Dear mummies to be, I wanted to share my experience with my confinement ladies for your information.
I just delivered, about 1.5 weeks earlier than my EDD via elective cesaerean. Before we elected for C sect, we had checked with our original confinement lady (CL), Auntie Evon (+60163308664) if she will still be able to do confinement for us. She assured us that she was. However, we noticed in her voice messages that she couldn't stop coughing. So we asked her about it and she said that she had seen the doctor but she wasn't getting better and will go back to get a jab. Of course, hearing this made us very worried to expose our newborn to her so we weren't too keen to engage her. Instead, she offered her friend. We were very worried about who she was recommending but we didn't have enough time to find another CL. Auntie Evon was also slow in replying and only told us the night before we were discharged that she had already told her friend to buy the bus ticket and she had already transferred the deposit to her. We were shocked as we had not said we were ok with her recommendation. However, given that we didn't have time to search for a new CL, we decided to ask for the contact number and do a quick video interview. As we have dogs, we couldn't afford to be that fussy, so hearing that the new CL is ok with dogs, we thought to just have her come and see how it goes.
So the new CL, Lian Jie (+60199298870), came. We had specifically told her to call us when she reached Singapore and she said OK. But we kept waiting and there were no calls. Finally we got a call from a cab driver around 7pm to say he was lost. She then explained that she had forgotten to top up her SG line hence she didn't contact us. The next few days, she sent my hubby out to buy many many herbs and groceries. My hubby went to a relative's Chinese medicine hall and bought about a month's worth of herbs. On top of, my mother had also bought some soups and herbs for us so we were certain we had plenty to last us the confinement.
I have to admit, her cooking was good. But unlike what some CLs do (i.e. to cook confinement food for mummy and some other simple fare for the others, she would cook confinement food for everyone, which meant that she also got to enjoy all the soups and expensive herbs and fish etc). And she has a voracious appetite - she eats a lot of meat and veg at each meal! She will also help herself to all my buns and cakes on her own. Once, she even ate all the cakes I bought - my hubby and I didn't even get to eat one. And we didn't even tell her she could eat them. Another time, she opened one of my cupboards and found a brand new jar of chocolate peanut butter spread and she opened it to eat. She didn't even bother to tell us she had opened it, much less ask for permission to open it. Even after my helper told her not to, she insisted that she likes chocolate and she went ahead to open it.
On top of that, she told me it is normal to just have a simple fare for breakfast since most mummies will wake up close to lunch time. Little did I know that what she meant is that she expected me to just make my own bread and milo for breakfast. Only after talking to my friends did I realise that most of their CLs will make 4 to 5 meals a day, including a snack or dessert at tea time and a light supper, and breakfast is usually noodles or something since some believe you should not eat so much bread. Mine didn't even help to toast my bread or make me a drink, much less make noodles for my breakfast. She only cooked 2 meals a day, lunch and dinner. And every time she cooks, my helper will assist to cut things and wash all the pots and pans. She is also very messy when she cooks. The countertops and dustbin looked like an explosion occurred and my helper would need to clean and wash them daily. I would also find soup spills on the countertop or floor.
Towards the end of the first week, she wrote a new list of herbs and groceries to ask my hubby to buy. My hubby was shocked as we should still have sufficient. Then we realised that it is because she uses a lot of each ingredient for everything she cooks. For instance, for the red date tea, half my pot was all the red dates and stuff. For meals, in less than half a week, she already finished half a bottle of rice wine. My mother in law also specifically told her not to cook chicken and dang gui in the first week but she still went ahead to cook them.
She also didn't need to do any laundry as my helper would do it. So actually she is very free. Despite being so free, it is not like she spent a lot of time looking after my baby. Every time baby cried, she would pass back to me and tell me he is hungry or that I should give formula. She even said several times that I should pump my milk out instead so we know how much we are feeding baby. But I already told her that when I pumped, nothing much came out. On top of that, latching helped me to increase my supply so I preferred that he latched. But despite this, she kept insisting. I also explained that sometimes he was latching for comfort. So maybe she could try to comfort him first before passing back. But she told me that I should get a pacifier instead. I think she was so insistent on these two points because it would make her life easier.
So essentially she only helped me to bath baby and to change his diapers. Actually even with changing diapers, sometimes when I am done feeding him in the middle of the night and need to change his diaper, she will be sleeping so soundly she won't even hear me changing his diaper so I have to do it myself.
After a week, we sent her back on day 8 early in the morning. While I was nursing my baby, she suddenly came into the room and insisted on an ang bao. We had already give her 100 when she came, as agreed with the previous CL, so we weren't inclined to give her any for her poor work. But she insisted that she must have one. We told her that we had give her extra money in the deposit (100 extra) so she could keep that as the angbao. We were very very generous already. But she insisted they were different things.
She also said that she should count that extra morning as 1 day but we refused since she only reached here at 7pm on day 1.
Finally she said she will return the 100 so we should give her an angbao. We told her we would pack one as a token but she insisted it cannot be a token. She said it was the law. Law???? Finally we caved and gave her 30 bucks. Guess what, it has been a week and she hasn't given us back the 100 from the deposit. My hubby even gave her a lift to the bus pick up point. And the best part is that she realised midway that she forgot a set of clothes and a garlic mincer and she had the cheek to ask my hubby to pick then up and pass them to her sister, who is working somewhere else in SG.
All in all, she made my confinement quite miserable. I am glad we sent her back. Writing this so other mummies can be aware of her. Sorry for the lengthy post!
(P.S. I just asked her if she has returned the money, as per her promise, and she had the cheek to ask what 100 bucks I am talking about and that if any, I owe her the remaining angbao money since I didn't give her a full 100 for her return. She refuses to speak to me and insists I go through the original CL. Totally no ethics.)