Chinese Traditions for Babies and New Moms
If you've been following us on Instagram, you'll know that we've been sharing unearthed treasures from our Brooklyn warehouse. The latest: a pair of lucky chubby baby statutes. In addition to creeping us out a little, they got us thinking about Chinese traditions for babies and new moms.
Sitting around the house
Some new Chinese mothers, whether in China, Taiwan, or Queens, practice zuo yue zi, or “sitting the month.” In this tradition, the new mom (often under the care of her own mother) is confined to the home for 30 days. Her main jobs are to rest, eat, and restore her health.
What she can't do is go outside, bathe, or drink cold water, all believed to throw her energy off balance. Traditional Chinese ideology is all about balancing the yin and yang, that is hot and cold energies. It's believed that after childbirth, a woman's body is in a state of cold and needs to warm up. Therefore, she shouldn't drink cold beverage drinks or eat raw fruit or vegetables.
Instead "hot" foods like ginger are recommended as well as special soups like Sheng Hua Tang, an herbal remedy believed to promote blood circulation, warm the body, and ease pain.
One month red egg and ginger party
Congrats, your baby is one month old! A traditional Chinese celebration of this milestone is the red egg and ginger party. Dyed red eggs and pickled ginger are served to guests. The eggs symbolize joy and renewed life while pickled ginger represents bringing the body back to balance after childbirth. At this time the baby's name is also announced while guests gift the infant with lucky, money-laden red envelopes.
Tiger booties for 100 days
A Chinese tradition that fetes the baby's first 100 days is the gifting of a tiger booties. In Chinese culture, the tiger symbolizes bravery and power. Tiger shoes are believed to bring good luck and protection to the baby.
The first year and the first grab
When the baby turns one, some parents have a zhua zhou ceremony, meaning "first grab." Items symbolizing different occupations — for example, an abacus for finance, a ball for sports, a pen for journalism, and a stethoscope for medicine — are laid out, and whichever one the baby first grabs is believed to determine their career. After the ceremony, guests are served longevity noodles, which, in addition to being delicious, symbolize long life.Want to learn more? Check out all our blog posts on Asian culture and traditions. You can also visit our whole baby apparel collection.