Any advice/suggestions/experience gratefully received! So far, I have discovered the following:
1) Parents must undertake medical checks and apply for a permission licence before the baby is born. The licence is issued in the wife's Hukou district.
2)Tradition says no sex during pregnancy!
3)Immediately after birth, the mother must stay in her bedroom for one month (no bath. Don't know what happens about toilet)
4)The mother's mother will move in and look after the mother and the baby and has complete power of decision-making.
5)Baby must be vertical 24 hours/day 7 days/week. Cannot be laid down even when asleep. Some people even pay a stranger to help with this process.
6)Swaddling is required throughout this period.
7)Breastfeeding is compulsory. No bottle milk allowed.
8)If the breast does not produce enough milk, then a stranger will be paid to massage her breasts to encourage the generation of breast milk.
9)Cannot use disposable nappies. All nappies must be washed by hand. The washing machine/machine powder is too 'dangerous' for new-born babies sensitive skin. All babies clothes must be washed by hand daily.
10)Baby must sleep with mother in her bed every night.
11) All babies born in China where one parent is Chinese are automatically Chinese. China does not recognise dual nationality, so the baby will need to 'give up' Chinese nationality to become foreign. Then will need a family visa to stay in China. Otherwise will be required to go through the Chinese education system.
Any other cultural/traditional/legal issues I have missed?
thanks bubblyian. I had a good laugh ;-)
especially baby must be kept vertical was a good one. where do you find this stuff ?
I have spoken with a number of my Chinese friends who all confirmed the above traditions.
1. Your Chinese friends are now having a good laugh.
2. The mother’s mother wrote them.
3. They are a set of random traditional habits. And like so many traditions they can go straight in the bin.
You might have broken rule number 1 already. Before you needed first permission of the street committee which was only given after a medical check before a possible conception.
This rule is not applied any longer.
Tradition number 2 was from the same time when it was tradition to have a concubine. So if you want to stick to tradition I suggest you get a concubine as well ;-)
PS: If all these traditions are so important why are the shops full of disposable nappies and baby formula?
Just ask your chinese friends about "zuo yue zi" and check what I have said!
There is quite some sense in Zuo yue zi but quite some nonsense as well such as no teeth brushing, body and hair washing and confinement to bed or the indoors. There is nothing wrong in taking it relaxed after childbirth.
A proper died is always important but the habit of cold Qi treatment with an avoidance of green vegetables and fruit is of course nonsense.
The problem with traditions is that they often lack a factual base or are there for situations that no longer exist. On top of that they are often out of context and passed on by people lacking modern knowledge.
For example; all experts agree that mother’s milk is best. The traditional substitutes are bad. These were cow’s milk and rice water. So it is right that traditional lore stresses breast feeding. However, modern baby formulas, if need be, can be a substitute or addition and are better than letting the child go malnourished.
That nappies have to be hand washed is of course nonsense and modern machine detergent is better than the old hand wash bars.
In short it is better to look at all the point mentioned and ask yourself why these traditions are there and if they are still applicable.