, while your abdominal muscles and skin begin to firm up, leaving you with a gradually slimming belly
  • Six to eight weeks postpartum, your uterus will return to its normal position in your pelvis

Getting Rid of the Postpartum Belly
There are numerous ways to tone your belly, including proper exercise, a nutrient-rich diet, and plenty of patience and grace.  However, do remember that weight gain during pregnancy is a normal occurrence, and your postpartum belly is still adjusting to not carrying your little bundle of joy around. There is no need to rush to get your belly back to its pre-pregnancy state. With proper guidance, diligence and time, you’ll get there.

Tummy-Toning Workouts
Incorporate gentle postpartum exercises that develop your core strength. Some gentle ways to get started are pelvic tilts, Kegel exercises and modified crunches and planks. Low-impact cardiovascular exercises like walking or swimming can also aid in burning calories for a healthy weight.

If you have diastasis recti (where the left and right abdominals separate during pregnancy), consult with a postnatal physical therapist for specific exercises that can help to close the gap between the separate muscles.

Remember to get the all-clear from your health provider before getting started on an exercise regime.

Healthy Diet
A balanced and nutritious diet will support your postpartum recovery. Make sure you have a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains on your menu so you can get all the necessary nutrients to facilitate your healing and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Staying hydrated is also paramount for your skin elasticity and overall health. Drink a sufficient amount of water to promote healthier skin. Don’t forget: adequate water intake is also important for breastfeeding mothers.

While a low-calorie diet can theoretically help you to lose weight postpartum, do note that as a new mother, you’ll need a calorie boost to avoid feeling fatigued. As such, we recommend that you wait until after your postpartum period – preferably a few months after giving birth – to cut back on calories, especially if you’re nursing.

Support Wear
Some healthcare providers may recommend using postpartum support wear such as belly wraps or compression garments to provide gentle support to the abdominal muscles and help with diastasis recti healing or other similar pregnancy-related conditions. These may also help with issues like postpartum back pain and supporting the uterus as it returns to its original size.

Remember, your body goes through tremendous changes during pregnancy and childbirth, so it is essential for you to be kind to it. Consistency and patience are key as you work towards a stronger and more toned abdomen while enjoying motherhood.

Myth and Facts of Confinement Diet

The term “confinement diet” is often associated with postpartum confinement practices, especially in some Asian cultures. It refers to a set of dietary guidelines and restrictions followed by women during the postpartum period, typically lasting for about 30 to 40 days after childbirth. There are various myths and facts associated with confinement diets, and it’s important to note that practices may vary across cultures. Here are some common beliefs and their corresponding factual aspects:


Myths:
Avoiding Cold Foods:
Myth: Consuming cold foods is believed to be detrimental to the body during the postpartum period.

Fact: While warm foods may be preferred for their comforting and nourishing qualities, there’s no scientific evidence that cold foods are harmful. Moderation is key, and a balanced diet is essential for postpartum recovery.

Restriction on Certain Foods:
Myth: Some confinement diets restrict the consumption of certain foods, such as spicy or “heaty” foods.
Fact: While some restrictions may have cultural or traditional roots, a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients is crucial for postpartum recovery. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to diet during this period.

Strict Avoidance of Physical Activity:
Myth: Postpartum women should avoid physical activity and rest as much as possible.
Fact: Gentle postpartum exercises and movements are often encouraged for overall well-being. However, strenuous activities may need to be avoided initially, depending on the individual’s health and the type of delivery.

Special Herbal Concoctions:
Myth: Drinking special herbal concoctions is necessary for recovery.
Fact: While some herbal remedies may have potential health benefits, their efficacy and safety should be validated. It’s important to consult with healthcare professionals before incorporating any herbal supplements into the diet.

Extended Confinement Period:
Myth: A strict confinement period is essential for complete recovery.
Fact: The duration of postpartum confinement varies across cultures, and there’s no universal standard. It’s crucial to prioritize the health and well-being of the mother and consider individual needs.
Facts:
Nutrient-Rich Diet:
Fact: A nutrient-rich diet is important for postpartum recovery. Adequate intake of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and hydration supports the healing process and provides energy.
Emphasis on Warm Foods:
Fact: Warm and cooked foods can be easier to digest and may provide comfort. However, it’s not necessary to strictly avoid all cold or raw foods.
Balanced Lifestyle:
Fact: While rest is important, a balanced lifestyle that includes light physical activity and social support is beneficial for mental and emotional well-being.
Individualized Care:
Fact: Every woman’s postpartum experience is unique, and dietary recommendations should be tailored to individual needs, taking into account health conditions and cultural preferences.
It’s essential to approach postpartum care with a focus on overall health, consulting healthcare professionals for personalized advice and guidance. Cultural practices may vary, and what works for one person may not be suitable for another.

Proper Postpartum Nourishment

The postpartum period is a crucial time for new mothers as they embark on a journey of recovery after childbirth. One of the important aspects of your healing during this time is your nutritional intake. Proper nourishment will help your body to heal faster and better. For new mums who are breastfeeding, what you consume becomes doubly important as the nutrients you take in may also aid in the growth and development of your newborn.

Do you know what you should look out for to ensure a well-nourished body and mind? Let’s explore some essential aspects of postpartum nutrition.Water
First up is adequate hydration. This is especially important if you are breastfeeding. Besides that, water helps your body heal and combat fatigue. Make sure you always have a bottle of water close at hand. Another good way to increase your water intake is to include foods such as fruits and vegetables that have high water content.

Protein
Your body goes through a lot during the birthing process, so it’s important that you support your recovery journey with enough protein. Protein is vital for tissue repair and recovery as well as maintaining energy levels. Breastfeeding mums may also want to consider upping your protein intake to increase production of milk and milk protein to help your baby grow and develop properly. Try incorporating lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes and nuts in your meals.

Calcium
Many women don’t get enough calcium. If you’re breastfeeding, you may lose some bone density. Your newborn also requires calcium for bone development. During the postpartum period, including foods like dairy products and leafy greens that are rich in calcium can help to support both your and your baby’s bone health. Other foods with high calcium content are canned fish like sardine and tuna, ikan bilis, tofu and soy products, and nuts and dry fruit.

Omega-3 fatty acids
Healthy levels of Omega-3 postpartum are important for both mother and baby. In addition to enhancing breast milk nutrient content for baby’s brain health, it also contributes to the mother’s mood, brain function and overall postpartum recovery. Foods like fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts are some good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Iron
Iron is required to produce red blood cells. To replenish blood loss that occurred during childbirth, try including iron-rich foods like lean meats, liver, dark and leafy green vegetables and legumes in your diet.

As a new mother, prioritising your postpartum nutrition is essential for your self-care during this transformative period. Make sure you get a balanced and nourishing diet to facilitate your recovery and breastfeeding journey as you embark on motherhood with your new baby. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or need advice on your nutritional requirements after childbirth.

Coping With Postpartum Depression

Welcoming a new baby to the family is a life-changing experience. While this is an exciting time for the new parents, it can also be extremely tiring and overwhelming. Many people will grapple with bouts of worry and uncertainty. However, if you are feeling extreme emotions, severe mood swings or frequent crying spells, you might be suffering from postpartum depression. 

Postpartum depression is broadly categorised in three levels. The first, often referred to as baby blues, affects up to 75% of people, during which the sufferer may experience frequent and prolonged crying for no apparent reason, sadness and anxiety, loss of appetite and sleeping issues. It usually subsides within two weeks without requiring treatment. 

The second level, postpartum depression, afflicts one out of seven people and presents symptoms that last longer and with greater intensity, leading to an interference with the parent’s ability to care for the baby or go about their daily routine. If untreated, it could last several months. 

Postpartum psychosis is the most severe condition, although it is relatively rare, affecting only one in 1,000 people. As it can cause the person to have life-threatening thoughts and behaviours, it requires immediate treatment. 

Causes & Symptoms

There is no single cause for postpartum depression, but genetics, hormonal fluctuations, and physical, social, psychological and emotional changes are thought to contribute. While most people associate the condition with new mothers, it can affect the other parent, as well, as they navigate uncharted waters with the newborn.

Signs of postpartum depression include:

  • Crying frequently for no reason 
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Loss of appetite, energy and/or motivation 
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling sad, restless, hopeless or guilty
  • Excessive worrying
  • Abnormal sleeping habits
  • Disinterest in baby
  • Difficulty thinking, focusing or remembering things
  • Having thoughts of hurting oneself or the baby

What can you do to keep postpartum depression at bay?

  • Ensure you have adequate support

There are plenty of avenues to look for support – from support groups and therapists to your partner, family and friends. Make sure you have people who are able to listen to you and help you when needed and, of course, don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

  • Get regular exercise 

Find time to exercise, as it may have an antidepressant effect. Taking walks with the baby is a great way to get in some steps AND fresh air! If you’re unable to fit in a long exercise session, short 10-minute stints can also help. 

  • Eat healthily 

While this isn’t a direct cure for postpartum depression, eating nutritious foods can help you feel better and aid in your body’s healing. Try planning your meals and snacks ahead of time. A healthy diet doesn’t have to be a difficult one. There are plenty of easy and healthy recipes that you can try. 

  • Try to get enough sleep 

It is widely recognised that lack of sleep can intensify depressive symptoms. However, sleep might be hard to come by when you have a new baby at home. It might be helpful to take naps or move your bedtime earlier. If you’re breastfeeding, consider pumping a bottle so your partner can take turns with the night feeding. 

  • Prioritise self-care

Find time to do things that you enjoy. You may find it helpful to intentionally carve out dedicated “me time” every week. Hand the baby over to your partner or another trusted adult and use this time to decompress. You could take a walk, watch a movie, read a book or even do some yoga and meditation. 

If you suspect that you may be experiencing postpartum depression, do not hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider, such as your obstetrician/gynaecologist, primary care provider, mental health provider or even paediatrician about it. They will be able to help you get the support you need.

Nurturing Mum’s Health After Childbirth with Postnatal Supplements

Congratulations! After nine months of growing a little human inside you, you now have a new addition to your family. While welcoming a new bundle of joy is an exciting experience, giving birth brings significant changes – both physically and emotionally – to the new mother’s life. Among others, you will face fluctuations in your hormones as you juggle breastfeeding and taking care of a newborn on top of letting your body heal. As such, it is more important than ever to ensure that you are well taken care of. 

During this demanding period of your life, postnatal supplements may play an instrumental role in supporting your overall health and wellbeing by helping you meet your nutritional needs as well as facilitating postpartum recovery and lactation. 

Many pregnant mums would have spent the past nine months consuming some form of prenatal supplements. If you’re wondering what the difference between prenatal and postnatal supplements is, prenatal supplements basically contain a specific combination of essential nutrients to meet the additional demands of a pregnant woman and her developing baby. Postnatal supplements, on the other hand, are designed to support the nutritional needs of a new mother.  

Delving into Postnatal Supplements

Postnatal supplements are taken after giving birth. They contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to ensure that you get the necessary nutrition to keep both you and your baby (via breastfeeding) healthy during the postpartum period. 

Here are some essential vitamins and minerals to have in your arsenal during this crucial time. 

  • Calcium & Vitamin D – support healthy bone and muscle growth
  • Vitamin C & zinc – facilitate wound healing, and boost immune system & collagen production
  • Magnesium – optimise general wellbeing
  • Iron – prevent anaemia, increase energy levels 
  • Folic acid – aid in tissue repair, red blood cell formation and overall recovery process
  • Vitamin B12 – produce energy and encourage proper nerve function
  • Vitamin B6 –  regulate breast milk production and possibly help to alleviate postpartum depression 
  • Vitamin A – encourage healthy vision, tissue growth and immune function 
  • Omega 3 fatty acids – boost brain health & nervous system health, and regulate postpartum mood

An added advantage for breastfeeding mums is that these nutrients can also transfer to your newborn via your breastmilk and help give them a strong start in life! 

When and How Long to Take Postnatal Supplements 

You can start taking postnatal supplements as soon as you’ve given birth. Your obstetrician-gynaecologist should be able to advise you on how long you should consume postnatal supplements. As a rule of the thumb, this duration can span from a minimum of six months and continue as long as you’re breastfeeding. 

A new mum’s body undergoes vast transformation during the postpartum period, and postnatal supplements are a good way to close any nutritional gaps and provide you with adequate support to optimise your healing and recovery. By getting the proper nutrients that you need during this crucial time, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re nurturing your health as well as fully embracing the wonderful experience of motherhood. 

Date Night Ideas for Parents

Life changes when your family expands. This is especially true when you have newborns or young children, who require your care and attention 24/7. As you and your spouse place all your energy on your little ones, more often than not, your relationship as a couple gets put on the backburner. Even as you get immersed in the world of parenting, it is also imperative that you carve out time to reconnect as partners. This is where allocating dedicated date nights can come in handy. 

Admittedly, a date night when you have young children in your life may look different from when there were just the two of you – when you could dress up, stay out as late as you want and paint the town red together. However, the time spent together sans children can be an essential kindle in refuelling the spark that made you fall in love with each other. In fact, date nights can be seen as a great investment in your relationship. It is often thought that couples who designate regular date nights tend to have tighter bonds, better communication and fewer conflicts.

Planning Your Date Night 

When planning your date night, you’ll need to figure out a couple of thing, such as:

  • When will it take place?
  • Will you need to find a sitter?
  • Do you have to prepare anything in advance? (either for your children or for your date)
  • What kind of activities will you and your partner actually enjoy?

Knowing these things will help you plan your date in advance. However, in the event that something does come up, such as your child getting sick, or even one of you getting sick, make sure you have a backup, just in case.

Fun at Home

If budget or lack of childcare does not allow you to indulge in a night out in town, date night at home can also be a fun way to purposefully reconnect with your partner. A bonus is that you won’t face the stress of navigating traffic or being too far away from your little ones! 

Here are some ideas of what you can do at home:  

Plan a game night

Pick up a variety of games (some strategic, some funny, romantic, etc.) and bust out the games after the kids go to bed or during nap time! This is a really fun way to spark up some friendly competition and even conversation with one another!

Look at old photos together

Looking at childhood photos from before you knew each other or old photos of the two of you together will spark some interesting conversations and bring back fond memories.

Have a movie night

This is a classic and a great way to relax after the little ones go to bed. Make some popcorn (or whatever snack is your favourite), get cosy and start the movie.

If you’re an early bird, you could even start your morning by getting up before the kids to enjoy some coffee together while watching a movie. There’s nothing like a little snuggle time and  movie to start your day!

Cook up a romantic meal

There’s a reason why the saying “The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach” is so popular. A great way to say “I love you” is with a romantic, home-made meal! Surprise your partner with a special meal. You could add in extra touches like strewing rose petals, putting on some nice perfume and dressing in their favourite outfit, and really turn it into a romantic affair.

Make cocktails or have a wine, cheese or chocolate tasting night

Have a cocktail night: try to recreate your favourites or experiment until you come up with a signature cocktail you can call your own. Or have some wine and cheese or chocolate. Wine goes great with cheese and chocolate, so you know you can’t go too wrong with either of these pairings.

Give each other massages

Being parents can be tough. A great way to add in some romance is by giving one another a massage! Not only does it feel nice to feel your partner’s touch, but it probably feels so relaxing to get a massage after a long day. Find a video on YouTube and try some new massage techniques, or go freestyle! 

Take a bath together

This one will really kick up the romance a notch, but hey, that’s what you’re here for, right?

Be sure to pour a glass of wine or your favourite drink, add in some calm scented bubbles, and enjoy your warm bath with your partner!

Get outside and watch the sunset together

Depending on what time your kids go to bed, you might be able to catch a gorgeous sunset with your partner! There’s always something special and mesmerising about snuggling up with your partner and watching the sun go down together.

Experience a Personal Touch at Danai Cresenvale

Are you a new mum searching for a confinement centre that can cater to the needs of you and your baby? As a new mother, it is crucial to have access to quality care to ensure a smooth transition to motherhood. At Danai Cresenvale Postnatal Haven Confinement Centre, we provide top-notch postnatal care for mothers and newborns in a comfortable and luxurious setting.

We offer private rooms to make your confinement stay as pleasant as possible. You can opt to have your baby room with you or in the nursery while being taken care of by our trained medical team, as well as having your spouse stay with you. This can help you to not only feel more at home, but also be able to bond with your new baby together. 

We even provide personalised assistance when it comes to feeding your baby. As a breastfeeding-friendly facility, we can help you to establish a proper rhythm and routine to ensure that you are comfortable and not stressed during feeding time. This also includes making it easy for you to pump your breastmilk, which will then be stored within our breastmilk refrigerator. At times when you’re too tired, we will help you feed your baby with the stored breastmilk. 

Our confinement centre offers various other services like personal daily meals prepared by our in-house chef. Our healthy meals are prepared fresh daily with carefully planned menus to accommodate your preferences. We also have vegetarian meals to cater for vegetarian mummies. All recipes are by the centre’s very own dietitian, thus ensuring that all mummies get the nutrients they need for them to heal properly during their confinement period.

Being a new parent can be both exciting and stressful for a new mother. How you respond in an emergency is critical. Ideally, you should be able to react quickly and effectively in any emergency and avoid placing your child’s life in danger. That is why at Danai Cresenvale, we hold CPR classes for new mummies. Our trained medical staff will guide and show all new mummies the correct way to perform CPR on infants,  and importantly, what to do and not to do during emergencies. With this training, a new mother can gain the skills they need to save their infant if the need arises.

Not forgetting, we also offer personalised postnatal massages that can be arranged to suit your schedule. We can arrange for professional masseurs to be at Cresenvale at a time of your convenience to administer a relaxing and invigorating confinement massage to facilitate your body’s healing and recovery. Our professional and experienced team is specially trained to provide personalised care and support throughout your stay with us. We prioritise the health and wellbeing of both mother and baby, adhering to strict safety protocols and maintaining a clean and hygienic environment to ensure comfort and peace of mind. Contact us to find out more.

Tips For Postpartum Exercise

A mummy’s lifestyle changes dramatically with a newborn. One of the challenges for new mothers returning to exercise after giving birth is knowing “how much is too much”. During pregnancy and after birth, our bodies change dramatically in a short time. Add to that the new demands of motherhood and we have a lot to navigate in what can seem like a whirlwind of change. Knowing the general progression of exercise, what postpartum exercise programmes are safe, what exercises to avoid and the warning signs of when you may be overdoing it is helpful. 

Here are some need-to-know facts about postpartum exercise:

  1. Talk to your doctor first

Talking to your doctor is a key first step towards achieving your postpartum exercise goals. They may give you the go-ahead right away, or suggest that you wait a few weeks before you resume exercise. Some may even recommend waiting until after your six-week checkup. Sure you may feel ready to go, but listen to your doctor’s advice.

We suggest you talk to your doctor before leaving the hospital after giving birth. Just ask them what kind of physical activity they recommend. If you have something specific in mind, like running or yoga, bring it up and see what they say. That way, you’ll know exactly what you can and cannot do when you get home.

  1. Start slow and listen to your body

Your body has just been through a lot. The muscles in your hips, thighs and belly have been put to the test. Your breasts are bigger and put more stress on your back, and you’re probably carrying more weight than you were before you got pregnant. 

Give your body time to recover before starting any exercise programme to avoid the risk of unnecessary injury. We recommend starting with activities like walking, light calisthenics and stretching. They may not seem like much right now, but consider this as testing the water. You need to see what you can and can’t do with your new body.

Try a 15-minute walk with your baby, perform some body-weight squats (sitting down and standing up from a chair repeatedly works well to start) or put together a light yoga routine.

When you know you can do short, light activities comfortably and without pain, gradually build up the duration and intensity. Just remember, starting out small and slow and building from there is much better than pushing too hard, injuring yourself and having to wait an additional six months to a year.

Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, focus on doing what you can.

  1. Practice pelvic floor exercises 

Doing pelvic floor exercises (also called Kegels) doesn’t take the place of cardio activities like walking but is important for your post-baby body.

Kegel pelvic floor exercises—or repeated, voluntary contracting of the pelvic floor muscles—can promote healing and proper blood flow to the pelvic floor region following delivery. Furthermore, you’ll slowly strengthen your pelvic floor, which helps avoid urine leakage and pelvic organ prolapse like bladder prolapse. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help you learn how to do Kegels and make sure you’re doing them correctly.

  1. Eat Well

This tip isn’t directly related to lacing up and hitting the road or getting your yoga on. But right now your body is doing some major healing. Hence, nutrition certainly plays a big part in helping you feel good and lose postpartum weight. Eating healthily and exercising go hand in hand, so don’t focus on one and neglect the other!

Remember, the postpartum period is a time to be kind to yourself and ease back into exercise. Each time you work out, make it a point to check in with your body and ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I feel?
  • Does anything hurt?
  • Does this workout make me feel energised or ready for a nap?

If possible, take a few notes after each workout, at least in the early stages of postnatal exercise. That way, you can see any patterns or areas of concern that you may need to share with your doctor.

Some red flags to be aware of during this time include:

  • vaginal bleeding
  • abdominal pain
  • sudden discomfort in your pelvic region

If exercise is causing you pain or bleeding, talk with your doctor right away. In addition to an office visit, they may recommend modifications such as decreasing the intensity and duration of the activity.

The Do’s & Don’ts Of Postpartum Nutrition

After giving birth, every new mother needs to take the time to get proper care and rest. After all, you’d just spent the past nine to ten months growing a human being. You may be in a dilemma as to what to eat and what to avoid. You probably want to get back in shape, shed your pregnancy weight, get your energy back and, most importantly, breastfeed. With a plethora of information available on post-pregnancy dietary trends, you might usually find yourself getting confused. 

Worry not. Here are the key things to look out for in your postpartum diet:

Focus on: 

  1. Calories

To keep the body in an anabolic state (rebuilding tissue), you’ll need enough calories to support the healing process. If you are breastfeeding, it is recommended to aim for 300-400 more calories more than your pre-pregnancy diet daily, with a balance between fat, carbs and protein.

  1. Protein

Extra protein needs to be consumed regularly, and not just in one meal from one source. Every meal should have portions of protein from different sources. Protein helps to rebuild tissue & replenish blood lost during childbirth. It also helps to fight infection & balance body fluids. As with during pregnancy, you’ll also need an extra 25 grams of protein per day.

  1. Iron

This essential mineral is responsible for the creation of new blood cells. It’s common to experience iron deficiency both during and after pregnancy. When pregnant, your body requires larger volumes of red blood cells to transport nutrients and oxygen to the baby in-utero, while considerable amounts of blood are lost during delivery. Find iron in red meat, tofu, beans, lentils and dark leafy greens. Do take note that plant-based sources of iron like spinach are not absorbed as efficiently as iron from meat. However, vitamin C can help increase the absorption rate, so add vitamin C-rich food like lemon juice, bell peppers or strawberries to your diet.

  1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a huge role in the healing process. Studies show that vitamin C can help speed the wound healing process. It is also a highly effective antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage. Choose fruits and veggies that are rich in this vitamin and incorporate them into your day. 

  1. Fiber

The thought of going to the bathroom post-delivery can be intimidating. Getting enough fiber and fluids can help alleviate constipation. Fill most of your plate with high-fiber food like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In addition, do also focus on food with insoluble fiber like bran cereal, nuts, beans and potatoes. Insoluble fiber moves through the intestines intact, creating bulk and preventing constipation. Oatmeal and chia seeds, on the other hand, are good sources of soluble fiber that can help with digestion. Keep your water bottle handy too. Drinking plenty of water will also help you go to the bathroom as well as replenishing fluids lost during childbirth. 

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids

Just as in pregnancy, lactating women should consume 3-4 servings of fish per week. Opt for varieties of fishes that are low in mercury and high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), such as salmon, anchovies, sardines and trout. DHA, in particular, is important for fetal brain development. 

Avoid:

  1. Alcohol

You should avoid all kinds of alcohol after you have your baby. Not only will it severely impact the way your body heals itself, but it can also directly pass to your baby through your breastmilk, which can stunt their growth and cause a range of other physical issues.

  1. Caffeine 

Caffeine in moderation is fine. However, if you’re looking at celebrating your ability to consume caffeine again by making quad-mochas or latte a daily habit, you may want to half-caf that order. Caffeine gets into breastmilk, and since baby’s body isn’t equipped to process caffeine efficiently, the caffeine can act as a stimulant for the baby that can cause irritability and sleep issues.

  1. Some Fish

Some fish – especially king mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, tilefish, tuna and bigeye tuna – can be high in mercury. When a breastfeeding woman eats these fish, some of the methylmercury passes into her breastmilk and can cause harm to the baby’s developing nervous system. If you love fish and avoiding it would be hard for you, choose low-mercury fish, such as salmon, pollock, catfish, shrimp and canned light tuna. These are safer for new mums.

There’s no one size-fits-all postpartum diet to follow. However, do make sure to stay hydrated and eat a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet throughout your postpartum period and while breastfeeding. Keep in mind that you don’t need to eat all these foods all the time. Variety and awareness are key!  

With good dietary habits, you’ll be putting yourself on the fast track to recovery so you can be the happy, energised mum you want to be. Providing your body with good nutrition, and your brain and heart with patience and attention can help you feel more at peace. Be really kind to yourself, Mama!

The Important Do’s and Don’ts For Mummy During The Confinement Period

There are several Asian societies that practise postpartum confinement. This comprises traditional customs that have been passed down for generations and are intended to aid new mums in recovering after pregnancy and childbirth. For one, the mother and child are strongly advised to remain indoors during the confinement period in order to prevent future illness. While each culture has its own practices, there are some common do’s and don’ts, diets and essentials that you need to know.

Confinement Guides That You Can Follow

Do Get Extra Help

The confinement period is meant for mothers to get as much rest as possible for a full recovery after childbirth. Nursing can leave you exhausted due to the effect on the hormones. It is also advised that you avoid strenuous activities or lifting heavy objects until at least three months after childbirth so that you can fully recover.

Do Have a Proper & Nutritious Diet

Taking care of your diet is very crucial during the confinement period. Different races and cultures have different practices on the foods to eat and to avoid; however, the objective remains the same. The diet should purge ‘wind’ in the body and promote the circulation of blood. It should also promote milk supply and make the joints stronger.

For example, the Chinese practice is to drink red dates tea, a refreshing confinement beverage, and eat chicken cooked in sesame oil and a traditional tonic that consists of ten herbs, while avoiding food that was cooked the previous day. In Malay culture, a special diet consisting of ‘heating’ foods like turmeric, ginger and moringa leaves is encouraged while ‘cooling’ foods such as watermelon, watercress and pear have to be avoided to restore balance within the body. Air Jamu is one common drink consumed by new mothers to maintain the body heat. On the other hand, garlic milk and chicken cooked with herbs are part of the confinement diet for the Indians.

Do Not Consume Cold Drinks

Cold drinks are believed to have a ‘cooling’ effect, which slows down recovery and may lead to poorer health. You are advised to take hot drinks and many traditional practices recommend drinking hot teas as part of the confinement diet.

Confinement Guides That  You Can Choose To Ignore

You are not allowed to bathe or wash your hair

This might be one of the biggest concerns of new mothers. It is a traditional practice for Chinese mothers not to bathe or wash their hair during confinement periods. The reason behind this practice is to prevent mothers from catching a cold and causing ‘wind-cold’ to the body. It is also believed that these might cause mothers to suffer from rheumatism and headaches. 

However, contrary to traditional beliefs, experts do not recommend that mothers obey this rule, especially in hot and humid Malaysia. It is necessary to take care of your personal hygiene and keep yourself clean and fresh, especially breastfeeding mothers. 

Warm water can be used for a bath, and you can dry off right away. Before taking a bath, make sure to close all of your doors and windows to prevent being exposed to the outdoor breeze once you’ve finished. When your body and hair are still damp from the shower, avoid going into an air-conditioned room or having a fan blowing straight at you. In addition, taking a herbal bath can help you get rid of wind and ease postpartum discomfort.

You cannot consume plain water

According to traditional belief, new mums should refrain from drinking water during confinement and are only permitted to consume red dates tea.

The fact is that you need to drink enough water to stay hydrated, especially if you are a breastfeeding mother. You can consume plain water during confinement to get hydrated and in order to keep your kidney producing more urine in the first few weeks after you give birth. This is to remove the excess fluid in your body during your pregnancy. A normal adult needs at least eight glasses of water a day. As a breastfeeding mum, you should drink a little more to meet your breastfeeding needs. Meanwhile, you can enjoy red dates tea or ginger tea in moderation.

You should only consume meat, liver and herbs

The belief here is to meet the needs of getting enough ‘heating’ food such as meat, liver and ginger. It is fine to eat these foods. In fact, foods including beef, pork intestines and ginger include nutrients that support lactation and healing. However, new mothers should consume other things as well. A balanced diet is necessary for your body to heal.
The confinement period is a very important time for you to recover and adjust to a new lifestyle with your baby. If you have more confinement or pregnancy-related questions, feel free to visit Danai Cresenvale Postnatal Haven to find out more.