A confinement nanny is someone who will help a new mum have a smooth transition from pregnancy to post-delivery life. She should cook you nutritious meals, ensure that you get sufficient shut-eye, care for you and your baby, and even encourage you in your breastfeeding journey. In other words, a confinement nanny can help ease the transition from pregnancy to life with Baby. If you’re hiring one for the first time, here’s what you should know.
But trying to hire a confinement nanny is like walking through a minefield. There are so many factors to consider that the task can easily overwhelm a first-time mum. If you’re unsure about how to even start searching for a confinement nanny, we’ve covered the basics here.
WHY Hire a Confinement Nanny?
Whether you hire a confinement nanny or not ultimately depends on your personal situation, as well as your comfort level in inviting a stranger into your home for an entire month. There are women who prefer to cope with just their husband, and order confinement food via delivery. Then there are those who rely on their mother or mother-in-law for basic confinement meals and baby care support.
But if there’s no one to help you out during this crucial time, hiring a confinement nanny is an option. “I chose to hire a confinement nanny despite my mother-in-law offering to help,” says purchasing officer Nicki Ng, 30. “I considered how we might have generational differences when it comes to living habits and baby care, and thought it best to avoid potential conflict.”
Even if you feel that you’re independent or just not sold on the idea of having an older woman nagging at you to follow age-old confinement practices, think again. After giving birth, you will need plenty of rest to recover from post-birth wounds. This also means you won’t be able to whip up a meal or do the laundry as easily as before. And if you’re devoting most of your time and energy to breast-feeding, you will probably tear your hair out if you have to handle a helpless newborn 24-7.
(See also: Multiracial Confinement Practices in Singapore)
WHAT Does a Confinement Nanny do?
Here’s a standard job-scope of a live-in confinement nanny:
- Day and night baby care
- Cooking confinement food for the mother, non-confinement food for the husband
- Brewing of daily TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) tonics and red date longan tea
- Preparing of daily herbal water for hand-washing or showers
- Laundry for baby, mother and father
- Grocery shopping, if necessary
- Sweeping and mopping floor, twice a week
- Washing toilet, once a week
It is important to understand that the primary tasks of a confinement nanny are to provide post-partum care for the mother, and general care for the newborn baby. You’re not hiring a domestic helper, so do adjust your expectations when it comes to household chores.
WHEN to hire a confinement nanny?
In Singapore, an in-demand confinement nanny is likely to be booked up months ahead. So start looking early. Most local mothers-to-be quickly lock in on their preferred choices in their first trimester.
Others prefer to wait till they’ve passed the initial 13 weeks (during which they are at a higher risk of a miscarriage), even if they may miss out on the highly recommended ones. That said, most confinement agencies offer some form of refund should the unfortunate happen.
Even if you’re not particular, don’t leave it till too late. By the time you hit your third trimester, the last thing you’d want to do when you are huffing and puffing around is to fret over which confinement nanny to hire.
WHERE to look for a confinement nanny?
Those seeking a freelance confinement nanny usually first rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. For instance, a cousin’s confinement nanny may have done a great job and she’s happy to connect the both of you. Local mothers or mothers-to-be also tend to belong to forums, Facebook Groups or WhatsApp Group Chats, where contacts of reliable and experienced confinement nannies are often shared.
Be prepared to handle the extra admin, such as applying for her work permit, when you’re hiring a freelance confinement nanny.
For those who prefer to go down the agency route, shortlist a few licensed confinement nanny agencies from Ministry of Manpower’s website and set up meetings to find out what each agency can offer. Most agencies respond quickly, and will be able to visit you at your home to better understand your needs. Confinement nannies from agencies are usually trained and experienced.
HOW much does a confinement nanny cost?
A live-in confinement nanny typically costs between $2,300 and $2,800 for a 28-day period. Meanwhile, a daytime confinement nanny usually works office hour and costs $1,600 to $3,000. For those who are hiring from an agency, there are usually no extra costs as the agency fees are already included.
Expect to pay more during certain periods (such as during the Lunar New Year), if you want to choose a certain confinement nanny with an agency, or if the workload increases (such as her having to take care of twins/triplets or if she’s expected to cook for more of your other family members).
The first payment is usually a deposit to secure the confinement nanny’s slot. This amount varies, but is usually around a quarter of the full fee. For example, if your fee is $2,800, you may be expected to put down $700 to $900 first. The second payment is also the final balance, which is paid at the end of the confinement period.
Then, there are additional fees, such as the below:
- Short-term work permit: $30; only applies if the confinement nanny is from Malaysia
- Government Levy: $60 per month for locals, $256 per month for non-Singaporeans
- Medical insurance: Insurance of at least $15,000 for month-long coverage
- Medical checkup (optional): Varies, approximately $200
In Singapore, it is also tradition to hand out two red packets to mark the beginning and the end of the confinement period — a smaller one of around $30 upon her arrival, and a performance-based amount of between $100 – $250 when her stint ends.
Note: Prices accurate at time of publishing.