I just delivered my second boy in early July 2023. A month before in June, the original confinement nanny (Jenny Yap - 芬姨) whom i engaged earlier informed that she fell from the stairs and cracked her kneecap bone. She recommended her cousin (Lim Siew Thye - 贞/珍姐) who was also a confinement nanny with 10+ years of experience. As time was not on my side, I accepted the recommendation.
This was the beginning of our 28-day nightmare. As a second-time mum, I was barely able to handle the ridiculous antics and unprofessionalism from this nanny auntie, but I can imagine how first-time mums will be smoked and taken advantage by this auntie.
On the very first day of my confinement, auntie told us that she could not squat because of her weak knees, and said she could only sit down to clothe and bathe the baby. As a result, she handled baby near the floor level - baby’s things were left on the floor, e.g. she leaves the milk bottle on the floor and sits on the floor to feed baby. She also said she has a bad back, and that she preferred a proper bed rather than the foldable spring mattress which we provided as she has difficulties getting out of bed from the floor. Over the course of the first week, she subsequently informed us about her other “cannot-s”, e.g. cannot bend, cannot sit/stand for long, cannot see properly. I understand that most confinement ladies are of the age where they will experience joint pains, but this nanny was at a whole new level.
I requested her to cut my baby’s nails at the end of the second week when i realised his nails were sooooo long under the mittens. She said one word to be bluntly - “no”. I asked why and she said it was tradition to only cut his nails after full month. I told her i don’t need to follow tradition and I want the nails to be cut now. Only then did she say her eyesight was no good, and that she was afraid of hurting the baby with the nail clipper. She said the previous baby that she handled bled when she tried to cut his nails. I told her I have a Hakaa (electric nail file which will not hurt baby) and she said she did not know how to use it, and did not attempt to learn or even look at the Hakaa. This was surprising for an experience confinement nanny.
The worse thing was that she was on her handphones almost 24/7. Yes, she carries two handphones. She either carries my baby in one hand, and watches videos on her handphone in another hand, or she is plugged in on one ear with her earphones to listen to Whatsapp messages or watch videos whole day long. She even blasts her handphone and watches videos when she is cooking. I understand that confinement nannies have to take business calls and contact their families, but this auntie was terrible - she was on the phone with other nannies to gossip about their mummies/babies, and to discuss whether to lend money to a gambler friend etc. I have photo and video proof of these, but i decided not to show them as it will expose my baby unnecessarily. You can ask me for it privately if you wish to see it.
One day, she even had the ball to ask me to let her go out to buy lottery while my baby was asleep. She told me she had struck lottery and won $2000 the week before by betting on numbers related to my baby's jaundice number.
Saying she lacks in hygiene is an understatement. She reuses the same milk bottle for night feeds despite my repeated reminders not to do so. I have 8 milk bottles at hand for her, but she chooses to reuse the bottle for reasons unknown to me - perhaps so that she can wash fewer bottles.
I told her on day one that she is free to use my washing machine to wash baby’s dirty laundry and that I don’t expect her to hand wash anything, except for laundry which is stained - she just has to scrub the stained portion and throw that piece of clothing in the washing machine. Even so, she uses only ONE hanky for the entire day for my baby. I have voiced this out to her several times, but she continues to use that same dirty, wet and smelly hanky that has my baby’s vomited milk. I was the one who had to constantly change my baby’s hanky.
Her food preparation methods were also extremely unhygienic. There was one afternoon when I walked into the kitchen and found three pieces of lettuce balled up together with the soiled kitchen cloth used to clean the kitchen table top and liquids from raw food. Thinking that it was for her own consumption (as she separately prepares her own food), i removed the lettuce from the kitchen cloth and washed it with water before putting it nicely on the chopping board which she left on the kitchen table top. These lettuce eventually found their way to my plate for lunch. She used it as a base on which she served the chicken chop. I finished the chicken chop but did not eat the lettuce.
Late that night, i was awakened due to a bad stomachache which didn’t subside, and i also had two rounds of vomiting and four diarrhoea runs. I rushed myself to a 24-hour clinic and was told by the doctor that I had food poisoning. Only when i tried to recount what might have caused the food poisoning that i remembered about the lettuce. I spoke politely and as a matter-of-factly to her the next day on this issue, and as with all other communications that I had with her, she was extremely defensive. She argued that if it is food poisoning, then my husband would have gotten it, as we share food sometimes. She also said that it cannot be that i eat dirty food during lunch and only get the negative reaction so late at night.
To explain, during confinement, I only ate the food she cooked, and lactation cookies (which i have been eating for a month without issues). I don’t even eat the things my mother bought from outside. So her food is definitely the root cause of the food poisoning. Also, I was the only one who had the chicken chop served with the lettuce which had already been cross-contaminated - my husband ate packed lunch that day. My husband and I ate the same dinner food cooked by her, but he did not have food poisoning. The only logical conclusion was the lettuce. And it also takes time for the bacteria to build up in the gut from lunch, which might explain why I only developed a reaction to it at night.
She has a terrible work attitude. Lazy, rude, defensive, and irresponsible. I was going through my baby’s bag after a visit to the PD to search for some medicine that the PD prescribed for my baby. She immediately bit at me and said in an impatient tone, “What are you looking for?! I already administered the medicine!” She probably thought I didn’t trust her by going through the bag - but what is wrong with ME, going through MY bag to look for MY BABY’s medicine?! That was the last straw after 2 weeks of bad attitude from her. I lost my cool and raised my voice at her to ask her why was she so impatient with me? She was taken aback and her attitude took a 180 degrees turn - it was then when I realised she is the typical sort who is afraid of people who are fiercer than her, and if you don’t fight back, she thinks you are a pushover and she will try to smoke you and walk all over you.
She views my confinement job, as with any other jobs, as a once-off and transactional deal, hence she does not make the effort to do her best or maintain relationships. There was once when she took pictures of the dishes that she cooked, and she told me, with a dismissive look, that “these mummies are so irritating, they keep asking for the dishes that I can cook" - Um… mummies are paying her good money so why can’t they ask for the type of cooking/dishes she can make?
She also does not genuinely care for my baby. My baby has a high level of jaundice at 200+ and she kept saying we have to sun him, but she only brought him to sun ONCE in the entire month of confinement. She was also the one who told me jaundice babies need to feed more frequently, but because my baby requires 2-hour feeds, which she was unwilling to do (as it means less rest), she kept dragging my baby’s feeding time to 3/4 hours instead in the second half of the first week.
She had little incentive to make my baby recover from jaundice quickly as babies with jaundice are usually tired and will sleep more, which means she can do with fewer feeds. But this will not help to develop the baby’s liver which will help to lower the jaundice level. Each time i asked her why hasn’t she fed the baby after 3 hours, her answer was always that baby was asleep. On the second last day of my confinement, the auntie deliberately came to remind me, “You baby still has jaundice ah, his eyes are still yellow. I tell you first.” This is her “handover” to me, but please… she knows about the jaundice issue since day one, and she didn’t do anything about it. As a confinement nanny, don’t just tell me the issue, please try and come up with something to alleviate the situation.
There was a particular occasion when my helper (who stocks up clean, ironed and folded laundry, including handkerchieves in baby’s cabinet) found a hanky with a large stain which looks like dried poop, in baby’s cabinet. I showed auntie the soiled hanky and asked her what she thought it was. She said it looked like poop, and then i asked her why was it in the cabinet. She said she may have unknowingly wrapped it in the baby’s diaper as it was dark at night. I left it as it was, but a few minutes later, she came to me and said that she remembered the hanky might have been soiled when she was changing diaper for my baby and that she might have unknowingly kept it back in the cabinet, thinking it was a new hanky. Afterwards, she openly left Whatsapp voice messages to her friend, saying in Cantonese that she didn’t think it was her fault, and that she had been framed.
She explained to her friend that the stain was caused by mould when we leave wet handkerchieves in the laundry bag for too long. This is far-fetched because in our household, we uphold a high level of cleanliness - We wash baby laundry twice a day and i task my helper to regularly washes even kitchen cloths to prevent black spots, so I would never allow my baby’s handkerchieves to be mouldy. And if so, my helper would have seen the mould patch when she was pressing the handkerchieves. On the other hand, there were so many times when I found shit stains on the changing mat, and even found dried poop on my baby’s ankle (again, I have photo proof). Will either keep quiet, or be very quick to defend herself with some ridiculous excuse, like she already cleaned the mat, but the stain resurfaced because she didn’t completely air dry the mat - i really cannot understand this logic. If the mat was cleaned properly, it will be clean. If it wasn’t, then it will not be. So why will shit stain “resurface”? Never clean properly, just admit and say “sorry, I never clean properly”. But even then, the frequency of not cleaning properly was just too high.
This auntie also bullies my helper. and openly throws temper at my helper. She tells half-truths to get my helper into trouble with me. After many incidents of finding baby items with poop, my helper asked the auntie on one occasion if the yellow stain on the swaddle was poop stain. The auntie immediately snatched the swaddle from my helper and took a picture of the stain and then left a voice message to her friend to curse and swear at my helper and referred to my helper as the “wretched helper”. She said she already cleaned the swaddle, but the the poop was just too yellow so the stain cannot be removed. I stepped in and told the auntie firmly, if it cannot be removed, just throw the swaddle away. Guess what? The stain was removed eventually. So again, if never clean properly, just say never clean properly.
On retro sight, we suspected the auntie was down with stomach flu in the second half of the first week. She kept going to the toilet to pass motion, mostly loose stools, because my helper had to clean up the toilet bowl each time the auntie finishes with the common toilet. During the first week, the auntie kept taking long naps, for as long as 3-4 hours, and she could not wake up until I woke her up. My husband and I were concerned and asked if she was in the shape to take care of my baby. She insisted she was ok, but she just felt very groggy therefore she took long naps.
Guess, what - a few days later, my elder son was diagnosed with stomach flu. My baby was lucky to have avoided this as he was admitted to the hospital for high jaundice during this period. Back to my helper, seeing the way the auntie used our common toilet, my helper requested auntie to clean up after herself if she poops in the common toilet (i.e. clean up the shit stains on the toilet bowl rim and the toilet bowl cover), otherwise she can consider settling her business in the wet toilet at the washing area which is smaller and easier to clean. This time, the auntie threw her temper at ME, and raised her voice, saying, “Your helper is the death of me!”. I was fuming mad, but I spoke to auntie politely and asked her what happened. She said, “you helper doesn’t allow me to use the common toilet.” Since this was the first time it happened, I gave the auntie the benefit of doubt that perhaps there was a communication breakdown and language barrier between my helper and the auntie. But there was a second time.
The auntie missed the washing cycle for baby clothes, but she still insisted my helper to switch on the washing machine to wash just a few pieces of baby’s soiled clothing. My helper told her to put the clothes one side and wait for the next wash in the evening, otherwise it waste a lot of water just to wash a few pieces of baby clothing in the washing machine. I knew my helper said this as i heard it when I was on the way to the kitchen where they were having the conversation. Again, the auntie snatched the clothing from my helper, closed the toilet door with a bang and started to scrub the clothes herself. I knocked on the door to ask her what happen, and she said, “Your helper didn’t allow me to use the washing machine!” I rebutted her, saying that was not what my helper said, because i happen to hear what she told you when i went to the kitchen. The auntie just kept quiet. When she emerged from the toilet with the clothes, she pretended to talk to my helper as usual. I leave it to you all to make your own judgement.
There was once my family came over to have dinner at my house, and they dabao-ed some tze char food. Out of goodwill, we ordered a pack of Hong Kong fried bee hoon for the auntie. The next day, she woke up with a sore throat, and said, “ Aiyo! What is this HK bee hoon that you ordered for me? I eat already got sore throat! That’s why i don’t like to eat dabao food!” I could only wonder how could somebody be so ungrateful. My entire family ate the same bee hoon, and nobody got sick by the way. She probably was already not feeling well from the stomach flu that we suspected she contracted.
She's finally gone now - but left our newborn with a bunch of bad habits eg. unwilling to sleep unless being carrying, erratic feeding patterns, not used swaddling and a very red backside due to long hours of not changing diapers.
Please stay away from her if possible !