although engaging confinement nannies is quite a common practice, you dont really see people post things related to their experience related to their confinement nannies.
only the really good experiences gets to make it to FB (you will see photo albums of the food they cooked, and the testimonies of how good their services were) while the not-so-pleasant ones are always muted and these mothers just get on with life and not talk about it. (well, i think some of the really terrible ones also make it to FB 😛 )
my husband suggested that i write about my experience with confinement nanny so that people who are thinking of engaging confinement nannies can read about it and know what to expect because we certainly did not know what to expect!).
at this moment, i need to clarify that mine is not exactly classified as "disastrous" (as i believe there are really awful ones out there), and i think that she is probably the typical / standard type that you would encounter, if you engage one, so have a read if you're thinking of engaging one in the future. i hope this will help you know what to expect!
#1: Be prepared that your confinement nanny will behave like your mom (or if you mom is kind/demure, then your nanny will be just like any typical Tigress Asian Mom that you've heard of!)
originally, i engaged a confinement nanny because i believed that as an employer, my relationship with her is absolutely arms-length and as with all professional services, i would expect that she would duly execute her duties as i instruct, and if in doubt, she would clarify things so that as employer, i would always be on top of things.
i also expected that communication are kept polite/cordial, and strictly professional. but well, i was in for a shock when i found out that my nanny actually become mommy no. 2 (?! - except that she isnt mommy and i actually pay her a fee for her services!).
to be honest, the first 2 weeks of having her at home required a lot of adjustments. but this is to be expected as with all relationships - personal, professional - you always need an adjustment period and even more time, for the relationship to blossom.
although this is easy to understand, in actual fact, it was extremely difficult to really be zen. with a wound that is still recovering, hormonal changes to cope with, a postpartum body to accept, and finally, a pseudo mommy no. 2 to manage.
my parents have open licenses to say whatever they want, do whatever they want, and in the way they want. this is a given, because they brought us up.
but...for an arms length external party.... this becomes less acceptable (or not acceptable at all to some!!)
it is likely that the nanny you engage would believe that they have greater perceived authority simply because they are older than us. and therefore they believe that with seniority comes superiority and authority.
be prepared that your confinement nanny has such a mentality too. this is not unexpected because they are a group of individuals who belong to a different generation. in general, people of that generation have such belief and i dont think we can change it in any way.
#2: confinement nanny is not the only option
the most valuable aspect of getting a confinement nanny is that it allows you to rest. i have no doubt that a nanny will help a mom recuperate faster, and for this, you should engage third party help, especially if you have had a C-section which means longer recovery period. i hired mine for 6 weeks and thankfully i did, because my wound only started to feel more manageable from the 5th week. i would have been in quite a bad state if she had left after the standard 4 weeks of service (!!)
during the days after you leave the hospital, for sure you will need a pair of extra hands to help you ease into your new role while your only "mommy duties" while recovering should only involve showering your baby with love, hugs and kisses, and breastfeeding.
my husband and i have realized that if one's longer term plans involve getting an experienced domestic helper who is well-versed in taking care of babies, then one should really consider mobilizing your helper earlier and rely on her to help out during the recovery phase.
as for the chinese confinement rituals (such as confinement herbal soups, bath and meals), these are easily managed and your domestic helper can definitely help you out. for my next child (if i am lucky and get preggy again), i may not want to hire a confinement nanny again.
#3: if your confinement nanny comes from further parts of Malaysia, and you plan to engage her for more than 1 month, then good luck - her length of service would be shorter
my confinement nanny lives in KL, and suggested that given the distance, she would like to be mobilized a day earlier, to avoid physical exhaustion.
we agreed to this suggestion, so that she was able to rest for the evening and we understood that our assignment, being 6 weeks, could be rather tiring for her. however, this also means that 1 work day is lost due to travelling and resting. as for demobilization, she asked to be allowed to catch the earliest bus back to KL. this also means that her last work day is not really a work day, because she leaves by 7am.
and if you are planning to engage your confinement nanny for more than the standard 28 days, then be sure to find out how she computes her length of stay with you.
in my case, my confinement nanny does a theoretical assumption that the 28th day is also the 1st day of the next set of 14 days, and therefore, there's double counting of her work days. in short, my nanny ends up leaving 1 day earlier than what i thought. so in total, i lost 3 work days because i hired a nanny from KL instead of Johore, and engaged her for more than 28 days.
be sure to check out with your nanny so that you dont end up being as surprised as i did!!
For info: while MOM allows you to apply for rather long permits (i think 4 months?) for confinement nannies, please kindly note that this is subject to ICAs regulations, and ICA requires nannies to exit then re-enter Singapore. This has to occur by the 30th day of their entrance into Singapore. Otherwise, the nanny will be subjected to a fine for repeated offenders. There's a formula for calculating the amount of fine for repeated offenders, and this is based on the days of over-stay in Singapore.