Sunday, August 05, 2007

Confinement after Childbirth: Malay-Kelantanese Style

Part 3: Berbengkung or tummy binding

I started the first part of this topic when I was in confinement with Bea3, and I’d been taking my sweetest time to finish it. Now, I'm in another round of confinement, and I think I'd finally finish it off. I wrote about my confinement diet here and bertungku here

Now, it is about berbengkung or think tummy binding is just the right words here.

It is a must during confinement. Said to prevent wind, and also believed to help mothers to return to their pre-pregnancy size. I know some Malays (especially of Javanese origin) use a long piece of cloth and wrap the body from the tummy to way down the knee. According to my mother-in-law, she didn’t use any other medication, only the cloth.

Having a prob to post a pic, anyway mine is a cloth, big enough to cover middle hip up to below the chest with strings to tie up. Mom-in-law said hers was only a piece of cloth without the strings. It used to belong to mom, of course this one is in smaller size when she was smaller;). From pics, she started to gain weigh after my little brother. So that’s some 30-something year-ole piece of cloth. The bigger ones was used by my sisters. Just like baby tummy bind, only bigger, and yes both of us have to be in that during confinement, and normally baby wears it longer, even after confinement. I will write about what my sarcastic (in a nice way, though;)) peadetrician said when he saw one on Bea3 soon.

And the medication is a must for us. We use combinations of fresh tumeric+salt (sometimes, I thought mom would deep-fry me after smudging me with that), honey+lime juice (hate this one as the honey would stuck on my skin and it hurts to remove the cloth) lime (kapur sirih)+vinegar (also hate this, as it is just itchy). And once mom tried a type of leave that had been pureed first, no idea what that was. I normally stick to the first one.
The medication can be found in those confinement packages in the market but since to me tumeric+salt is good enough, I never bother about them.

Now, I always get the same question over and over. Does it work? To me I really can’t verify that as after all pregnancy so far, I just easily returned back to my original waistline. Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t gain much, and only my tummy protrude a bit in front and really look pregnant at 7 month. I’m just skinny. Anyway, I think I need a little more toning-up to do for my tummy. It never bothers hubby, so think I will do that only after I’m sure we are done with child-bearing.

As for my other sisters, they all did this but some have some weigh to shed.
Though I’m not sure if it works, I would continue doing it. It can get uncomfortable but I can bear with it a lot better compared to what I have to eat in that all 40 days.
In fact I'm wearing it right now, and it is not comfortable wearing it while sitting down with a notebook on my lap. Actually the best is to wear it just before bedtime, and I'm not supposed to move around.
And I'm below my ideal weigh again, and only after 9 days, I got my flat tummy back. Sometimes I do wonder what happen to the streached skin, well I think all slim moms are like that.

A bit relieved that I’m finally done with this. Anyway will probably write a bit more soon, about the tradisional massage and what I love and hate about being in confinement. Love to hear comments from other moms who also do this.


Blogger yatie'scorner said...


I went through this process before. Overall, I like confinement process, confinement food esp., mengurut and berbengkung but the most i hate was bertungku, batu berat la

anyway happy confinement.

9:16 AM  
Blogger bluewonder said...

The best part of confinement for me is the mengurut. I'm no urut-addict and must confess I've only gone for urut abt 5 times in my entire life..that's right..everytime after giving birth!

The bengkung is ok in the morning. But come afternoon, I get hot and a bit rimas. Usually it stays on me until about 4.30pm. After that it's corset until the next day.

anyway, take care

2:37 PM  
Blogger PrettyMommie said...

Hi again...have to tell u that i've link your blog in mine. Blog u very wonderful, like reading a story book or novel..
Dalam sibuk berpantang ni, sempat jugak nak blogging kan..hehe..modern mum..Btw, take care.

3:17 PM  
Blogger anamiraa said...

dr. ros!
bestnyeeeee belum habis pantang dah BELOW your normal weight!! ha ha ha.. macam mimpi aje bila dengar..

anyway, enjoy your confinement!

2:34 PM  
Anonymous fuzzy said...

FLAT TUMMY??!!! so jealous....just have to say that u have my pity for not being able to experience the ultimate "jelly belly" for months and months and months (god...i hope its not forever...) postpartum.
i am sure despite all the discomforts of confinement practices, u are thankful that you have such wonderful support from you mum and family - i didnt have that and i think i had some postnatal blues. enjoy the massages... :)

8:03 PM  
Blogger Mama22Beas said...

Yatie...can't really believe it when you say you like confinement food...or is it because someone else cook for you;). Hate those batu berat too, love the smaller ones...lighter and cepat sejuk...hehe

Yes bluewonder...the only thing I like I guess is the urut. Try to limit mengurut to during confinement only as people say we can get hooked to it.
Think what you do for berbengkung is more 'intensive', I only wear it from around 10 till about 10 next day, to start off with bertungu, that is!

Thanks prettimommie...macam novel ka? Actually thought of closing this blog many times already, but for some reasons, I keep on. To have u to think it's wonderful, buat I malu lah...banyak rambling ni.

Anamiira...yes, I'm skinny...I'm pretty sure I will go down further after confinement with tabdem-breasfeeding, expressing etc. But this time I'm determined to try to gain a lil bit.

You make me laugh with that Fuzzy...I do look like I'm about 3-4 mo pregnant right after birth, but after a bout a week, I'm almost back to my pre-preg.
Well, while in confinement, I can get really bored, complain a lot but after that I would start to appreciate all the good things about it.

12:10 AM  

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