New Mothers Welcome Zuo Yue Zi, a Chinese Tradition to Overcome Postpartum

A mother and her baby.

Zuo Yue Zi, or Sitting Moon, is an ancient Chinese method where the new mother and the newborn are given ample time to rest, nourish, and adjust to their new roles. (Image: Zdoragel via Dreamsworld)

New mothers are often at their wit’s end about the exact nature of the care they need to provide to their children. Here, some ancient Chinese wisdom may be the best advice. Zuo Yue Zi, or Sitting Moon, is an ancient Chinese method where the new mother and the newborn are given ample time to rest, nourish, and adjust to their new roles.

The new realities

Once pregnant, a woman may find it hard to imagine a life growing inside and may need time to adjust to this reality. And as nine months pass and she gives birth, she may also need time to adjust to not having the baby inside. Humans are creatures of habits and become accustomed to change, but when the transition is not smooth, we find ourselves to be out of our depth in the new reality.

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Becoming a mother and immediately getting on with the job of being the caregiver to the newborn is a challenging task. When the mother does not get adequate rest, allow her body to adjust to not having the baby inside her, and create a bond with the newborn, she often suffers from postpartum depression. Addressing these changes that a woman faces after giving birth, Heno Ou’s book The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother is a surprisingly positive collection of ancient traditions of Zuo Yue Zi from the Han Dynasty of China.

‘The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother’ follows Zuo Yue Zi

As the title suggests, a mother is given rest for the first 40 days immediately after giving birth. During these 40 days, she adjusts to the presence of the baby, understands what the baby needs, and does not worry about diapers and feeding her family. Rather, she is pampered and given time and the peace of mind to rest and catch up on sleep. This is the key of Zuo Yue Zi.

The_First_Forty_Days follows the principles of Zuo Yue Zi.
The first 40 days after the birth of a child offer an essential and fleeting period of rest and recovery for the new mother according to Zuo Yue Zi. (Image: via Amazon)

The book provides tips for practicing self-care and while it suggests not leaving the house for the first 40 days or entertaining visitors, it becomes a tad bit boring to be with oneself and just the newborn. While ancient China was fine with the restrictions placed on the mother, this level of isolation is also not great for a new mother. Hence, while not all the pointers can be followed, here are some that will definitely be appealing:

●  Avoid the cold. The ancient Chinese knew what modern science calls Germ Theory. The new mother is more susceptible to catching a cold as her immune system readjusts. Thus, avoiding cold wind and even showering with cold water is said to be avoided for the first month.

●  Opt to eat bland and warm food. Again, going with the theory of catching a cold easily, eating warm food is advised to heal better. New mothers were fed bland food like chicken broth, green veggies, fruits, colorful steamed vegetables, and brown rice. Spices are avoided and food that helps regain strength and blood is consumed.

●  Rest up. This pointer is bundled with the clause to be free from every distraction and not even read a book. While a bookworm mom might feel alienated from this point, you can take it from experienced moms that if they are given a choice between reading and sleeping during the first month after delivery, they will choose sleeping.

5 Useful Diet Recipes To Help Relieve Coughs.
Opt to eat bland and warm food. (Image: Travis Juntara via Flickr)

While going out and not meeting anyone outside the immediate caregiver may be an impossible task for today’s generation, once you become a mom and start practicing Zuo Yue Zi, you can customize the care you need at your convenience. After all, that is the benefit of tradition, you can always update it with the current model of the world.

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