Why “Postnatal Confinement” is important to ethnic Chinese?

Pictures provided by Babymoon

In our daily life in Asia, my partner Mr. Hahn couldn’t fully grasp the concept of “postnatal confinement”, especially when his friend who had just become a novice mother praised the postnatal care centers. I believe the concept of “postnatal confinement” is deep-rooted and perfectly justified in our generation and the last generation in Taiwan. Postnatal confinement refers to a month of rest and recuperation after childbirth. Nowadays, novice moms usually make an appointment at a postnatal care center before labour, and then nurse specialists will assist moms’ recovery and babysitting.

Instead of resting and recovering at home sweet home, Mr. Hahn believes that it is not necessary that new moms/wives stay at a postnatal care center for a month. Besides, it also deprives them of the best chance to get along and bond with new-born babies.

I understand his points.

However, relating to my today’s topic, there are some deterministic points that lead to different believes.

Firstly, there are great differences between the physical conditions of ethnic Chinese and European women and the ways of caring for the body educated from an early age. Traditional Chinese medicine is popular in ethnic chinese’s society.

Secondly, figures show that German women have 14 weeks of maternity leave, during which their jobs are protected by law and they have no worries of being fired. While maternity leave in Taiwan is only eight weeks. In reality, most working mothers couldn’t take full maternity leave, because maternity leave beyond a certain period of time will lead to unemployment.

Thirdly, gender equality is advocated in German, both parents can take maternity leave so that they can both devote time to take care of their babies.

Therefore, postnatal care centers give a chance to new moms in Taiwan, where babies will be cared by the nurse specialists, and moms can sleep, relax and eat healthier foods. It helps them to avoid depression caused by a hormonal imbalance. In this way, when they go back to work directly after the postnatal confinement, they feel more comfortable. A long maternity leave and legally protected jobs in Germany leaves mothers with more time to rest when they return home after childbirth. In addition, fathers in Germany have legal maternity leave and couples can work together to figure out how to raise children.

Picture provided by Babymoon

My cousin Ms. Wei is a senior nurse specialist in Babymoon, a well-known postnatal care center in Taiwan. She said that hotel-style management provided care for postpartum wounds of mothers, nursing skills and systematic parenting knowledge. In this way, mothers in Taiwan can relax physically and mentally at the center. At the same time, there are nourishing traditional Chinese medicine diet. When the baby is cared by a professional nurse, the mother can have a good rest. One-month stay in such an environment in Taiwan costs an average of TWD $100,000 up to TWD $300, 000, or in Euro at least 2,900 per month.

There are more and more postnatal care centers in Taiwan, with more sophisticated services. The development of postpartum care is also rising in Mainland. I have no child, but my friends who have children teach me that I can also hire maternity matrons at home who are experienced in caring for newborn and new mothers. The daily salary of them is about TWD 1,200 and the number of days of employment can be decided through consultation. Mothers can ask the maternity matrons to buy and cook food according to their own requirements, with extra payment for food.

Whether maternity matrons, postnatal care centers or the way that German mothers take care of themselves and their babies have its own advantages. You may have more experience than me. Which way do you prefer? Please share your thoughts and leave me a message:

為什麼「坐月子」對華人重要?

住在亞洲的日常生活中,Mr. Hahn經常對「坐月子」這個觀念感到不解。在台灣,我相信「坐月子」在我們這一代與上一代是根深蒂固、天經地義的。坐月子的意思就是婦女產後一個月休息以及調養進補的時間。現代的媽媽通常在產前訂好月子中心的房間,由專門的護理師來協助產後媽媽的恢復並從旁協助育嬰。

Mr. Hahn認為產後媽媽不回家調養生息,反而去月子中心待一個月其實沒有必要,也失去跟嬰兒最好相處與bonding的機會。

我了解他的想法。

然而,我必須指出德國人和華人女性的幾個決定性的差異,以致我們對今天這個題目有不同的信念。首先,華人和歐洲女人的身體和從小被教育要如何照顧身體就有很大的差別,華人採納更多中醫護理的方式。第二,數據顯示,德國人的產假有14周,請產假期間工作受法律保障,母親沒有後顧之憂。台灣人的產假只有8周。在殘酷的現實中,大部分有工作的媽媽都不敢真的請滿產假,因為離開位子超過一定時間很容易掉飯碗。第三,德國社會主張兩性平等,爸爸媽媽都可以請產假,好輪流照顧寶寶。

所以,月子中心提供台灣媽媽一個緩衝的機會,那裡有專業護理師幫忙照顧嬰兒,讓媽媽可以好好睡覺放鬆、好好攝取健康的食物,避免產後因為賀爾蒙失調導致的憂鬱症。月子過後直接回到職場,身體會比較舒服。德國的產假非常長,而且工作受到法律保障,母親產後回到家比華人有更充裕的時間休息,加上爸爸也有合法產假,他們還可以一起琢磨如何育兒,相比之下,德國媽媽產後育兒是和爸爸一起,而台灣媽媽產後如何適應當媽媽這件事似乎還是落在自己身上。

我的表姐魏小姐是台灣知名月子中心彌月房產后護理之家的資深護理師。她說,媽媽們在月子中心可以身心靈放鬆,因為月子中心提供飯店式管理的硬體設備與專業護理照護,給予母親產後傷口以及哺乳技巧與系統化的育兒知識。同時也提供專業營養師及中醫藥膳滋補。當寶寶有專業照護人員照顧,媽媽就能安心休息。這樣的環境,一個月在台灣收費平均在10到30萬台幣不等,也就是最起碼一個月要2900歐元。

在台灣,月子中心不停擴張且服務項目越趨精緻化。在大陸,這個產後照護的經濟也快速崛起。我還沒有孩子,但是有孩子的朋友教我也可以請月嫂來家裡,她們對照顧新生兒與新手媽媽很有經驗。月嫂日薪約1200台幣,請到家裡的天數可以商量決定。媽媽可以請月嫂依照自己想要的「豪華」或「健康」程度來買菜做飯,菜錢則另計。

不論是請月嫂、坐月子中心,還是德國媽媽產後自己照顧自己與寶寶的方式,一定都各自有可取之處。你們可能比我更有經驗、你們覺得什麼方法比較好,請給我留言:

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