How Tiger Moms Get Their Awesome Start

postpartum careYou might be under the incorrect assumption that the secrets to a Tiger Mom's success include her stern looks and unwavering discipline. I'm here to tell you that you, my friend, are wrong. It's recently come to light that the Chinese tradition of postpartum confinement, or "sitting the month," is alive and well in the United States. And I'm convinced that this month of pampering for mom and baby, with no distractions from the outside world, is actually why Chinese moms may be superior after all.

In fact, if I had my pregnancies to do all over again, I might shell out the $1,500 - $3,000 it costs to get set up in one of these postpartum houses where your job, as a mom, is to stay warm, eat well, and cuddle your baby -- for an entire month.

Oh, who am I kidding? American moms don't even know HOW to sit a month.


Of course, that's what all moms should be doing, but sadly most of us don't have the support to make that happen. Our husbands have to go to work, our families live far away, and hiring a 24/7 doula or baby nurse is way out of budget. Let's face it, even if most of us had a baby nurse or a doula, we'd probably be up on our feet cleaning the house, cooking dinner, and making a Target run. All while the baby was being cared for by someone else.

We're such a society of multi-taskers and overachievers that the idea of taking a month off -- even if you've just given birth -- seems luxurious. Selfish, even. But this Chinese tradition of keeping new moms warm, feeding moms healing foods, and helping moms care for their newborns is one we all should adopt. Which is much easier said than done. As witnessed by my own experience when I was lucky enough to have a postpartum doula for a few days. As she wrapped me up in blankets and told me to take a rest while she did the dishes, I was so anxious that I told her I was fine and I didn't need any more help. As I recovered from a brutal c-section and had a tongue-tied baby with latching problems. Right. Stupid American independence!

Which is to say, it's a very different cultural norm, this practice of sitting the month. One which gives you and your baby a fantastic start -- if you let it. Then you're surely ready to take on piano lessons and Harvard applications with verve.

Would you "sit the month"?


Image via TedsBlog/Flickr

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