Meeting Your Nutritional Needs During Confinement

Just after welcoming your bundle of joy into your life, the next thing on your mind would likely be how to help your body recover after giving birth. You should also focus on foods that will help you to produce quality breast milk to feed your newborn baby. To accomplish this objective, many Malaysian mothers still follow their respective culture’s traditional confinement diets. Traditional confinement diets are safe, provided you do not take any one particular type/group of nutrients excessively. This will help you avoid any complications.

Confinement diets focus on restoring the body’s balance; this is achieved by eating certain types of foods, while avoiding others. Confinement diets across cultures share similarities in that they encourage the consumption of foods that are “warming” for the body. These foods are believed to improve blood circulation and strengthen the joints. Foods that are “cooling” are discouraged, as they are said to cause rheumatism, arthritis and weakens the joints in the body.

Since there is no specific Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) for women in confinement, you are instead encouraged to follow the Malaysian RNI for lactating women during the first six months after delivery.

Nutrient Requirements

Daily outputs of energy and other nutrients in breast milk tend to exceed the recommended increments. However, lactating women can draw on fat stores that were accumulated during pregnancy to help support milk production. Due to this aspect of breastfeeding, there will be a gradual weight loss during lactation.

There is no harm in practising your own culture’s confinement diets, provided you do not go overboard in following them. Ensure that your intake adheres to the RNI guidelines listed above, and you should not have any worries from a nutritional standpoint. Also, it’s important to watch out for deficiencies in vitamins, minerals as well as fibre as many types of fruits and vegetables are forbidden. Regardless of the confinement diet you follow, it is essential to eat the right balance from each food group (cereals, fruits and vegetables, meat/chicken and milk). Eat everything in moderate portions and be sure to vary your intake from day to day to get all the nutrients you require.


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