Sitting the month, also known as Zuo Yue Zi, is a Chinese tradition that dates back to the Book Of Changes or I-ching, which is a 2,000 year old book that explained the formation of the universe and the relationship of man to the universe. "Sitting the month" depicts the first 30 days after childbirth where the mother heals by resting. “Eat well, sleep well, nothing is better than sitting the month well.”
The reason this tradition is still heavily engrained in Chinese traditions also upheld in other Asian countries and similar traditions exist in other cultures throughout the world, today because it is said that the month directly after childbirth is the most crucial to the future health of the mother and newborn. Illnesses contracted during the month after childbirth never completely heal.
Immediately after childbirth, there is an empty cavity in the body where the baby once was. The new mother's body is open to receiving pathogens, especially wind/ cold. If she catches wind, the tradition states that it will cause future ailments and prevent the body from properly recovering. Symptoms include joint paint and arthritis.
From anywhere between 25-45 days after childbirth, the new mother and baby are confined to their home while the mother and/ or mother-in-law takes care of them. In recent years, there are luxury confinement resorts, meal delivery systems for proper food nourishment, and nurse services that cater to this tradition, all around the world, in case you don't have access to your loved ones to help you.
The practice of confinement emphasises staying warm by remaining indoors and abstaining from a lot of movement or sensory overload by even having visitors. No gossip, extreme emotions, TV or any other technology, are encouraged during this time. Only complete rest.
Guidelines are as follows:
No air conditioning.
No washing one's hair.
No touching cold objects.
Avoiding contact with cold and wind.
Spending most of the time lying in bed.
Eating only warm, cooked, bland foods.
No work, no housework, no lifting or cooking.