We know how strict and confined the traditional Chinese practice confinement after the mothers deliver their baby. How about the rest of the world and what is common among such practices?
China - 30 days
Food that boost recovery and help in blood loss like sesame oil chicken and nourishing soups are served during confinement. Mothers are not encouraged to shower or touch water at all. They drink herbal or red dates soup to replenish loss of blood. No cold drinks at all and no cooling foods and fruits.
Singapore/Malaysia - 28 days
Similar to China on food but people can shower with herbs. Postpartum jambu massage is also popular that is different from elsewhere. Malays do confinement for 45 days and they eat a lot of turmeric-based food, ginger and drumstick leaves.
Taiwan - 30 days
Mothers check into postpartum centers that are like 5 star hotels and the professionals and lactation consultants will take care of both mother and baby. Practices are similar to Chinese confinement but they are allowed to shower as warm air machines are installed in the centers to prevent cold.
Korea - 3 weeks
Seaweed soup called miyeokguk is served for every meal. Visitors are prohibited, and mothers and babies cannot venture outdoors. No shower for the first week only and mothers are not allowed to stay in air-con rooms.
Japan - 3 weeks
3 weeks bed rest where parents will take care of both mother and baby .During this period, friends will celebrate by eating a red bean and rice dish osekihan. The Japanese believes labour pain is a trial for endurance test and will typically abstain from epidural or other pain medication. They also believe babies who cry loudest are healthier and better.
America - 7 days
Shower is taken immediately after birth and there is no restriction on showering daily. They can consume regular food and are encouraged to start walking around or go outdoors even in cold weather. Mother or female relatives will help out with taking care of the baby and help with clean the house. They would also freeze food to be heated up and eaten. 25% of the women usually go back to work after the first week post-delivery.
All mother receive a baby box that can be converted into a baby crib. Clothing, a snowsuit with hat and mittens, diapers, baby toiletries and first aid kit are all included inside. They believe that these baby boxes accounts why they have one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. They have similar confinement habits as the Americans.
Colombia - 40 days
Mothers are to lie in bed the whole of first week. They can only walk around only after the first 7 days. They can only go outdoors after 30 days and slowly go away for a longer period of time after 40 days. They can take some infrequent showers and they do bathe with herbs and vaginal steams.
Netherlands - 8 to 10 days
They have the highest number of home births in the world. Pregnant women are will collect a kraampakket that contains all labour necessities. There will be a kraamverzorgster who is a qualified maternity nurse that acts like a confinement nanny to stay with the mother.
Before you go around comparing notes with your overseas friend, just take note that the culture and beliefs are different for different countries. The most important is to allow the mother to have ample rest to recover from an agonizing labour process.
The exhaustion has only just begun.