Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It's known for its beaches, rainforests and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to colonial buildings, busy shopping districts such as Bukit Bintang and skyscrapers such as the iconic, 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers.
Malaysia has a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society. Evidence of modern human habitation in Malaysia dates back 40,000 years. The original culture of the area stemmed from indigenous tribes that inhabited it, along with the Malays who later moved there. Substantial influence exists from Chinese and Indian culture, dating back to when foreign trade began. Other cultural influences include the Persian, Arabic, and British cultures.
Malaysian postnatal traditions consist of various practices that promote rest and healing. The traditional confinement lasts up to 45 days, with some modern parents opting instead for periods as short as 20 days. Most often it is the mother-in-law who takes charge of the pantang with the help of other female relatives or friends.
Massage (including use of a tuku, which is a metal ball with a handle, warmed and wrapped to roll over the abdomen to gently massage the shrinking uterus) heat (as on the salai, which is a warmed wooden apparatus on which the postpartum mother lies) the bengkung wrap, air akar kayu-- herbal baths and medicinal tonics-- as well as specific dietary choices and avoidance of certain foods (Pantang makan dan minim) all play a part to support the physical and spiritual transition from pregnancy to motherhood.
For More information about Malaysian postpartum traditions:
Traditional Ppostnatal Care Around the World—Malaysia at Natural Transition
Pantang Confinement After Childbirth blog post from Sleepless in KL
Malay Confinement Explained from The Asian Parent
The intention in providing this information is to be mindful of the fact that this wrapping tradition does NOT belong to me or my ancestors. I offer the service because I believe in its benefits for everyone, but I want to be conscious of the fact that as a white American woman, I have no claim here. Cultural appropriation is harmful, and I humbly admit that I don’t know what I don’t know. I have tried to do my own work seeking out accurate information to share. However, if any of the information or the description of service that I’ve provided crosses a line with anyone from the culture itself, please send me a message with your concerns, and I will do my best to correct my errors. Thank you.