She can ease your early days with baby — or cause you more stress. We help you choose the right help...
1. Where can I find a confinement lady?
Confinement nanny agencies can match your family with the right nanny and help find a replacement quickly should yours fall ill. However, you can ask for personal recommendations too from your friends, colleagues and relatives.
Always sign a contract to include full services, charges, breach of contract and responsibility for any accident. You should always request for official receipts for any official payment made. Before picking a confinement lady, ask for her profile and where possible, ask her about child care and confinement to ensure her idea about her duties match yours.
Winnie Chong, manager at Star Confinement Nanny Agency advises, “If you are selecting a nanny from an agency, list down your expectations so the agency can best match you with a nanny who suits your need and who will be to your liking.”
Some confinement agencies include:
PEM Confinement Agency
JIA Confinement Services
STAR Confinement Nanny Agency
2.What will the confinement lady do?
Chong recommends, “Couples should look for a confinement lady who is experienced, possesses a good attitude and can maintain a high level of hygiene. Well experienced nannies have at least eight assignments a year. Nannies with good attitude can take instructions well as different mummies have different level of expectations and communicate differently. Nannies should also be able to cook delicious confinement food as this period is critical for mummies to build up strong health and immunity.”
Usual duties include:
- Bathing, feeding and caring for the baby
- Cooking special confinement dishes such as traditional chicken soup for the new mum
Once your breastfeeding routine is established, you can express breastmilk so the confinement nanny can help with night feeds. But, if you prefer to do night feeds personally to bond with baby, let your confinement nanny know in advance. Most confinement nannies also have a repertoire of dishes and recipes that they cook for new mums. Get to know what dishes she can cook and her signature ones. Different dialect groups have their own signature confinement dishes so if you prefer to stick to traditional dishes from your dialect group, it might be wise to choose a confinement nanny who excels in these dishes. If there are certain food you are allergic to, also inform your nanny beforehand.
3. How do I transition her into the household?
Living with a stranger is never easy but there are things you can do to help her adjust to your household:
- Most confinement nannies are not educated and hence won’t be able to understand English. Communicate with her in dialect or Chinese as much as you can. If possible, subscribe to Chinese newspapers and let her have time to watch some Chinese TV shows. This will help her feel less isolated.
- While most confinement nannies will eat the food that she cooks for you, you could also consider giving her space to cook her own meals.
- Give your confinement nanny time to call home. You can provide her with a pre-paid phone card.
4. How to pay the confinement nanny?
- The deposit (usually a fifth or a quarter of her full fee) as you need to “reserve” her while you are still pregnant. The more experienced and in-demand the confinement nanny, the earlier you have to book her (many women do so in their first trimester).
- The fee which you will pay once the confinement period is up. It can vary depending on your area. Fees are highest during the Lunar New Year.
- The ang pow is supposed to be a token sum given at the end of the month as a gesture of appreciation. This is usually left to your own discretion.
Do note that the Ministry of Manpower requires anyone who wants to hire a foreign live-in confinement nanny to apply for a work permit and pay a levy. For more information, click here
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