This is the ‘kai jau’ (chicken cooked with ginger wine and rice wine) that my hubby’s aunt cooked on Baby C’s fullmoon party last week. She cooked so much that there was so much leftover. After my confinement lady left on Friday last week, I ate that ‘kai jau’ for 4 days in a row! But if you ask me if I am already fed up of eating ‘kai jau’, my answer is NO. In fact, I don’t mind eating it everyday and I prefer it cooked with ‘mui yoke’ (lean pork slices). Unfortunately, my body cannot tolerate the heatiness and my throat feels a tad sore, my voice a tad hoarse and my body feels hot all the time.
This is the pail of brown herbal water that I have to bathe myself with everyday. The water is brewed from a concoction of Chinese herbs. My CL boils the herbs for 1-2 hours everyday and sometimes she adds ginger into the concoction to brew. It really does feels yucky, not to mention the stinging sensation you get on your private part (caused by the ginger) when the hot water is being poured down your body. The herbal concoction is supposedly good to prevent body aches after the birth of a child. Though we are not supposed to rinse our body with clean water after the herbal bath, I still rinse my body clean with warm water. Otherwise, I would smell of herbs the whole day and night. BTW, I still have a very quicky warm shower (without herbs) at around 8:30pm every night. I did this during both my previous confinements too. Without the shower, there’s no way I can nurse my baby with a stinky and sweaty body. There’s also no way I can fall asleep with so much sweat and body odor from my body. I really salute those who can tolerate not washing their hair for 1 month and only bathing once a day with the stinky herb water. My tolerance to dirt and heat is practically zero!
Baby C has been sleeping with me on my king-size bed since the day we were discharged from the hospital on Saturday last week while the confinement lady sleeps on a single-size mattress on the floor. Baby C is quite a good baby but will cry when she soils her diaper with poop or when she’s hungry. On the first night, she pooped almost every hour (only stains of poop on her diaper, but this cleanliness freak baby wants to be cleaned up immediately) and cries for milk quite frequently. I tried to breastfeed her exclusively but she’s crying for milk almost every hour if fully on my milk and this is exhausting me. I think my milk is a tad thin as I have been ordered by the gastroenterologist to go slow on food – preferably no meat, no milk, no rice, no red dates water, no hardcore confinement food, strictly no alcohol, very little ginger in order to rest my guts that have been inflammed. If care is not taken, the inflammed guts could be infected and this could be a serious condition.
The lack of sleep is making me give up breastfeeding exclusively and I ended up asking the CL to mix feed her with formula. Tonight I will ask the CL to sleep in the adjoining room next to my room with Baby C on the baby cot. This way, I hope I can have a restful night.
During my first confinement, I refrained from washing my hair for 2 days and I surrendered. I then washed my hair every other day. On the days that I did’t wash my hair, I felt terribly hot and uncomfortable. During my second confinement, I also refrained from washing my hair for 2 days and thereafter, I washed it everyday (albeit discreetly), but with ginger water and quickly blew dry it after the wash. During my first confinement, I got really depressed on the days that I could not wash my hair as I was sweating all the time, eating all the piping hot and heaty food, with lots and lots of ginger, wine and DOM. Thinking of it now makes me feel sweaty too!
For those of you who had gone through a regimented confinement (where both your mum and mil will watch over you like a hawk almost 24 hours a day), you were not allowed to eat vegetables (well, can only eat certain vege like kailan) and fruits, right? Luckily my mil was quite liberal and did not forbid me to eat these food. I ate lots of vegetables and fruits everyday. Thus, I did not suffer from constipation though I ate so much heaty food. However, my body could not tolerate the wine and ginger during the 2nd week of my confinement and I had sore throat and felt feverish. That’s when my CL stopped cooking ‘hard-core’ confinement food for me and reduced the ginger. I hope this time round, my body will be able to tolerate all the hard-core confinement food from day one through day 30 of the confinement. That’s the only time I can properly ‘poa’ (heal and nourish) my body, through eating these nutritious food. Now, I just can’t wait to savor those confinement food!
To me, the best part of going through a regimented and torturous confinement is that I get to enjoy the food. For the benefit of my readers who are not familiar with the Chinese culture, women after child-birth go through a 1-month confinement period where they are to follow very regimented rules like not being able to wash their hair, not allowed to bathe with regular water direct from the tap / shower and diet must be of a specific one too. Normally, a confinement lady (CL) will be hired to care for the mummy and the newborn baby.
Well, coming back to the confinement food, the first few dishes I am going to order from my CL will be ‘kai jau’ (chicken cooked in wine with lots of ginger), stir-fried pork with sweet wine and shredded ginger, pigs’ trotters with black vinegar, turmeric chicken and pigs’ belly and intestines soup. These are my favorites and I can never bored of them, even during my confinement.
What’s your favorite food during your confinement?