Sitting the Whole Month?

     For many traditional Chinese mothers, the time after giving birth is not just about taking care of the new baby. It has been an old custom for mothers to “sit the month.” In Chinese, “sit month” is known as “坐月子”. This is also called postpartum confinement as new mothers feel as if they are trapped in their own home. This tradition includes the abstinence of leaving the home, showers, cleaning the house, drinking cold water, using a fan, and so much more. There are also many other key parts that mothers do to help restore and protect their bodies, such as wrapping themselves up in blankets and wearing wool socks to prevent getting chills. In addition to that, there is also a strict diet they have to follow if they want to make sure that their bodies are healthy again. In one extreme case, one woman died from overheating in July of this year. This really puzzled me as to why these new mothers would follow the rules of this tradition so rigidly. Isn’t childbirth supposedly one of the happiest times of a mother’s life? Why would they willingly put themselves through all that?

     Turns out, “sitting the month” has tons of benefits for new mothers. Not only is this time for them to rest peacefully at home with their newborn child, it is also advantageous to the body. As the mother’s immune system is weakened post-delivery. For instance, the practice of being bundled in warm blankets is to prevent joint problems or illness in the future.

     But, it also means taking a break from the outside world and getting to stay at home peacefully, in pajamas! Or, in some cases, in super luxurious confinement centers. The rich can pay to stay at these centers where there are nurses and doctors available to tend to their every need, anytime of the day.

     Since this practice originated from over 2,000 years ago during the Qin-period, the rules and restrictions have been modified over the years to better suit the people of the present. Nowadays, some mothers only follow certain rules if they believe in the tradition.


There are 16 comments

  1. Stephen Liang

    Your article was very informing. I did not even know this tradition existed. This tradition will probably stick around for a long time.

  2. Caroline Strauss

    This is a very interesting article! I didn’t know this tradition existed. I never realized sitting a whole month could be so helpful.

  3. Nikki Woldar

    Wow! This article was extremely interesting. I have never heard of this custom before, but I think it is extremely interesting. I am very impressed that this custom has stuck around for over 2,000 years! Maybe, once the United States learns about this they will adopt this custom.

  4. Celeste Traub

    This article is so interesting! I always enjoy learning about new aspects of the Chinese culture. I never new about “坐月子”, but now I can understand why it is an important part of Chinese culture.

  5. Alynah Ratansi

    Oh my gosh!! I loved reading this article as I learned about the new tradition, “sit month” also known as “坐月子”. It is amazing to see that this tradition has been around for a long time and people are still going on with it. The commitment people have for this is inspiring and hopefully more people will be able to get involved with this.

  6. Ashley Kwak

    Wow! I did not know that this tradition existed for around 2,000 years! It was very interesting to read about such postpartum tradition within the Chinese culture. I knew that this “sit in” period was strictly regulated, but I didn’t know that it does tons of benefits for the new mothers.

  7. Chelsea Bai


  8. Cali Liu


  9. Emily Kweit

    This article provided good insight on a tradition that not many people know about. I certainly wouldn’t have learned about it if I hadn’t read this article!

  10. Ashley Silverstein

    I never knew “sit month” was such a thing. This is so fascinating! I can’t believe they don’t clean the house or even shower! I am very impressed with this custom.

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