Sitting the month for pregnancy/Tiger mom

Katherine - posted on 06/14/2011 ( 44 moms have responded )

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You might be under the incorrect assumption that the secrets to a Tiger Mom's success include her stern looks and unwavering discipline. I'm here to tell you that you, my friend, are wrong. It's recently come to light that the Chinese tradition of postpartum confinement, or "sitting the month," is alive and well in the United States. And I'm convinced that this month of pampering for mom and baby, with no distractions from the outside world, is actually why Chinese moms may be superior after all.

In fact, if I had my pregnancies to do all over again, I might shell out the $1,500 - $3,000 it costs to get set up in one of these postpartum houses where your job, as a mom, is to stay warm, eat well, and cuddle your baby -- for an entire month.

Oh, who am I kidding? American moms don't even know HOW to sit a month.

Of course, that's what all moms should be doing, but sadly most of us don't have the support to make that happen. Our husbands have to go to work, our families live far away, and hiring a 24/7 doula or baby nurse is way out of budget. Let's face it, even if most of us had a baby nurse or a doula, we'd probably be up on our feet cleaning the house, cooking dinner, and making a Target run. All while the baby was being cared for by someone else.

We're such a society of multi-taskers and overachievers that the idea of taking a month off -- even if you've just given birth -- seems luxurious. Selfish, even. But this Chinese tradition of keeping new moms warm, feeding moms healing foods, and helping moms care for their newborns is one we all should adopt. Which is much easier said than done. As witnessed by my own experience when I was lucky enough to have a postpartum doula for a few days. As she wrapped me up in blankets and told me to take a rest while she did the dishes, I was so anxious that I told her I was fine and I didn't need any more help. As I recovered from a brutal c-section and had a tongue-tied baby with latching problems. Right. Stupid American independence!

Which is to say, it's a very different cultural norm, this practice of sitting the month. One which gives you and your baby a fantastic start -- if you let it. Then you're surely ready to take on piano lessons and Harvard applications with verve.

Would you "sit the month"?

http://thestir.cafemom.com/pregnancy/121...

I think it's awesome. I mean why not? Moms need to rest and bond with their babies and the first month is crucial IMO.

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Herna - posted on 06/15/2011

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LOL! I was totally raised by a "Tiger Mom." I did it because my mother made me do it! She talked to me a lot about the first month and never going outside. Feeling cold air was supposedly bad for me and for the baby because I was breast feeding, and somehow I could pass that coldness to her. So staying indoors, eating and drinking a lot of soup to stay warm was crucial. I actually did go outdoors once during the first month when I thought I was pretty healed after giving birth...I totally came home and started bleeding again! This is what happens when you dishonor your Tiger Mother! haha...

You might find this article and video really interesting also! It's called Motherhood Rooted and talks about Asian American moms (who have 1st generation immigrant mothers) sharing their stories on postpartum traditions.

http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/blog/archi...

RAWR!

Amy - posted on 06/16/2011

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They also do this in india. Heck, they probably do it everywhere but america. I try to have enough frozen meals prepared and my house is all cleaned [thanks, nesting!!!] so that I can just pay attention to my kids and new baby when she arrives. My husband is awesome and this time I have lots of family and friend support. they all plan on coming over to help so that I won't go crazy thinking I have to do it all. I think the help is usually all around us, but it's the stubborn "i can do it alone" that gets in the way. I gave that up after my first baby! I'll take any help I can. Others seem to enjoy it. I'm not arguing!

Jenni - posted on 06/14/2011

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Katherine are you talking about it being from the time period of 1400 to 1500's?



That would make total sense for a pregnant woman to be confined then because of the lack of medical care, immunizations, medical science etc.



I imagine that is also where the tradition of sitting in originates from.

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[deleted account]

I think that it's a good idea but I'd go nuts from boredom. Newborn babies are cute and cuddly but I don't think enough for me to do nothing but bond with them for a month. I was out and about with my son the day after I got home from the hospital because I didn't know what to do with myself at home.

Katrina - posted on 06/17/2011

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With my first she came six weeks early. I spent every moment I could at the hospital holding her or touching her in any way. Once she came home I was with her for another 7 1/2 weeks, I didnt clean or cook if i didnt have to. Luckily I lived with my husband and 2 roommates. Who tried to take care of the little things around the home. With my second I was back to work 4 wks after her birth and less than 1 week after major surgery. However I have been home with both since late June of 2009 and have rebonded with both in a new way. I can admit that being pampered for a month would be nice but for me it would get old and annoying quick. I enjoy taking care of my family too much to pamper myself too much.

Stifler's - posted on 06/16/2011

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I find that having people here to "help" stresses me out even more. They are loud, they nag about washing and dishes and dinner, they can't accept that I don't give a fuck about my house when I just had a baby, they cant just take Logan away and amuse him. Everyone wanted to hold the baby and be loud at night and give me dumb arse advice instead of go to Foodworks and get me a can of formula.

Katherine - posted on 06/16/2011

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I thought the same with my first. I can do this by myself. I can do the housework, get up with the baby feed her and still survive on no sleep.
Boy did I get a RUDE awakening. I was crying all the time, then got diagnosed with PPD. Hubby didn't help much, wasn't fun at all.

Jenni - posted on 06/16/2011

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I didn't really get A LOT of help my first time around. But the second time around my support system was amazing. Probably because they knew I had an active toddler to contend with who was still sleeping in a crib. After my c-section I wasn't suppose to lift him. So my mom and MIL took turns helping out while my husband was at work. I was spoilt rotten. But funny story; they helped with the dishes and preparing meals... things I could have easily down myself and wasn't prohibited from doing but the one thing that needed to be done the most and I couldn't do, no one would help!!! The vaccuuming! My house didn't get vaccuumed for 5 weeks, when I finally caved in and did it myself. I was pleading people to help! My husband wouldn't even do it. I did go over it a couple times with a hand vac. lol I would have caved in and done it myself with the stand up but I was afraid! My mom vaccuumed a few weeks after her c-section and tore her stitches open on the inside, she had to be rushed to emerg.

[deleted account]

Nichole, why did they take the baby away after delivery? I did it on my own (apart from the housecleaner once a week with my first) and I popped the baby out straight onto my chest and it never left me. Baby rooms in with mum in the hospital I delivered at. When I got home, especially the second time, I just ignored the housework except for the few things I wanted to do. Either my husband did it when he got home (roflmao) or it just didn't get done until I felt like it. Naps and playing with my kids were more important. :-)

After your mum goes home from her visit, do what you want and ignore the rest. It's not easy to look at a pile of dishes, but if they sit there long enough (and with a little "gentle" persuasion) husbands will eventually do them. Or if you prepare him beforehand by explaining that he needs to pick up the slack when mum leaves, you may be pleasantly surprised.

It is possible to do it on your own and still have plenty of "sitting" time. You just need to prepare for it.

Becky - posted on 06/15/2011

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My mom has come to help out after both were born, but never for a whole month. I am perfectly fine with sitting around while someone else does my cooking and housework, but I think staying inside for a whole month would make me crazy. For one, I was really anxious to get out and show off my new baby! With this one, with 2 other active kiddos, there is no way we're going to be able to stay inside for a whole month. We'll all go insane! Although, being due in February, we will naturally be inside more than we would if I were due in the summer.
I wonder how this works when you have other children though too? Do you hand over the care of your older children for the month? Because to me, that seems to be pretty unfair to them.

[deleted account]

I think it's awesome! :)

My ex took off a little bit when our girls were born, but being self employed.... he couldn't REALLY take off much. He did have a flexible schedule, so could come home at lunch time or come home early though. In the first 2 weeks... any day he had to go to work I was at my dad's. The day the girls turned 2 weeks old though.... everyone at my dad's house went off to have fun and left me there alone. I stayed home on my own after that.

W/ my son.... the only things I DIDN'T have to do were fix dinner for the first 2ish weeks and drive the girls to/from school those same first 2 weeks. Everything else is and has been my responsibility since we left the hospital when he was 3 days old. I didn't do MUCH at first, but if I didn't do it.... it didn't get done.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/15/2011

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It almost made me want to be a post partum nurse/doula because I felt like I had no help what so ever. I hear it a lot too. This is a huge part of our society, so it really breaks my heart and well, like a lot of other things..... just wish we had a better set up (like the Chinese apparently)
:(
Luckily this pregnancy my mom's going to be around for 2 weeks.. hopefully it works out well.

Mrs. - posted on 06/15/2011

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My TCM doc talked about this. Her parents, and I guess many Chinese grandparents, basically take care of everything and let you rest for a month. She was very upset to know I wasn't going to get help like this because I have some pretty tough health issues.

Of course, my mother lives in a different country and is the CEO of a company so she isn't going to stop doing that to raise my child (my TCM doc says that it is common for the grandparents to continue caring for the baby for a lot of the time). I wish she would, but that, I think would be purely selfish for my part.

So, instead, I did it all myself with my fiance to help. Once he went back to work, after my PPD had calmed down enough, I do it all on my own. No real help from either side.

Still, the trade of is that everyone lives in the same house, which could be kind of awful.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/15/2011

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I'll tell ya what..... I was SO mad that after delivery they brought me the baby to feed when I hadn't slept in 20 hours, nor eaten anything other than an ice chp. Then the cramping comes from breastfeeding. I cried. It didn't stop from there - I had no rest. I was shoved into instant zombie mode by waking up whenever the baby needed it. My boyfriend was pretty good about it at the hospital but once we got home after the first 2 weeks of us both sleeping on the couch just incase the baby woke up we could be up with him (it was a toss up on who was exhausted enough to not wake up) umm.. I started doing it all on my own. Dishes, laundry and feeding the baby at night, during the day. Ugh. I really wish there had been more help. I wish my parents could have been there. It was aweful. I feel so bad for anyone who does it alone. Everyone was there for the delivery and then left the moment baby arrived.......... I think it should be the other way around. Show up after it arrives. Dang

Amber - posted on 06/15/2011

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I didn't know I was supposed to "sit the month" but I basically did. I was still on bed rest for the first few weeks, so I got waited on a bit. Chad was off the first week, then only worked 3-4 days a week after that (that's full time for him). My mom and aunt were always over helping out. I think they just wanted their baby fix.

I folded laundry from the couch...that's about as much housework I did the first month. And that's because I hate the way Chad folds.

Vegemite - posted on 06/15/2011

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my cousin's wife is Japanese, they also have this tradition and they have their stomach and waist bound as well to help everything go back into place. She offered to do this for me after I had my second along with the stomach binding but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

Dana - posted on 06/15/2011

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I pretty much did "sit the month". I had a C-section and my baby was premature. We had a suite in the Children's hospital that I was able to stay in with our son for two weeks, then he was released. Then at home, I didn't do a whole lot either.
I guess that's one of the benefits of a C-section. ;)

Katherine - posted on 06/15/2011

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Motherhood is not something highly valued in our society today. There are many intangible ways to describe this, but let's just look at some of the facts: there's no guaranteed paid maternity and parental leave in the US, compared to countries that have up to three years of partially paid parental leave! Here, domestic work is also among the lowest paid careers, though there is a movement to ensure that domestic workers are treated more fairly.







So true!!!!





*****Edit to add it's from the article Herna posted.

Jakki - posted on 06/15/2011

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Katherine - we were in the north of New South Wales (Australia), near Byron Bay. It's famous for its beautiful landscapes and alternative culture. It was fantastic but there's no work, so after a year we came back to Sydney.

[deleted account]

How funny. I wasn't aware of these practices, at least not consciously... yet I did it. I had a cleaner come once a week after my first for 10 months and I just couldn't get it together to go out for the first 6 weeks (at least not on my own). With my second, I just didn't do much of anything other than cuddle the baby and play with the toddler. My husband had to pick up some of the slack (which he really didn't do other than wash his work clothes). For some reason, I avoided going out... Maybe my mother was whispering in my ear?



I think this is one of the reasons you read in ALL the pregnancy books to stock pile food in your freezer for at least 6 weeks. If you have food already prepared, then there's only housework to ignore for that time.



But I think all groups of mothers are superior in their own way, for different things. Many cultures have "sitting" traditions, so if that's what makes Chinese mums superior, then it would make sense that all the mothers from those cultures with "sitting" traditions are superior as well.

[deleted account]

I have already booked my mom for the first six weeks of our next baby. Not doing that nonsense again without help! Nina was nursing 24/7 for the first months - I didn't even have time to feed myself. When my mom arrived in week three I stuffed my face with my dad's pork chops - after having been a vegetarian for 20 years. Then I got sick. Oh - and I couldn't sit for a whole months either. My mom was there for two weeks, which was bliss, but still not enough. And what's that about cleaning your house?! Are you all mad?!!!

Lady Heather - posted on 06/15/2011

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YES. I basically did this last time. People were pissy with me when I wouldn't go out anywhere. This time I will definitely be at home, but there probably won't be much sitting with a toddler running around.

[deleted account]

First time around.My fella was full time working, i was in college.I gave birth 3months after i qualified.I had no car while he was working.We had just moved home 2 months before she arrived.I had no time to rest.I walked the whole nine mths and travelled to my appointments.I think being so active made my labour so easy and fast.Second time around..i rested a lot more.My fella was out of work and he spoiled me rotten.:-)

As for after the birth of my first.Daddy was back to work 2 days later.He barely saw our lil one.He still would not take no for an answer to doing the night feeds.So he could bond with her.

I didn't sit in at all.

Second time i had him, after a c-section.I needed him.We still went out.To be honest i couldn't sit in at all.I am always on the go.I find we all do what we need to.I would bond either way.I hate being stuck in.

[deleted account]

Yes, I "sat the month" I suppose....as much as any American would anyway.

I took 3 months off work when J was born and my husband used vacation time to take the first month off with me to help care for J. He would run to the office for a couple hours once a week or so and take calls, but for the most part, he was here with me--I didn't change my first diaper until J was 5 weeks old!

We also bumped our housekeeping service up from 3 days a week to 7 days (so I could focus on J instead of cleaning) and purchased meals from Supper's On the Table (so I didn't have to cook or eat out all the time). I did take J out to visit friends, and I had them visit us, but it was more for my own enjoyment than my desire to conform and please others--I like to be around people, and I was getting bored and restless stuck at home alone too much.

Jakki - posted on 06/15/2011

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Thanks! We were so lucky. We live in the city now but the memory still glows.

Jakki - posted on 06/15/2011

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It's a GREAT idea. When my first was born, hubby was actually unemployed so he was around 24/7 for the first 3 months so we just shared all the tasks and took it easy.

We were living in a house in a rainforest with a babbling clearwater creek running past, so when it got too hot we'd just wander outside in our sarongs and plunge ourselves in the cool waters. I started to pump breastmilk as soon as I could, then hubby would get up and do the 3am feed so I could get a 6 hour stretch of sleep.

I was a bit freaked out to become a Mum but it was also the most wonderful time in all our lives. Really bonding and calm and happy.

Erin - posted on 06/15/2011

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I've read about this before. Lots of homebirthers do it (well maybe not a whole month, but certainly a decent amount of time). I love the idea. It shows such a sense of value and respect for what we do as mothers, as well as acknowledging the natural needs of a newborn (to be bonding with it's mother). Being a single mother by the time my daughter was born, it was clearly not an option for me. But it is certainly something I would aim for if I every have another baby.

Stifler's - posted on 06/14/2011

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I wish I'd had the support to do that. But my mother in law was here for a week constantly asking dumb questions, watching me breastfeed, making *helpful* suggestions and my husband was at work. My kid spewed non stop so I had to wash or who was going to do it... I had to cook food because I was hungry by 6 and he got home at 630. Also I was terrified of being seen as one of THOSE parents who never went anywhere or maintained social contact after they had kids and by the time Logan was 1 week old we were visiting people, going to friends places at night etc. With this baby I can't actually go many places because I can't drive until she's 6 weeks old so I will be home a lot more and resting a lot more, cuddling my baby a lot more because I no longer care if I am seen as an uncool party pooper for 6 weeks.

Charlie - posted on 06/14/2011

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This is present in many eastern cultures not only for pregnancy / birth but for the time of getting your period too where women are sent to "red tents " to be pampered .

Caitlin - posted on 06/14/2011

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I pretty much "sat the month" with my second only. After my first, my husband went back to work right away and I suffered miserably, he took his paternity leave during the summer when she was 7 months old and we enjoyed it then. With my second, he took his 5 weeks off right away and that was great, because he was around to take care of #1 and let me rest for the most part (even though I went stir crazy after 2 days..) The third time, he'll be off for 3 weeks and I KNOW i'm taking it super easy, and he can dealw ith the terrible 2's tantrums. :D

[deleted account]

Very interesting.

I partially sat for a month with each. My husband, MIL and mom all provided great support and help.

JuLeah - posted on 06/14/2011

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It is part of the Jewish traditions too ... well, we get longer with our daughters

Katherine - posted on 06/14/2011

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Confinement is actually from the 1400-1500 they used to make pregnant women be confined until they had the baby and then after they were confined for another few months.

Jenni - posted on 06/14/2011

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I did sit for a month with my son and daughter. I nursed and rested after my c-sections. I spent most of the time in bed with my babies. I think it's good for babies to stay indoors in a nice, quiet, relaxing setting for the first month or so of life. If it's possible of course.

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