Advise on coping WITHOUT a Confinement Lady


New Member
Hi all

With all the horror stories and increasing living standard in S'pore, my hubby and I are considering to cope without a confinement lady. We heard, there are many young couples out there doing that as well.

However, I have my reservations, thought we may have our close relatives (FIL, parents) to cook for my confinement meals, i am concerned about the other miscellaneous things like...drinking red dates water...kind of stuffs. I'm not sure how many of such confinement practices are out there we need to follow. And our folks have not been in touch with taking care of mummy after so many years since their time. I am not so much worried about taking care of babies, but more of taking care of ensure, i get nursed back to health soon without following too many outdated traditions..since their time.

Can anyone kindly advise what are the things i need to take note of, if we are going to take care of our 1st BB and myself without a confinement lady? My EDD is sometime end of the year. Many thanks for all your kind advises.


Hi Chirpy

For 1st time-mum, its best to engage a Confinement Nanny (CN).

Reason being, you will definately need plenty of rest and have to nourished your body carefully.

I am sure you have some of your friends or colleagues who have given birth, try to ask for their CN's contacts.

Trust me, this money cannot be saved. My parents know nothing about confinement, as they are all working people.

I have a list of confinement stuffs which you need to prepare. You may want to PM me.

Chirpy, VT is right - it is best to engage a confinement lady since it is ur 1st time.

Not only can she help take care of ur baby while u recuperate, a professional CL have a lot of tips on how to take care of ur baby in future and also explain all the little signs and symptoms ur post-delivery body is experiencing.

I can pass u my CL's contact if u are interested. When's ur EDD?

Hi Chirpy,

I did my confinement early this yr without any CL. My hubby took a month of leave to cook and take care of our bb since he was interested in cooking and also excited for the arrival of our 1st child. We bought confinement cookbooks and my mum and mil came to help at times. For the whole mth my hb was the one bathing and sponging my baby as i am not allow to touch 'water'. My hb has to go market almost everyday to buy fresh ingredient and boil red dates drink every morning, different soups for me at night etc.. i must say it is really tiring without a CL and also as a 1st time parent who do not know what to expect from a baby.

My advise is unless u really have someone who can help to cook and take care of ur bb, if not try to hire a CL to have more rest. As for me, if i will to have a 2nd bb i am going to hire a CL also. Hope it helps [IMG=]

Gina, ur so lucky! I go thru my 1st confinement w/o CL. My mum n hub help, but as 1st time mum u ladies should knw I am so excited so I help in almost everything n didn get to rest. I was in perfect health durin my 1st preg so I tot wat the hell abt CL.

Soon as days pass, 1.) I cant moved my finger...(due to touchin too much water~bath, washin, cleanin my bb) 2.) my back hurt so much as if I was goin to die..(due to always standin, nvr rest in bed plus I use Epi durin birth)

Now I am havin my 2nd bb due tis oct. Was tinkin not to get CL again cos I got a maid, those CL still quote me so exp. tot of gettin those confinement food del'y to home. But I told myself I must get CL if not tis will be the last time I could recover.. was tinkin of gettin CL thru PEM... any advise?

Hi Chirpy,

I did my confinement in March this year w/o any CL. My hubby took 2 weeks leave to help in taking care of the bb. My mum help me in the next 2 weeks of confinement period. For the confinement food, I ordered from a confinement caterer. The caterer provided 2 meals which included soup, vege , meat & red dates drink. But honestly, the food are not so tasty and nice. So, my mum cook better & more nourish dish for me at night.

I also did shower for my bb & myself. But for mummy in confinement need to shower with the herbs water. That is really useful. I also used the water to shower my bb. Coz according to the elderly, the herbs able to reduce the wind for mother. I don't have pain over my fingers or backache. The most important things when you are showering the bb by yourself during confinement month are shouldn't squat and carrying the bath tub. That will coz you to have the backache. I place the bath tub on 2 round stools and make myself sat on a chair during shower bb.

If you don't have a maid at home, then bb better use diaper rather than the cloth diaper.

Hi Yuki,

I am glad that i have a gd hubby to help me so much in my confinement. But i guess i didnt get sufficient rest as compared with those who hire a CL as i will try to help my hb to carry my gal and feed her at times. So far my health after confinement is fine. No backache etc.. My hb double boil black chicken soup with martell for me almost every night during my confinement and i think i really helps.. Maybe you can give it a try.

If you think ur maid is able to handle a newborn without much problem then u can consider to order from a confinement caterer. If not try to hire a CL to have sufficient rest.

I did my confinement in Sep last year without a confinement lady. It was really too stressful and my mum have to take almost one month leave to help me. As a first time mother , there is so many things to be learnt and so many things that I don’t know. When my newborn cries and it is super stressful to copy alone. Thankfully my mother manage to take leave on and off to help. Otherwise, I think I will go crazy. I even try to get CL last minute but was unable to find one. Giving birth is already so tiring so you really need someone to help in order to get a good rest.

Hi Chirpy.

I did my confinement without a confinement lady (CL). My mum did the cooking & housework and I take care of the baby (bathing, changing, feeding,etc). As newborn sleeps most of the time, I rest when baby is sleeping.

As a independent person, I cope well without CL. I don't feel tired taking care of my dd.


You can do confinement without a CL, but it'll be good to have someone to help out. I did my confinement without a CL, had my mum and my hubby to help out. Mum took leave the first week, hubby took leave the second week, and the last two weeks I was alone.

My mum prepared lunch for me in the morning (for the whole month) before she went to work and she came by again in the evening to help prepare dinner. Sometimes I would have the same (meat) dish for lunch and dinner, but she would always cook a fresh pot of rice and veggies. Some of the food she cooked:

- Steamed pomfret

- Pig's trotters in black vinegar

- Chicken in red rice wine (Hong Zhao Jiu)

- Braised chicken with ginger

- Fried fish fillets with turmeric

- Stir fry frog's legs with ginger and spring onions

- Fish soup with green papaya

I hate liver so no liver dishes for me :p

Oh and I ate lots and lots of fruits everyday (papaya, mango, honeydew, grapes, etc - no restriction on type / colour of fruits) coz I was really afraid that my stool would be too hard and the stitches would hurt. (Btw I don't believe that ginger or orange fruits causes the breast-fed baby to have jaundice - I ate papaya & mango everyday to the horror of my MIL and my boy didn't get jaundice).

I also didn't bathe with herbs. No time. Hot shower, that's all. Plus I washed my hair everyday too - otherwise cannot tahan, perspire like crazy.

And yes, like Rine said, I agree it can be very stressful for a first time mother. Every little cry from your baby and you'll have a panic attack especially if you don't know what the baby wants. No time to pee or bathe... can be quite crazy. I didn't use cloth diaper. Would probably have panicked and poked my baby!

I thought the first week is the most tiring coz you can't move so easily yet with all the stitches etc.

For laundry - I put all the clothing into washing machine, then wait for mum / hubby to come home to help hang them. Was using disposable undies for almost 3 weeks coz too troublesome to wash undies if stained.

You need to really look after your health and eat well otherwise no energy to look after your baby, especially with all the sleepless nights. When the baby sleep during the day, I also take nap.

Be prepared for the house to be in a mess - I leave it to the part time maid to help clean once a week, but my mum / hubby will also help out in between.


I just did my confinement w/o any confinement lady.

My mum would either cook at my hse or at her hse for my lunch and dinner. She would also cook the red dates logan water for me as well. She would also wash my bb clothes and do some housework. I am not allowed to take out the bamboo pole as my mom say tt I should not take anything heavy.

She would bath my baby when she comes. Until now I have not bath my baby yet. During confinement, I only wash my hair and bath 3 times with herb water. The rest of the days I wipe myself with warm water mixed with white rice wine.

At nite would take care of bb myself. I would say tt it can be really tiring and when bb cry, you will panic if you do not know wat the bb wants. I have a notebook of her feeding time and when I change her diaper. It does helps to keep track of these details so that you can check and not be panicky.

When my bb sleeps or when my mom is here, I will take naps so that I will have energy to take care of my bb at nite.

One thing to note is not to put too much pressure on yourself or have too much expectations on yourself. Enjoy the time spent w your bb.

Hi mummies,

I just want to share. I gave birth to my baby boy in Jan this year and did not engage a CL and did not get any help from both my MIL and mother. It was tough and tiring and also painful for me during the first 2 week. Because my wound hurts and have been having frequent back pain.

However, i still manage to go through it. From the start i am determine to do it by myself. Firstly, i cant get alone with my MIL and have moved out with my husband. During my pregency, as i have not get my own place so i put up at my dad place.My parents were divorced when i was little and my mom cant stand the sight of my dad so she told me that i have to seek help myself. She will not come over.

My husband told me to get a CL but i am not comfortable having a stranger around. So insist on doing this alone.

Most important is the Food part.

I order confinement food from Natal Esssential for a month but stop the service during the 2nd week because i really have no appetite at all.

(Maybe i'm not use to cofinement food and also i was not getting enough rest).

For baby laundry, i just use the washing machine.

(We separate our clothes and baby)

I tried breastfeeding for a month but due to my diet and inadequte rest. My supply was low.

Is good to get help but it really depend on individual. Is a experience for me, i did not regret it, everybody have their own thinking and diff circumstances.

Hope u have considered the options and make the right choice.

Hi Chirpy,

My first delivery was in 2008. My MIL said no need to get CL cos she can take care of me & all. in the end, 2 weeks after I gave birth, she couldn't handle the stress & I had to end up doing the housework & caring for my baby. I was so depressed & tired that I wanted to throw my baby out of the window every time he cries.

I just delivered my 2nd boy about 1 1/2 weeks ago. This time, I hired a day-care CL. It's so much better. No doubt my husband & I had to take turns in the night to be with the baby but at least my food, laundry & housework are being taken care of.

I also fear getting a 'bad' CL so I went to an agency. At least I can ask for a replacement if this current CL doesnt work out. But luckily for me doing confinement now, its going fine.


Nursing your health after childbirth is very important. Pig trotters with vinegar, a famous confinement food is very important for women in confinement to take at least 2-3 times during the 1st month!

Pig trotters – the fats and skin provides collagen which women needs after childbirth

Vinegar – helps to purge out all old remaining blood clots

Ginger & black sugar – provides warm to the body especially the womb

Pre-order 1kg of Home Made Traditional Pig Trotters with Vinegar (for 4 pax) @ SGD$20 with delivery on every Saturday/ Sunday at key MRT locations. Special home delivery to your doorstep with an additional cost of SGD$10.

Email me at [email protected] for enquiries or pre orders.


Hi Chirpy,

I did without a confinement lady too for my first one. Frankly, i think whether or not you need a confinemnet lady really depends on your pesonality. If you are an easy-going kind of parent (and your hubby too!), then really its not too tough. But if you are a kan-cheong spider type, then yes, it really is better to get a CL mainly just cos it gives u peace of mind you're on the right track (even if you are not [IMG=]).

Here are the things to note:

1. Food - you can eat anything really. Most important is that you eat - cos only then u have energy and also it helps make sure u have sufficient breast milk.

2. Water- Drink lots and lots of water. Again, it helps in breastmilk supply. I am usually quite a water tank also, so i find it helps me to maintain my health. Drink warm water preferably compared to cold water. I find that a hot drink before pumping milk does help somewhat in milk supply. Erm, btw i hardly drank the so called everyone must drink "red date tea" cos i dun like red dates... and i was fine [IMG=]

3. Showering. Just shower and wash hair everyday is fine.. actually i showered like immediately on the day of my delivery. No problems with backache or any ache at all. So hmm i think this one is an old wives tale. the so called backache that mothers have probably is a side effect of epidural.. which i didn't use.

4. Aircon-Fan? I had my baby in July which was super duper hot... so yeah we just slept in aircon room and blast fan. No problem. In fact, at first my MIL was making a fuss abt it.. but erm u think about it, hospital also air-con right? so no problem lah. erm again, till date i have no weird aches so again, i think this one is an old wives tale also..

Tradtions I felt was useful:

1. Malay massage - I thot that was quite good, manage to lose the tummy by like 3 months after giving birth?

2. Not moving about too much - I find this true for the first week. mainly cos of the stiches.

Erm sorry, I can't really think of any more traditions that i really followed.

Anyway, the pros about doing without a CL is that you really get to experience motherhood on your own terms... just relax and enjoy your baby.

Manage your expectations. the first 3 months will be really lack of sleep cos you have to constantly wake up to feed. also, the range of emotions you feel for the little one maybe unlike any sort of love you experience.

Apart from that, go in with eyes wide open, and i think yes, you would enjoy your first-time mother expereince

my wife is thai & she doesn't , actually hates all those confinement "necessities" only wants ginger water nothing else. will not sticking to tradition affect her health in the long run? what say you?


i also did not hv confinement lady for both my babies n they r only 15 months apart.

it can be done if u want to look after ur babies n be very hands on badly enough.


i did not have CL too. It can be done. I felt more in control too. I hired a CL when i had my first. i trusted her too much, cos everyone told me to rest, leave it to CL. end up baby poo'ed once a day only and i wasn't told. Went to doc to check for jaundice and bb had super high jaundice, was put on drip. i cried my hearts out. Only then doc ask and CL say, ya lor. only poo once a day. she should have alerted me, since newborn should poo a lot in the start. i send CL away immediately. Felt they can't be trusted. end up, mom came to help me cook and clean. I handled baby all by myself, with hubby's help when he's home.

2nd baby came, 20mths apart. this time i had maid and mom. Still, i chose to handle bb myself. I dunno, perhaps i trust no one except myself. little babies can't talk n are so fragile, so the minimum i can do for them is to take good care of them. aches? hmm.. so far so good. even though i touched water like nobody biz. and i managed to breastfeed too. First child partial bfeed till 1yo. and 2nd child full bfeed 11.5mths and counting.

enjoy your lil'l babies. they are gifts from heaven. :D

I did my confinement alone as a 1st time mum with my newborn and a dog 3yrs back. Couldn't afford a CL as it's during cny period. I boiled my own longan water, cooked my own food and hsework 1-2x a day. I encountered 2-3 times whereby my dog is barking or poo/pee on the floor, my son is crying, my breasts are leaking(need to latch/pump) and i need to go toilet do biz, all AT THE SAME TIME. You really need to constantly have a clear mind, which is almost impossible. Maybe i din't rest well tat time so after that, i'm sick every month, either down with flu or sore throat and my body becomes very weak.

Doing confinement yrself with no help is possible. It will be a bonus if you have hubby helping out or mum/inlaws popping by at times. Some help is better than no help. When bb is sleeping, you can bath or go toilet or nap at ease if someone is looking out for the bb.

hi mommy,

i gave birth to my baby in Jan this year and my hubby and i went through the confinement period without a confinement lady. i went to stay with my mom for the 1st 2 weeks. mom will help to cook red date tea and help with the baby, but most of the time i still need to manage baby myself. all i can say is, it's gonna be very tough and tiring.. some nights i cry when baby cry too.. cuz first time mommy mah.. so very stress, and i have engorgement on the day i deliver.. so throughout my confinement i got alot of milk supply... always leaking, even with breastpads, still can overleak.. so its very messy and sometimes i need to change, baby will cry etc etc... very stressful..

but at the end of the day, it makes you a tougher person and also the bonding with baby is strong...

IMO, the best option is if your mum / MIL can help. if not, find a reputable confinement lady through ppl who used her before or pay slightly more to go to an agency.

hopefully these will reduce meeting any bad weeds. I had my mum help on weekdays and weekends I DIY. got a domestic helper to do hsework, so we can focus on the infant.

I personally heard and read too much horror stories of confinement lady so when I was pregnant I have decided no confinement lady for me.

My mother-in-law and mom offered their help but I was thinking since I am breastfeeding, there is very little they can help so I turned their offer down. Anyway they have long forgotten how to care for an infant.

I ordered confinement meals from caterer. The food was alright. My husband helped in the house chores like laundry, ironing and mopping on weekends. I just take care of the baby like bathing and feeding. Everything worked out well for us.

My husband and I weren't into the traditional belief so I do 'touch' water as usual. This means other than bathing my baby, I showered and washed my hair with normal running water daily. I didn't drink any longan tea (except those that comes with the confinement meals). I drank lots of cold yoghurt drink and cool plain water.

I would say I am perfectly healthy and free from aches or pains so far (my baby is 1.5-years-old now).

There is no harm to follow tradition if it makes you feel good about it.

I personally think it is alright to do without a confinement lady if you don't want to. I know of friends who did their confinement the same way as I did and they are equally well and happy.

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just wanna share I had no confinment lady during 1st pregnancy..ends up is a tiring task..

Just add a few drops of Huiji waist tonic in your food will do great to your body. Make you less lethargic
Hi Chirpy,

I did my confinement without any CL and my husband was traveling due to family commitment too. It was quiet and blissful. I had natural birth so this is possible. However if you have c s then you might need extra help. If you read a lot and you are positive, you can do it alone and really enjoy it. Babies are pretty quiet when there are less people around. When your babies are sleeping, you sleep too, so in the night time you wont feel tired at all.

All the best!