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The logo of the postpartum care center that we ended up choosing in Taipei, “Fruitful,” 小青田 (Xiao Qing Tian)

“Sitting the month — or “zuo yuezi”坐月子 in Chinese — is a traditional form of postpartum confinement meant to help women recover and stay healthy after giving birth. Historically, it was believed new mothers should be kept warm for the crucial first 30 days post-birth, during which time they were instructed to wear long clothes, avoid any kind of cold air, not bathe, stay away from raw or cold foods, and just generally lie still at home.”-Dai Wangyun, Researcher from East China Normal University as quoted in Sixth Tone.

The Right Place, The Right Time

Pictured here with the youthful manager and owner of 小青田”Fruitful” postpartum care center who goes by Victor. “It was a coincidence that I got into this business. After I did my military service in Taiwan, my boss from that time wanted to open up a postpartum care center, and we went down that path together. Afterwards I went out on my own and opened up this one. 小青田 is a very small postpartum care center, so we can give all of our parents an intimate 1–1 approach.”
Our child would soon be filling one of these baby trays at 小青田。”Although the practice of 坐月子 or ‘sitting the month’ is a common practice in Asia, Taiwan is probably the earliest location to open the postpartum care business model, and so the centers here are quite mature and professional.”-Victor, 小青田”Fruitful”manager

“I think there are some distinct cultural differences when it comes to health and medical practices. People who live in Western or European countries will obviously be more likely to follow their own patterns of lifestyle choices with regards to postpartum care. Asians, and especially those of Chinese descent, will use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practices that have evolved over thousands of years. Much of our practices connected with postpartum care for mothers revolve around a combination of rest and sustaining a specialised diet with the goal of helping the mother recover a balanced and natural equilibrium , rather than depending on medication to do it for her.”-Victor, Manager at 小青田 “Fruitful”

This is a famous Youtuber from Japan who lives in Taiwan with his Taiwanese wife. My wife watched this video where he introduces the postpartum care center where they stayed (note: it’s not the same one we chose, but it gave us an idea of what postpartum care centers are like).

A General Overview

A video tour of the types of food one might experience at a postpartum care center.
Everyday food was delivered in a timely fashion directly to our room in a red case with hot water pouches to keep the contents at high temperatures. One of the big things for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to avoid cold foods as much as possible. Our postpartum care center collaborated directly with a partner restaurant specialising in postpartum cuisine. This is the case for the lunch for our first lunch on January 24th.

Our Choice

A post promoting the healthy soups that are included in the postpartum cuisine. Almost every meal had 1 to 3 different types of soup, and Victor touted the health benefits of the food provided. “Every soup or food has its specific function. Pigs’ feet are good for producing breast milk. Other soups are good for helping balance the mother’s equilibrium…kidneys, lowering blood pressure, etc.”

Up Close and Personal Care

The nurses made daily checks for my wife’s temperature and blood pressure. When they noticed that her blood pressure was a bit high, they provided us with 紅豆水, a kind of soup made with red beans, which they delivered in a metal container each day in order to gradually lower her blood pressure.
Our home for 20 days. In the foreground you can view the baby cart where Luna spent her time when she stayed in the nursery overnight so that we could catch up on sleep while the night nurses watched and cared for her. The cart was full of diapers, lotion, hand sanitiser, and a chart where we would mark down every feeding or bodily function that Luna had while in our care to make sure things were proceeding as normal. On the bed is Luna at 4 days old.

“Every parent takes care of their children differently and there’s a range of expectations when staying in the postpartum care center. Some give their kids to the nurses directly so that the mother can rest and recover, others insist that the kids stay in their room and the nurses just teach them there, not letting their babies out of their sight. Our mission is just to make sure we take care of children, and we work with the parents to be flexible in caring for the mothers’ and babies’ according to their requests.”-Victor, Manager of 小青田 “Fruitful”

A Chinese language video demonstrating how to clean a baby before changing to a new diaper as shown by 小青田 “Fruitful”。In addition to this very simple explanation, they also market the local skin products that we use.

“Our postpartum care center may be small scale, but we’re very thorough, and I think the that our intimate size is actually something that gives us an advantage for the level of care we are able to provide. We are also all on one floor, so everything is close by. We have 1 nurse for 5 babies or less, a visiting gynaecologist, a paediatrician, and a TCM doctor. There are only 12 rooms total, and the nurses work on 8 hour shifts.”-Victor, Manager at 小青田 “Fruitful”

Although we can recommend all of the staff at 小青天 “Fruitful),one of the nurses at the postpartum care center, 嘉宜 Jiayi, was particularly hands-on and provided very intimate instruction, training, and care. In this image she teaches my wife how to provide breastfeeding from a reclining position in order to give more options.

No Life Task is Too Small to Learn or Teach

Although Luna was particularly animated and grumpy for her bath lesson, 嘉宜 Jiayi remained calm, collected, and friendly as she taught us the ins and outs of how to bathe a baby. Bath time has since become my personal favorite time of the day, and I am quite frankly grateful that Luna was constantly crying during this lesson as it showed us that parents have to be ready for anything at anytime.

Confident First Steps

One of the services included in the postpartum care center was to provide us with professional baby photos. Here’s an image of the photo shoot as Luna was wrapped up like a cocoon by the two photographers. These photos served as happy memories and as passport photos.
Luna may never remember her days at the postpartum care center, but 小青田 “Fruitful” is a part of her life’s story.

American residing in Asia since 2004. Blogs focusing on life observations, improv, food, creating a learning organisation, management, and stretching time.