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What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

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Re: What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

Postby Hartzell » 22 Oct 2011, 11:50

There are "centers" that provide all the necessary food, lodging, etc. for the one month (or five week) period this involves. After my wife had our baby, we had already made a reservation, and we took a taxi straight from the hosptial over there, where she simply checked in and was assigned her room. She was sleeping a lot of the time, the nurses took care of the baby. Very little for daddy to be worried about !!!!

If the Taiwanese wife wants to follow along in these traditional practices, and not do the following for a month, why should you argue with her??? (If it makes her happy, what skin is it off your nose???)
(1) wash hair,
(2) eat ice cream,
(3) drink cold drinks,
(4) avoid certain medications,
(5) avoid certain foods, etc,

Having been through the experience with my wife, I can't imagine trying to deal with all these "traditional Taiwanese details" at home for the first month or so. And especially if you have other little toddlers to take care of!!!! (We didn't, as that was our first and last child.)

Check around and find a good "center" which takes care of these things, most of them are run like a HOTEL. Interview some of the mommies there about what they think. Then make arrangements to "check in" as soon as you bring the newborn back from the hospital.

Give your wife a break.
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Re: What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

Postby marasan » 23 Oct 2011, 06:27

Hartzell wrote:There are "centers" that provide all the necessary food, lodging, etc. for the one month (or five week) period this involves.

Check around and find a good "center" which takes care of these things, most of them are run like a HOTEL. Interview some of the mommies there about what they think. Then make arrangements to "check in" as soon as you bring the newborn back from the hospital.

Give your wife a break.


Thanks for this information. My wife mentioned this to me. This is something we'll consider. My wife told me that have prices for three different lengths of stay (the shortest being something like 12 days). It's not cheap but like you said, "give your wife a break."

I'm still interested in hearing about the home delivery options from anyone. In this regard, my wife mentioned that these services also include sending a person out to do all the house cleaning and other chores.
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Re: What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

Postby marasan » 23 Oct 2011, 06:36

EddieG wrote:That my wife doesn't believe in all that stuff is what makes me confident in our marriage.


I'm sure you know your wife better than anyone else, but from my experience of having an Asian mother and now an Asian wife, I would be very surprised if she really "doesn't believe in all that stuff"!
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Re: What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

Postby StuartCa » 23 Oct 2011, 11:59

believing in something & doing it are two different things in Taiwan. I wouldn't say my wife believes in this stuff but why temp fate. Besides which why not let them rest and eat the food they want. you never know there may be something in it
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. ~James Michener
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Re: What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

Postby EddieG » 24 Oct 2011, 21:13

marasan wrote:
EddieG wrote:That my wife doesn't believe in all that stuff is what makes me confident in our marriage.


I'm sure you know your wife better than anyone else, but from my experience of having an Asian mother and now an Asian wife, I would be very surprised if she really "doesn't believe in all that stuff"!
I know her. Once again that's why I'm confident in our marriage :)
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Re: What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

Postby EddieG » 24 Oct 2011, 21:15

StuartCa wrote:believing in something & doing it are two different things in Taiwan. I wouldn't say my wife believes in this stuff but why temp fate. Besides which why not let them rest and eat the food they want. you never know there may be something in it
True. But my wife doesn't act like that which also makes me happy. And she eats what she wants, good tasty food with scientifically proven value to mothers.
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Re: What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

Postby Teddoman » 12 Jan 2012, 02:29

Dragonbones wrote:My guess is that nutrition was formerly poor, and it is hard to produce adequate breast milk (and recover from the blood loss and general trauma during labor) without proper nutrition and some rest.

We get more than enough nutrition nowadays, though, so other than a slight adjustment to ensure adequate protein, calcium, fluids and iron, and to make sure all meats are fresh and nitrate-free (no ham, bacon or sausages!), most of the traditional practices of the sitting month are unnecessary IMO.

We dispensed with all the yuezi formalities. I agree and suspect they're like what I've read about the Jewish kosher diet: rooted in nutrition and sanitation necessities that no longer exist.

I wouldn't dispense with the part emphasizing constant rest. Resting is a key part of breast milk production, and even a percentage of well nourished modern folk have trouble producing breast milk.

If you're breast feeding, then her job should be to breast feed, sleep when the baby is sleeping, and anything else she likes to do.

You, family and hired guns do anything and everything else.

Not putting a lot of responsibilities on her also helps with post partum depression, which in milder forms expresses itself as irritability.
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Re: What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

Postby llary » 06 Feb 2012, 12:37

Your wife will appreciate if you discuss and plan the whole process from pregnancy to delivery and the months after so that she is not stressing about how it will turn out.

With our first baby my wife went to stay with her mother which in hindsight was a bad idea. At the time her mother was working and my company was just starting to take off so my wife did a lot of the care on her own which was exhausting. Also at the time I was more stubborn about not getting involved with traditions. Don't listen to foreign friends or flob posters who insist that Taiwanese traditions are stupid, that's what I did and I regret it now.

Our second baby was awesome, I saw it as a chance to make up for the first and it went much more smoothly. We hired an 'auntie' to come and help out from 8am-6pm. I planned to hire 24/7 help but my wife wasn't comfortable with that and we had help from family. If you are working and don't have family to help out then it might be worth trying to find someone to do nights as well.

I don't think the live-in centers are a good idea, we went to check out every one of them in central Taiwan and they were kind of depressing and overpriced. Maybe your wife would enjoy it if she likes the sound of living in the same small hotel room for a month but it didn't work for us.

About hiring help, my wife found an organization that connects the yue zi 'aunties' with new mothers. Instead of a regular commercial operation they are a charity where you pay an extra $2000 and the 'auntie' pays $1000 into the fund. I think it was something like $48k for the month but you have to pay separately for food and Chinese medicine she cooks with, that came to another $20-30k. My wife was happy about helping a good cause and they seem to attract some of the best people. The woman we had was great. I completely forget what the name of the organization is but I can ask if you're interested.

In the hospital I would recommend budgeting and booking early for a private room. My wife had a C-section for both kids and the private room makes a huge difference in the few days after surgery.

My wife does not care about a lot of traditions (hair washing etc.) but does care about some other stuff, I just said yes to everything and then everyone's happy.
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Re: What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

Postby headhonchoII » 06 Feb 2012, 12:43

Don't write it off, there is a lot of merit in letting the wife rest and eat well after giving birth. You can choose to ignore the more superstitious parts like no washing hair.
This year a lot of hospitals and zuoyuezi centers are very busy, so you need to check and book ahead. The large hospitals can be very pressed for space and it may be difficult to get a private room, in that case a private clinic may be easier to book one. For our first kid we had to share a room in a big hospital after delivery and it was tiring and stressful, not a good experience.
We are also looking at the 'ayi at home' route and there are companies that deliver food to the home aswell. The food is really high quality and nutritious. The Chinese know a thing or two about food. You don't have to subject your wife to the MIL's ma you ji everyday!

We often joke that for the cost of zuoyuezi you could live in a resort somewhere for weeks! However the zuoyuezi tradition, after looking at it from different angles, is actually far superior to the Western version which is very hurried and not kind to the mother. Myself and Llary have similar experience, I was quite sceptical but having gone through it once I really see the benefit from it, if one can afford it.
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Re: What is expected of the husband during 坐月子 (zuo yue zi/sitting month)?

Postby StuartCa » 06 Feb 2012, 13:10

My wife is still pissed that she didn't get a break with first one and I underestimated how hard it was for her.

This time round she's getting 12 days in a baby hotel and then having an aiyi come round and look after her for a couple of weeks afterwards. It will make her life easier and without a 3 year old running around she'll get some much needed rest.
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. ~James Michener
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