Few days ago my husband questioned me about how effective is the Malay traditional routines during the confinement period that every new mothers have to go through, be it 30-days, 44-days or even 60-days. The most common period is I believe, is 44 days.

Until I'm pregnant, those confinement routines like bertungku, bertangas, bekung seem like a foreign language to me. But of course, being a first born, I've seen Mother gone through it all but I didn't really comprehend the logic behind all those rituals.

When I found out that I was pregnant, the first question that everyone seems to ask was, how am I going to go through the confinement period? Is there anyone coming to help me (and us) after the delivery? I haven't give much thought on it till people were asking about it as I didn't expect that I will go through (strict) confinement rules giving the condition that we're in, living 10,000 kilometers away from our parents.

Being away from family means I have to take charge and have to look at the berpantang period from a different angle. I'm planning to take this time as a rejuvenation period, as in the time to gain back energy and be healthy so that I can take care of the baby better. I also plan on eating as much as nutritious food as possible and not to focus much of the weight that should be shed. After all, a happy mom is equal to a happy baby and thus, a happy family. Lately, I've been compiling few nutritious-laden confinement recipes for H for him to cook and prepare them during his 2 weeks paternity leave. Sometimes I wonder why most people often associate confinement period as being boring because when I look at the menu, you will be spoilt for choice. You have turmeric chicken, chicken soup, black pepper beef, steamed and grilled fish etc. Man, I'm salivating already!

The funny thing about Malay traditional confinement menu is that, it differs from one family to another. In my family, new mothers can basically eat all sorts of protein - beef, (white) fish and chicken. Seafood and egg are forbidden as they are deemed "gatal". Most vegetables and fruits are allowed except those that are deemed "gassy or windy". I've heard people saying that confinement rituals should be followed strictly since it'll affect the bodily performance & functions in the future. What got me thinking is that, how about the after confinement period? Don't you have to take care of your body as well? Or your body only precious to you during the short 44 days period?

My husband and I had an interesting conversation on food that the Malays forbid during the confinement period. We know that in science, a hypothesis is proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be scientifically hypothesis (in this case, since such food will affect the bodily functions in the future, I take that we need more scientific evidence to make it more concrete), the scientific method requires one to test it. When no scientific evidence is produce, a hypothesis will just remain - well, a myth.

Am I right or wrong here?


The wife said...

(Some) People would have a boring pantang life as they been restricted only fish for their meal. Like my mom did for me.

I could only have ikan bakar (which only ikan selar) for lunch/dinner. No chicken/beef or anything gravy to it. But as times goes by, mom starts to become lenient (starts with ayam bakar then sayur sawi). Still, the same food for 44 days IS boring :P

I dont believe those Malay pantang food/life. New mom needs more healthy foods and nutrients for the baby and regain their energy (tried to explain this to mom but it's not me who cook, so.. just follow her rules then. but i did curi other lauk on the table when she's not looking).

Thus I definitely would not practice this to my own child later on.

ps: wah panjang aku bebel. sori!

Moose said...

Haha. It's ok. Tak panjang pun. Yeah, we're both esp. my husband bit sceptic on pantang food as well. As for me mana yang berkhasiat, I makan. Yang macam mengarut tak boleh terima akal tu, it's try and error for me. Cos I'm planning to breastfeed and if the food can cause my baby colic, terpaksalah pantang.

.ieLah. said...

my mom macam tak strict sangat pasal pantang, sbb i cakap kat dia, nurse pon tak bagi pantang sangat. takut susu takde. but makcik2 yang datang visit pulak yang banyak pantang larang. my mom kasik je makan ayam,ikan2 and all, but in a small quantity of course. asalkan tak memudaratkan, ok la kot.

ada my friend siap pesan sebelum deliver lagi jangan makan ayam etc, sbb gatal (which is tak jadi kat i,nasib baik)

tapi betul la, badan memang kena jaga bukan masa pantang je la kan? :) (tapi i pantang 44 ari pon tak leh tahan jugak.hihi)

ryy.han said...

Btl lain family lain cara berpantang..

Tp ikut badan jugak...and pantang mkn bkn hnya time pantang esp if u bf ur baby..esp those gassy food tu try la elak kang kembung plak baby...

Those food yg gatal2 tu bkn pe ada kaitan ngan luka bersalin..klu normal tear dan cpt baik ok je mkn telur dan ayam...tp still gak tgk2 kot2 baby ada side effect tak (again bf baby)

Tp plg myself ingat...kakak2 sama2 kerja pesan pantang bersama 100hari...haha

Ami said...

my ma kasi mkn semua except udang,sotong,ketam takot gatal tempat c-sect.So on my 5th day,dah dpt kari ayam huhu.yg kene makan ikan kering bakar lagi i tak paham,as this nurse yg dtg rumah ckp,makan ikan kering je nanti badan pon ikan kering lah hehe

mummy adam said...

moose: yes, the range of food intake during confinement varies from one person to another. as long as you eat healthy, no worries. avoid the gassy and add ginger in your daily diets.

from my point of view,betungku tu important. orang cakap untuk naikan balik peranakan.. somethin like dat. nowadays ada electric tungku even. find one and you can do it at home :)

also, during confinement it is important for you to handle your emotion wisely! mcm jot, mmg sgt cepat terasa during confinement, even on small little things. kene banyak rationalize.

nanti if ada lagi that i came accross, i'll share :) good luck moose.InsyaAllah dipermudahkan.

Tahirah A. said...

I didn't get it too..gatal lah, angin lah..si A ckp tak boleh makan X, si B pulak cakap boleh makan X sebab bagus..

I think it varies in individual. My mother senang je, makan je apa2 pon, tapi try sikit2 dulu. if that food x give u itchyness, then makan je la..

Time pantang i minum je air sejuk..dah la panas gila cuaca kan..3rd day my husband curi2 bagi I pepsi!!..heaven...lol.

Moose said...


betul tu. kalau makan ikan kering, ikan bilis je manalah mak tu nak dapat tenaga/khasiat nak pulih cepat. nak susukan anak lagi. tu yang ade kes orang takde susu tu.

Moose said...


tula, emosi masa pantang pun kena jaga. which i think is the most difficult thing to do kot. you take care too! another hero right? abeslah mommy kena buli macam ni

sumpit said...

aku pon tak pantang properly. Makan je, kalu gatal, stop mkn.
Since aku mmg byk jahit, mmg aku perasan apa buat aku gatal... else, mkn je, we need the protein pun, kan?

Suraiya Majid said...

It depends on ur body & ur baby, if u ok & the baby is fine, u can have anything u like to have. As for me, baby vy sensitive cepat kembung perut so i pantang mknan yg berangin, black pepper & halia pon i x bole makan since i was fully bf. cold drinks & carbonated affected my milk production sekali lg kena control mskan ;) my mom was vy lineant btw & food masa pantang best! Haha good luck to u :)

Suraiya Majid said...

It depends on ur body & ur baby, if u ok & the baby is fine, u can have anything u like to have. As for me, baby vy sensitive cepat kembung perut so i pantang mknan yg berangin, black pepper & halia pon i x bole makan since i was fully bf. cold drinks & carbonated affected my milk production sekali lg kena control mskan ;) my mom was vy lineant btw & food masa pantang best! Haha good luck to u :)

Ninie Ahmad said...


I'm just reposting my comment (on logic of confinement based on peer experience and yoga view) that I posted on an FB Group sometime ago. See if this makes sense for you?

"My mom did 44-days confinement with every child, she's 54 now with 7 kids and she is my size!

I compared my Malay and Chinese (yoga) students and my mom's sisters in their 50's, those who didn't do confinement regretted it later in life, they complain of gas, bloatedness and they look relatively physically different than those who did go through strict confinement.

In yoga, 5 to 10 minutes Dead Body (Savasana) towards the end of every practice is the most important part of every yoga class as natural healing can only happen on deep and cellular level when the body is not busy moving. After 9-months pregnant & hours of birthing, I believe our body deserves about that many days (our organs, and skin is our biggest organ in the body, regenerate every 28 days and deeper layer organs take half the time as they are always in moist environment, 28 + 14 = 42 to 44 days to be sure) to completely recover, heal if not to be rewarded in stillness.

I am determined to go 44-days confinement to look good in my clothes again and immediately after, 14-days Ashtanga yoga to look good naked again ;). And I am visualizing I will start teaching full-blown yoga at Upward again 60 days after I birth my baby, wish me peace and luck!"

Wish you all the love, luck and light too :)

Xora said...

aku tak igt apa jadi kat aku sepanjang 45 hari berpantang *ye beza sehari dri ko tapi atas permintaan orang tua ikut kan aje*; tapi mak aku mmg berpantang tradisional. maksudnya, segala pilis bengkung ntah apa aku dah tak ingat, semua aku buat. pasal aku rasa, aku beranak sekali, tak tau next time bila, so apa salahnya bersusah-susah sikit, plan wedding lagi lama kot 2 tahun, ok aje, apa tah lagi berpantang. Memang boring, lagi2 mak aku tak kasi pakai internet.

tapi makan minum dia takde la hidangkan aku ikan masin cam org dulu2. ikan haruan, tenggiri aku makan, tapi bakar atau stim. aku tak rasa muak pasal sebelum ni jarang makan ikan. fair? hehe sayur memang amat banyak, tapi aku ok. cuma tak suka makan pucuk betik, nauzubillah, aku amat trauma dengan rasa pucuk betik.

Tapi bila difikir2kan semula, beranak ni untuk kasi ibu baru berehat dan luang masa dengan anak. memang perlukan sokongan orang sekeliling.

..dan sebenarnya jauh disudut hati aku, aku rasa terharu dengan pengorbanan mak aku jaga aku. aku terfikir, agaknya macam ni la kot dia jaga aku masa aku bayi. aku terfikir lagi, ntah2 sempat ke tak aku jaga dia masa dia memerlukan.. pinggan makan aku pun dia tak kasi hanta dapur, kaki aku dia sapukan ubat dan pakaikan stoking.. *rindu kat ibu, balik kerja nanti boleh jumpa masa amik anak kat dia --eh?

.. kadang2 juga, aku nak beranak lagi skali, tapi bukan pasal windu nak baby, tapi windu nak berpantang. aku rasa bagaikan bercuti sebulan daripada buat apa-apa.