Basically it comes from a time before modern medicine where the mother had to be very careful after birth.... but in China and even Taiwan... this is still a thing. So people were shocked when Grace sort of just took a stroll with Noah at the Oak Street Fair after like three days. People were like "You can walk?"
Anyway, the tradition is that she would have stayed indoors for three months.
And understandably, for health and other reasons, some women still want to do this in China, and there is a business around it as common as nannying or babysitting is here.
The helper would clean the baby and make sure everything is disinfected and there are also certain types of food that the mother needs to eat. There are fruits dipped in Vinegar that the new mother can keep by her bed and eat whenever her body needs it. The vinegar may have some purpose health wise... but this food would also be able to last in the hot Southern Chinese weather.
There is also pickled pigs feet... come to think of it maybe the vinegar helps with swelling.
The point is, how do you get all this stuff done for you in the states.
If you are Chinese American maybe your mom can do it if she is super traditional. Though I have heard friends talking about this like, "Oh yeah she MADE me do this and that." but some sort of compromise between tradition and the American way was made.
Interestingly enough, someone reached out through the Twitter gods and is looking to hire someone to perform these recuperation nanny duties.
And since I have had my ear to the ground about Chinese babies ever since I had my own, I know that there are many Chinese with means coming to the Boston area to have their kids. The right might call them anchor babies... but it probably has more to do with the ease in which you can get anesthesia applied and other "simple" medical practices for us.. that are actually difficult to get in a Chinese hospital even if you have a gazillion dollars.
There IS a business behind renting space to these birth tourists... but what about the recuperation nanny?
Anyway, for now Boston Chinatown Blog is looking for ONE recuperation Nanny who speaks Mandarin and English (that's going to be a tough one if you are looking for a Pau Pau type.)
But really, couldn't anyone be trained to do this? Is it that different from regular childcare? Hell wasn't I my wife's "recuperation nanny"
I mean I heated up those pickly pig feet in the microwave that her friend made and froze....and then ate most of it for myself lol.
But no seriously we are looking for someone to do this for a Mandarin speaking woman and it would be best if the Recuperation Nanny could also speak English. But honestly, even if you know someone who can do this but can only speak Taishanese, let's talk. Maybe we can train a new crew or recuperation helpers of all ages and races, because there might be a market for this.
Tell your grandma, or whatever if you know how to do it let's talk and connect you to the Nanny seeker.
Here's a video from Al Jazeera about the practice. I suspect we will be finding some sort of compromise in the Boston area.