Thursday, 10 January 2008


Disclaimer: Warning!! The below post that you are about to read contains unconventional, nontraditional and some might even call it unorthodox methods of doing confinement. So if you are very traditional and insist that confinement must be carried out in a certain manner, you are advised to skip this post and come back in a week or two.

I think the Mrs is really glad with her decision to do our own confinement instead of staying with either her mum or mine. She has all the freedom in the world to do whatever she likes.

Take showering for example. She took one after being injected with the Antibiotics and while waiting for Dr N to break the water bag. She took another one the next morning and since then once a day everyday.

Since the Mrs is already showering on a daily basis, naturally she has no excuse not to help with the dishes right?! No, I'm kidding. It was strictly on a volunteering basis. I try and do most of the washings but sometimes while I was busy with work, she will help do the dishes.

So much for not wetting yourself huh?!

I understand that most women on confinement really look forward to their next Gynae or Pediatrician visit. And their mothers or mothers-in-law will probably wonder why the doctors' visits seem to get more and more frequent and these visits also seem to get longer as well. In the beginning their daughters and daughters-in-law will only be gone for a quick hour or two. By the time the confinement is coming to an end, they will take the entire half a day or even longer.

This is not the case for the Mrs because for the last 15 days, we have been out for no less than 4 times and only twice were legitimate. That was our visit to Isaac's Pediatrician and a follow up blood test for Isaac's jaundice level. One of the other outings was to Ikea in Tampines to meet our friends for lunch. My sis had just collected her car so she took us out for a spin. Another trip was back to the Mrs's office. She had to return because during her absence, her capable colleague decided to quit. She wanted to meet her to try and retain her. Since we are without a maid and we cannot let our parents know, Isaac came along for the ride each time.

I remembered this friend that we met for lunch at Ikea was a little taken aback when we asked to meet for lunch. His reaction was the usual i.e. "On confinement right? Can come out meh?" My retort was during our second day at the hospital, Dr N knowing that the Mrs was a little bored, asked her to change and go to Paragon for coffee and shopping. I also added in that how is it different from going to see the Gynae or Pediatrician? Guess what his reply was? He said we are supposed to go out when necessary and to make it a quick one. He added that based on my thinking, we might as well go to Bali for our vacation during this confinement period. Not a bad idea if you ask me.

I am not saying that what we did was right or wrong and neither are we trying to be defiant. I guess we see ourselves as the younger generation and we compare ourselves to our European and American counterpart. They do not practice confinement and you can usually see them out with their newborn having a nice cuppa at Starbucks after a few days rest.

One of the reader of this blog also pointed out that these older generation always preach that women on confinement should do this and this and avoid doing that and that but how many of them are really living a life without backache or rheumatism at their old age now? I hope I do not come across as mean but seriously by sticking to these old wives tales, they are not exactly spared these old age problem also.

I think the only thing that we are doing "right" is on the food department. My sis was very nice in buying my mum a confinement cookbook and the Mrs had benefited greatly from it. For about 2 weeks now, my mum had yet to repeat any dishes for our lunch and dinner. I was truly amazed that confinement can have this many variety and can taste this good. If it is not due to the use of ginger and sesame oil for most of them, one can't really tell that these dishes are actually confinement food.

My mum and dad are kind and nice enough to prepare lunch and dinner for us on a daily basis. So all I had to do was to swing by their place and pick it up twice a day. Usually they will prepare a set of "normal" food for me and confinement food for her but I always end up eating both types. So much so that I feel heaty these days already. I seem to be having constant sore throat and I think it all started during the Mrs’s hospital stay where I ate both my share of the hospital food and her confinement food.

Yes, Mount Elizabeth serves confinement food for mummies now and no, I’m not a big eater. Its just that the food portion for husband is a little small.


Anonymous said...

Once again, a post that brings back memories for me!

Am impressed you managed to take a trip out with Isaac. I did my confinement without help from mum/mum-in-law too; hired a day nanny for 10 weekdays, and I was flat out exhausted the whole time. I didn't even know what was happening during the day because I would sink into bed the minute my nanny arrived, and only wake up to eat/pump.

I showered in the hospital and every day after that, and drank a lot of water until the nanny forced me to drink red dates water instead. The first thing I ate after the delivery was a pack of Famous Amos cookies.

Of course, the effects on my health are yet to be seen. But I couldn't help agreeing when I read your point about our ang moh counterparts; they seem to have a more lighthearted attitude towards pregnancy and delivery. I attended a workshop in my third trimester, where we were the only SG couple there. All the mummies there were also in their third trimester, and boy, were they glowing. They looked fresh faced and raring to go, a stark contrast from the mummies I encountered at my gynae's clinic, who usually looked worn out, and well, pregnant. Of course, there may be many other reasons for this apart from mindset, work stress, for one. :)

Hope to read more updates soon!

missmoon said...

your parting shot made me laugh out loud.

unconventional confinement, it may be, so long as you're both happy and ok, anything goes. important thing is to feel good about what you're doing. i didn't do a very traditional confinement either, neither did i eat confinement food, and my mum did my confinement for me! i gave her a few ground rules before agreeing to her doing my confinement - 1. bathe everyday, wash hair every other day; 2. no ginger related food, no pig's trotters; 3. sleep in aircon room. i was wearing sleeveless all the time, barefooted all the time, and brought baby out for long periods of time too.

no right or wrong, since these are merely practices, right? ha. anyway, time really flies. in a couple weeks, Issac is turing 1 month old! any plans for celebration?

family portrait to show, perhaps? heh

Nicole said...

Haha...I'm quite similar to your mrs. We went shopping after our visit to PD for cleo's jaundice as well! And we even went to another shopping centre to pick up her chinese name as well. *giggles*

The first time I did my confinement back then, I was really strict. Except that I on the air con in the room, the rest like no touching of water, no fan, no shower and anything else, I'll follow strictly.

This time round, except that I didn't shower everyday(I shower every other 3 days), I did everything that's not supposed to be done like what others said. I clean myself thrice a day. I wash dishes, on the fan, on the air con in the room, shower for claire, clean cleo and I didn't even drink the red dates water. The first time, I drank red dates water throughout and I super hate it. So this time round, I chose not to drink it, my mum got no choice except to not cook it again. Haha.The only strict part is that I eat/ate all the confinement food. No matter what food my mum cook, I'll just eat. Actually, I quite enjoy the confinement food but it's heaty though. She even didn't nag at me when I shampoo my hair(with confinement shampoo), took shower and also washes dishes. I guess it's either she ' see open' or she simply ' no eyes to see'. *laughs*

Anyway, confinement should be made comfortable and not that you have to feel that you're in agony. Moreover, women already went through the toughest part and agony part to give birth to a child, what more tough stuffs do we have to go through??*giggles*

Anonymous said...

Hello Isaac's Dad

How have everything been? It has been a long time since I read your blog. Have been busy with baby.

Well, I also did not follow all the confinement rules either. Rules are meant to be broken! Haha My mum was nice enough to allow me to bend the rules although she was not pleased that I refused to listen to her. I showered everyday, twice a day I must say! I believe in hygiene especially if you are breastfeeding. I even washed my hair. Although I have my mum and maid to help me with the cooking and chores, I still try to handle the baby stuff on my own at times (bathing the baby, washing my pump, bottles etc). Talking abt not touching water....

Re food, I was so sick of it after eating for straight 2 weeks cos practically everything is cooked with sesame oil and ginger. I asked my bro to get me mcdonalds fish burger and chicken nuggets hahaha. I even cooked instant noodles for lunch one fine day. Of cos, I still continued to complete my one month confinement food program after that. :D

Anonymous said...

Old people say you cant drink water, only red dates tea, milo or milk etc. Thats really nonsense. I questioned my mum. Aren't red dates tea or milo mixed with water too? and what if I finish the red dates tea, what should I drink then? She smiled and say "water loh". :P

Confinement to me is a time for new mums to recuperate and bond with their baby. Eat well and rest well is more important.

Anonymous said...

i thought what graphic pics you had posted when i saw your disclaimer. hahaha... to me, its no big deal at all! coz i belong to this group. i did an unconventional confinement with the help of my mum only.

my mum mainly cooked confinement food for me and most of the time, i took care of my son myself coz i breastfed him. as for showering, i tried to tahan for as long as i can but i couldn't take it anymore at day 5 and from there onwards, i secretly showered everyday but no hair washing and officially showered and washed my hair with my mum's permission using the herbs. my hubby caught me showering secretly but i can't be bothered as i thought i need to maintain my hygiene level esp when i was breastfeeding. but my mum insisted on no air-con, only fan which i found it strange as most older folks would allow air-con and not fan. i did the dishes too and bathe my son daily.

so far, there's no adverse effect. and i dun see why there should and like you said, the younger generation dun practise strict confinement and so are the caucasians and do we see any reporting of harmful effects on no confinement??

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in those rules of confinement too. The older generations probably hv to avoid bathing cos they need to travel out of the house to the common bath to clean themselves... in the process, they might catch a cold or something... In modern days, we do not hv such concerns. Hvg said that, I still follow the 'rules', juz to please my mum & in laws...hehe... when they r not ard, I'll quickly do whatever i want to (BATH!!!!) hahaha...

There's 1 thing i believe in tho - confinement food. The large amt of ginger helps to expel wind (esp good for mums who hv gone thr C section...) I hv even read an article somewhere that sesame oil actually helps to reduce the hormones that causes post natal blues...

Aces Family said...

Hi there,

The new generation mommies/daddies will minimised the List to do during confinment.

Me being the traditional type - went through my confinement - the traditional way.. : P

Important thing is Mrs must rest well & eat well.


Unknown said...

like most of the ladies here, i oso bathe daily (hair n body) and still drink tons of water. heck care those red date drink la. so heaty. catered confinement food so food dept was more or less ok except for the pig intestines n etc. yucks!! i did the housework once i'm feeling better from my delivery. too bad my mil came n stayed over n my mum popped over occassionally too hence my freedom got v limited. :( i dun really care much abt the myths of wat wld happen in old age if i didnt follow conventional confinement rules. hey, i dunno when i will live up till so no pt worrying abt tat. :D i really envy u n ur missus way of confinement. am glad my confinement was over. phew! tat's a HUGE relief!!

Lionel n Rachel said...

notty, notty, notty! skip confinement eh? haha...

actually, i'm one of those who dun believe in confinement either. i prefer the ang mo style, running outside & everywhere just after a few days of rest.

nut i hv no in laws constantly breathing down my neck...shd do this, shdnt do that...etc

even my CL was also modernised. she say nowadays we youngsters cut short everything. so she also follow our wishes but for the sake of the old folks, just bear with it.

soon the "confinement" period will be over. updates on issac? fotos? :)

Anonymous said...

I can never imagine not showering.. haha, i can't even imagine not showering for one whole day!

whatever la, if i will die a painful old woman so be it, rather then die smelly..LOL

Mrs Chew

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi evelyn,

I like the fact that reading my blog has as a reminiscing effect for you and other readers.

Actually between the Mrs and I, we pretty managed to take care of Isaac. He was pretty cooperative also.

You description gave me a very un-glam picture of you lying in bed in one of those pajamas gown with unkempt hair and looking really very zombie like. Ha Ha Ha

I cant agree with you more on the ang moh looking more radiant than most of us Asian MTB. I agree with you that they live each day as though they were not pregnant instead of having to worry about all the myths and avoiding this and that.

A Husband's Voice said...

hi missmoon,

Hey what can I say, I aimed to please but I was worried that you readers will picture me as this 150kg 1st time dad gobbling down the Mrs's food at the hospital. Some things have to be clarified.

Wow! Compared to us, you seemed to have a much easier time for your confinement. We were breaking the rules but I must admit that most of them were done without both mothers' knowledge. You the woman! You got license to do as you pleased! Well done!

We'll be celebrating Isaac's 1st month this sat and surely there will be pictures as well as family portrait.

Stay tuned!

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi nicole,

So can we say that should you have the 3rd baby you will do even less for the confinement?! Ha Ha

Hmmm.... not many of you ladies like the red dates water huh?! The Mrs is okay with it except that Isaac is "suffering" from all the confinement food. The Mrs is breastfeeding and with all these heaty food intake Isaac has almost pimple like face now. It's rather red!

I never quite see it in the way you described! Already went through so much to have and deliver the baby, I guess all you Mothers want is to be left to do what pleases you.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi reishi,

It has been a while. How have you been? And your baby?

I really can't imagine going through a whole month without touching water!!! I'm not sure about you ladies but I do "dirty" my hands when eating then how? Cannot wash also?

I guess since the Mrs didn't mind the ginger and sesame oil, confinement food wise was good. Did I mention that I was sharing her daily confinement food too? I have never eaten so much rice in my life. Both lunch and dinner. Finally one day I told my mum not to prepare my lunch. Instead I went out and got myself a packet of fishball noodles (dry with chili).

I totally agree that confinement should be for the mother to rest and spend some quality time bonding with the baby.

A Husband's Voice said...

hi missy,

I am really surprised to learn that most of you mothers practiced unconfined-ment!

As for the showering, hey, at least you tried for 5 days right?! Surely your mum won't fault you there.

Maybe we can all get together when we are in our twilight to discuss this matter again. We will surely know by then if we should have listened! Ha Ha

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi nana,

You have a very interesting take on the bathing issue. After seeing your comment I honestly believe that that is probably the real reason for the older generation for not showering. I mean they have to go to the well and fetch water right?

Then again having said that, I heard people telling me that the older generations do not have the luxury of staying at home for confinement. If they are to be believed, these mothers will be at the field working 1 or 2 days after giving birth. So much for confinement.

Maybe there is also truth to the sesame oil theory because the Mrs is not feeling any post natal blues (touch wood) so far. Maybe it is due to the frequent going out and enjoying life that helps.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hey there astee,

You don't know how correct you are. I don't think you are that old so when I say us, the new generation I included you.

Anyway majority of the new generation are doing things just to satisfy the mothers. If it is up to them they will do the minimum. Some, as you can see from the above comments are already bargaining with their mothers.

Since you went through the whole nine yards then you must definitely come and meet us when we are in our twilight to compare. (see my reply to missy) Ha Ha

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi jj,

So you were subject to spot checks too huh?!

I recall this funny evening shortly after the Mrs came home and we were doing our own confinement when my MIL called to announce that she and my BIL are coming over to visit us and see Isaac.

It was panic station for the 2 of us. The Mrs had to put on more clothes, wear flip flops and make sure that she did not smell too good from the shower.

I had to ensure aircon is off and windows open to a minimum etc.

Looking back it was pretty funny. Even now whenever the Mrs and I went out with Isaac, her mum will call our house and when no one answers she will call her handphone. We will have to ignore and make up some excuse when she returns her call once we're home.

You can only go to the Gynae and Pediatrician so many times right?! Use it any more often will worry her into thinking if there is anything wrong with her daughter or grandson.

A Husband's Voice said...

hi yvonne,

hey, judging from the above comments we are certainly not the "worst"! Ha Ha

Now I am kind of wondering what will you ladies do when it is your daughter of DIL's turn to do confinement. Interesting isn't it?

I have been very busy with don't know what also so by the time I am replying to all your comments we are already near the end of confinement.

We will be celebrating Isaac's 1st month so there will surely be pictures including family portrait.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi mrs chew,

You are sure getting quite a bit of heads up huh?!

At this rate you will become an expert by the time you give birth surely!

Nicole said...

So you'll be doing Issac's 1st month on the actual day. 26th. That's good. I'm doing Cleo's 1st month on the 27th(sun). Indeed, the timing of our kids are very close.

And no, there won't be a 3rd child, we can't take the stress! Haha! No lah, we decided to stop at 2. :)

The confinement of both your mrs and mine are coming to an end, I'm SOOOOOOOOOOO looking forward to it. Haha...

Same like your mrs, as I breastfeed and is drinking DOM wine as well, Cleo's face got red spots as well but not overly much. I'm more concerned whether she'll be drunk! HAHAHA!

Unknown said...

ya, we can oni go to the gynae n pd X no. of times. :P my mil was wif me thru out the confinement mth. it was sheer torture on my end though she wasnt the naggy sort. i felt so "scruntinized". :P

Anonymous said...

i think the rules can be relaxed during confinement when it comes to mother being out and about. i certainly bathed everyday and immediately after the birth and went out shopping as well. and i didn't eat confinement foods at all, but drank chicken essence and yoshimeisu while breastfeeding. but i would err on the side of caution when it comes to the infant. because it is a fact that their immunity can't be compared to an adult's, and that's why it's recommended they stay home and venture out only when necessary during the initial months to allow their bodies to become stronger as they thrive on mother's milk. whenever i felt too imprisoned at home, i notified my parents early so they could help out - even for an hour - so i could take a breather and they could take over for a bit. it's a small sacrifice that will surface later when your child appears to be hardier and doesn't fall ill that easily... it's because he had a sound headstart to strengthen his defence system. bringing out baby may be exhausting especially for a newborn as he is being moved around and exposed to stuff like temperature and light fluctuations, though we are so accustomed to it, that it hardly crosses our mind how it may affect the newborn. best to swaddle him and leave him in his cot to sleep in a well-ventilated (not air-conditioned) room and rouse him when it's latch-on time. i have talked more about the baby than the mother as the latter is more aware and in control of decision-making regarding her well-being but i feel a different approach must be taken for her offspring. pardon my frankness; take care and may all be well for everyone at home.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hi

Dun worry about the red pimple spots on his face. It is very common among newborns. It will go away eventually after 3 mths. If you are uncomfortable to see that on his face, see his pd and he will give you a wash to clean and a cream to apply.

My boy also has it, so was my cousin's daughter. Both my MIL and mum were so worried. They even asked me how come he so young got pimples? Some pple said that is milk rash, some said heat rash. They even asked me to stop breastfeeding since it was affecting my bb becos I was taking a lot of heaty food like chicken essence, DOM, sesame oil, ginger and korean ginseng powder during my confinement. We even tried putting him in a air conditioned room for few days thinking its heat rash but it didnt go away.

Finally I checked with his pd. He said it is known as seborrheic dermatitis. If it appears on the head, it is be known as cradle cap. When he is in mummy's womb, he is surrounded by water so he need no moisturiser on his skin but when he is out, his oil glands will start functioning and may become overactive and if his pores are not yet mature enough, his face may have such red pimple like spots. Something like clogged pores. nothing serious. Wont scar his face as long as we dun squeeze it or scratch it for him. He may feel uncomfortable and want to rub/scratch his face. Just put his mittens on and keep him cool n clean. Just need to keep his skin clean by wiping gently with a cotton ball dampened with cool boiled water.

Anonymous said...

Really looking forward to seeing your family portrait. He looks more like you or your Mrs? Mine looks more like his Dad. But he has my nose and the colour of my hair - brown. :) He can be pretty cranky at times, not like yours so cooperative. But he knows when to make you smile. He is quite a lady killer, flashing his pearly white (although it is still hidden in his gums) at the aunties and uncles and making funny faces/gestures/sounds when we are talking about him.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi Nicole,

No?! Not trying for a boy? Ha Ha

Yeah, the timings for Isaac and Cleo are indeed very close. So do help me out by reminding me on some important dates such as check-ups as well as enrollment for school.

The Mrs does not like DOM so avoided it during confinement but still Isaac got these rashes. We have since gotten him a cream for it and his face has almost completely healed. Let me know if you need it. I can't remember the name off hand.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi jj,

I know what you meaning about being scrutinised. The Mrs felt stressed up as well when these relatives start chipping in on how things should and should not be done.

Unknowingly these people are putting additional pressure on all you mummies.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi ryl,

Thanks for your comment and concern. Don't worry about offending me and I appreciate your frankness because I know you have Baby's concern at heart.

We are not careless parents who expose our Baby to unnecessary risks and dangers. So we do take the necessary precautions whenever Baby is out with us. He will have his socks, mittens, in his long sleeves and swaddled. He will also have his cap. On top of all these, he will be in this body sling that the Mrs carries while he can snugger up in there.

We understand the bacteria and germs involved but on the other hand we do not want to be over protective also. This is the same reason why Dino is still living with us and he occasionally licks Isaac on his feet too.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi reishi,

Ya, by now I learned that it is actually very common for babies to have this pimple like rash on their faces.

As we were going to celebrate his 1st month, the Mrs did not want him to look so red so we got some cream and after only about 2 days, they mostly gone.

You gave a very in-depth explanation on the rashes which I'm sure other soon-to-be or 1st time parents will surely benefit from. Thanks for that.

Er.... not sure if we will have the family portrait after all cause we have had only 1 shot taken with the 3 of us together so far. Unbelievable but true.

Anyway it’s been a month and after all his changes, we're still stuck at about 50-50 on who he takes after more.

I often wonder why Isaac smiles to himself in his sleep. The Mrs said he is dreaming but I always wonder of what?!? What can he possibly dream about? I believe his happiest thought will have to be swimming in a reservoir or milk. That should make him smile.

Nicole said...

Haha...Since Cleo's 1st month celebration are already over, too late for the cream! Haha..But actually, Cleo's face have only a few spots and they've subsided already so I don't need the cream but thanks for offering to let me know.

No, I'm not going to have a 3rd one, unless really..accident.

Two is enough for me. And I think if my girls can be this naughty, I dread to think what will the boy be like*faint*

BTW, how's your premature nephew?? Hope that everything is fine with him and that he's growing well.

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi nicole,

I know it is early to state now since Isaac is only 1 month old and I have no idea what kind of "tortures" he has installed for me but if possible then I would like to have 3.

From what I learned from parents with children of both genders, the main difference between them when young is the loudness. It seems boys develop their communication skills slower so they rely a lot on shouting. Sigh...... Did I mention I like it quiet? Fingers crossed! Ha Ha Ha

My premature nephew, Ayers is okay now. Thanks for asking. He is growing as per normal and the last that I saw him he doesn't look like a premature baby.

Anonymous said...

actually the real main cause is not really known But some experts say the babies got some of mummies' hormones at the end of the pregnancy, which causes the overactive seborrheic glands.

smiling is their first step to social behavior thats what i read on the web. mine also does that too....he even has nightmares 2....we wonder what he dream of? :P

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi reishi,

Overactive what?!?! glands?! English woman, English!! Ha Ha

To me if baby's good dream is swimming in a pool of milk then their nightmare must be someone uncorking the pool (just like in the cartoons)!! LOL!

Unknown said...

One year too late a comment... But i just came across your blog! :) Haha! My boy was born in jan 2008 too. And I also (like your Mrs) decided to do confinement "my way". i.e. NO no-bathing, no-aircon, no-ginger/chicken/herbal only meals. And I totally enjoyed. I totally agree with her! "Confinement" as we know it in S'pore is quite unheard of in western countries. Haha!

A Husband's Voice said...

Hi San,

Never mind that your comment is a year late because my own response is a month late also. Hahaha

I'm sure there are many mummies like you and the Mrs who do the confinement your own way. I'm also sure there are many more who want to follow but because of their mothers or MIL, can't.

Do come back and post your comment again!