Recently I learned about an amazing postpartum tradition among the Asian community called, “Sitting the Month”. Its a 30-day process in which the new mother allows her body to rest and heal.
As the mother is “sitting” she is to avoid cold at all cost as it is believed to slow the shrinking process of the uterus. If the mother needs to, say open the refrigerator, it must be done with oven mitts so not to introduce coldness into her body. The goal is to restore the delicate yin and yang balance.
The mother is not to leave the home and must stay warm. Bathing is not permitted, nor is television or reading as it strains the eyes. Special meals are prepared with food that reduce swelling and promote lactation. During this time, other women in the family take care of the baby while the new mom rests.
Sitting the Month is still commonly practiced in many parts of the world. Here is the U.S., we hire postpartum doulas, but in other parts of the world “sitting” is big business. Facilities are opening up throughout Asia catering to higher income brackets. They pick up mom and baby upon discharge at the hospital and check them into a more luxurious postpartum sitting period. These luxury postpartum centers, or confinement centers, are charge as little as $1,500 to $60,000 for a 30-day stay. Another option is for a women to hire an at home confinement lady who takes care of all of her postpartum needs if family is unable to assist during this time. Yet women are drawn to the luxury centers as mothers are able to partake in chef-created meals, massage, infant care classes and a beauty salon. But whether you can afford luxurious postpartum care or not, the one common thing that these women all do is bind their bellies during this time. A practice that is barely catching on over here in the U.S.
If you are interested in more information on “sitting the month”, here are some really great blog posts from a first person perspective:
What postpartum custom does your family practice, if any?