New moms’ hotel

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New moms’ hotel

The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Ms. Moore, who wrote to us from Seoul:

Q. Ms. Moore:
I’ve come from London to visit Korea to see my younger brother, who is married to a Korean. The couple just had their first baby, and so I thought my sister-in-law might need extra support from her husband’s family. When I arrived, though, I was quite surprised to find her resting in a kind of maternity center, which cost my brother a lot of money. He gladly paid for it, saying it was best for the Korean mother, but we didn’t quite understand the idea of her checking in there.

Traditionally, older women took extra care of a new mother in the family. Such Korean-style postpartum care includes keeping the mother very warm at all hours and preparing warm dishes laden with iron- and calcium-rich seafood. Today such personal, hands-on care seems to have disappeared, mostly because of changes in family structure. Some new mothers who wish to receive “proper” care will check into sanhu joriwon, literally meaning postpartum care center.

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