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The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Unnecessary introduction of bottle feeding or other food and drinks will have a negative impact on breastfeeding. After six months of age, infants should receive age appropriate foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Consult your doctor before deciding to use infant formula or if you have difficulty breastfeeding.

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Surviving Confinement

Time to separate fact from fiction when it comes to cultural practices.

Confinement Practices.

What is the Confinement Period after giving birth? Although the practices differ between culture and races, essentially, it is a list of practices to be done in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of mum and the little one. Most of the time, this also includes a list of things mummy has to avoid (especially in terms of diet) for a period of time. In Malaysia, there are three different races that have different confinement practices – but all done for the sake of getting mummy back to her best self!

The Malay Pantang

In the Malay culture, it is believed that a healthy womb will ensure that a woman tays radiant and alluring. The confinement period is also believed to help mums regain their pre-baby figure, health and energy levels. Mums are usually supported during this time by a traditional midwife, or even by her own mother or mother in-law. Some of the practices that they carry out during this time are:


The bengkung or traditional wrap (also known as a traditional), is used to flatten the stomach and shrink the uterus. Each wrap has herbs and medicine that helps this process.


“Jamu” refers to dietary supplements that help new mum’s recover after childbirth. It is believed to boost energy levels; keep the body warm; expel excess fat and toxins; shrink all the swollen organs, muscles and veins; remove excess fluids; dispel wind and slim down the tummy. This also includes food that need to be avoided for the period of confinement.


This hot compress is an important aspect of confinement as it is used to dissolve any residual blood clots in the womb. It is also used to break down fat and is made out of herbs, leaves and a heated river stone wrapped in a cloth.

Chinese Confinement Practices

Within Chinese customs, the confinement period acts as a time for new mums to expel toxins, rejuvenate the body and improve blood circulation. A mum’s diet during this time is also very important. They are encouraged to eat liver and kidney cooked in old ginger, sesame oil or rice wine. Herbal soups and tonics are also a main part of the diet, as they rejuvenate the body.

In the Chinese confinement practice, there will be:

  • No bathing for twelve days
  • Absolutely no washing of hair for at least twenty-one days
  • No direct exposure to wind
  • No crying or feelings of sadness
  • No physical exertion

Confinement – The Indian Way

Similar to Malay and Chinese confinement practices, the main purpose to the Indian confinement practice it to help the uterus get back to its normal size and heal any “wounds”. Indian culture believes that if the confinement practices aren’t done correctly, it could lead to health problems later on in the mother’s life.

Taboos in the Indian confinement:

  • Seafood is discouraged when a new mum is breastfeeding.
  • Cabbage and eggplant are prohibited 
  • Excessive drinking of water is discouraged 
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