Guest Author - Caroline Baker
As in most cultures, having a child is an important social and family event. The Chinese culture is rich in various rituals and beliefs around this important time of any family's life. One of the most commonly followed practices is the one-month isolation of mother and child immediately after birth.
Once the mother has given birth, the health of the child and mother are at the most delicate state of their lives. Many women in olden days would lose their lives to childbirth and many child died during this critical time… in all cultures. Thus for the Chinese, this became a period of careful monitoring and care.
During the month after the child is born, the mother would often remain in bed or at least confined to the house. She would be given many rich foods, like pork and eggs. These high iron and protein foods would help her replenish the blood she had lost. And consumption of foods like liver would help to cleanse the body of any remnants of the birth.
For the baby, this is a time not only to bond with the mother but also to be protected from many of the viruses outside. Even in today's busy world, the first month of a child's life is the most critical. Their immune system has yet to kick in and even a simple cold could kill them.
After the month has lapsed, the main dangers have passed and mother and child can come to the public. This is often culminated with a celebration of the child's birth and a formal introduction to the child's extended family for the first time.
In today's busy world, few women still follow this tradition. Most must return to work as quickly as possible to help support their families. And modern medicines and vaccinations help to keep the babies healthier.
Still, the beliefs around this one month period persist. Some Chinese women still eat certain foods after birth to help cleanse and strengthen their bodies. And it is not uncommon to have a celebration at the one-month-old birthday of the child.
In fact, with people's busy schedules today, the one-month-old birthday is the prefect time these days to celebrate the birth of a child. The parents are mostly over their initial shock and the baby is finally starting to settle into a routine. And this special event in any family's life is one that is rich in customs and traditions.