What should I avoid eating during the confinement period?
I've just given birth. What food should I avoid during confinement? For example, I noticed that the confinement food has a lot of ginger. Should I avoid ginger?
Firstly I would like to congratulate you on the arrival of your precious newborn.
According to TCM, your body is in a deficient (虚) and stagnated （瘀）state post-labour. The reason being your qi and blood has been expended for the nourishment of your child, even more if you are breastfeeding currently. Following labour, your body will discharge blood, mucus and uterine tissue (stagnation), also known as lochia.
Therefore, it is recommended that you avoid chilled and raw food items during your confinement. Herbs and meat are added for its warming and nourishing properties, or to accelerate expulsion of the stagnated materials.
Ginger has a warm and pungent properties, which means it helps to warm up your circulation, and its pungency (essential oil) is known to exert antibacterial effect, which protects you from infections. Therefore you do not have to avoid them. However, you may want to avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, which is a very common ingredient in confinement dishes.
Hope it helps and enjoy your motherhood!
Childbirth takes a lot out of a woman. Apart from expending a lot of energy (Qi), she also suffers significant blood loss, putting her body in a "cold" phase. That is why Chinese culture recommends a month-long of "confinement" for the new mother. This month of rest and modified diet are intended to restore the mother's balance and return her to full health.
In TCM, ginger is a warming herb that improves qi and yang energy, dispels "wind", improves digestion and promotes circulation. it is commonly used to treat indigestion, nausea, motion sickness, phlegm with cough, and joint pain due to cold. It is safe and beneficial for new mothers to include ginger in their confinement diet. Breastfeeding mothers are often worried that taking ginger will result in baby to jaundiced. There is no evidence of this but we do encourage eating ginger in moderation.
TCM believe that new mothers should avoid taking cold, raw and cooling food, which can harm your stomach Qi and cause indigestion. They may also hamper your body's ability to get rid of lochia, leading to prolonged discharge. It is recommended to take warm food and drinks, ensure food is well cooked and heated to prevent an upset stomach. Cooling food such as bitter gourd, cucumber, melons and pineapple should be avoided. Dark greens such as spinach, fresh fruits with neutral properties such as apples and grapes are recommended. Make sure not to overcook vegetables to preserve their nutrients. Spicy food should also be avoided to prevent constipation and other unwanted digestion problems.
Breastfeeding mothers should always stay hydrated to boost milk production. It is fine to drink warm water along with red dates teas.
Alcohol and beverages containing caffeine should not be consumed.
Maintaining a well-balanced diet is beneficial for the health of both mother and baby. Have a great confinement!