My hubby and I made a decision to fire our confinement nanny at about our 2 weeks with her.
The process of getting a nanny is not a easy one. First, you need to book a confinement nanny (CN) really early. Now with Covid19, getting a nanny is even tougher. All the Malaysia confinement nannies are unable to come in and out of Singapore.
Not only that, to get a good CN; is tougher. What determines really a good nanny? I would tell you, a SUITABLE ONE. I got my first confinement nanny through recommendation of my good friend like anyone of us. And her experience vs mine were entirely different.
During the first day when I reached with home with my baby, I met my confinement nanny. My hubby & I were first-time parents and we really did not know what to expect and we were just feeling happy that our baby is back home with us; at the same time feeling a sense of loss. We were trying to figure out what should be the next thing we do once we got home with our baby. There was sense of comfort back home but a lot of silent jitters as new parents. Our confinement nanny also arrived that very same day. The first day she came, she looked around and started asking us for some items. One of the things was the Red Packet. The 'Red Packet' traditionally is a way of representing 'Good Luck' for the first day of work. Honestly, we were like a-tad surprised that we needed to give extra money. Like a red packet, because we thought that the full amount of money which is already about SGD3000 should cover it all.
So now we know; apart from the money we pay to hire, we still need to prep 2 red packets, one for the first day & one of the last day. Usually mommies report that they give about $20-$50 for the first red packet, and depending on 'performance' they will decide how much to give at the end of the job. So it is really up to you. So, back to the nanny, she complained that the short stool we got for her to sit while showering the baby is slightly too high, and she needs more pails etc.. and asked my hubby to bring her downstairs for a pick & choose for those things she needs/ wants to use. Including choice of coffee & big tins of Khong Guan Cheese crackers which she finishes within a week. -which means we had to top up for her.
Tip: So you need to be prepared that the confinement nannies do have preferences not just on their food intakes, they will also have preferences on how they wanna take care of your baby. My hubby & I made up our minds way before we gave birth that we want to be really hands-on with our own baby. (Personal Choice) Hence, the MAIN RESPONSIBILITY of the confinement nanny was to syringe feed my baby boy (up to 2 weeks old) and she was only given 2 specific feedings. 2 Night Feeds. They were 12am, 2am. At 4am, my little boy will be fed by me through latching. And then my baby will be mostly with us from then till late. While we were being hands-on with our newborn, we also were similarly clueless on what we could or could not expect of the nanny to do. So I suggest that if you are getting a nanny, you should have an interview checklist to help navigate the suitability of the confinement aunty. We gave the aunty very little responsibilities & seeing that we were clueless & easy-going, our CN also gets lazy. She did not clean up the house, nor even the baby area. She also did not help to wash any clothes. So most of the time, in our day, she will lay on her bed, playing with her phone or napping. And then till time to cook lunch or dinner.
This nanny's also don't cook too well. The herbal soups she cooked didn't taste good, and it was cooked in big pots. I could recall drinking big bowls of yucky soups. And the food weren't delicious and also not creative in any way. Day by day, it became tougher to swallow the food. But oh well... What can we do right?
But our breaking point was when I suspected that she bottle-fed my baby. As a first time mom, I just could not risk it. I wanted to be successful in my breastfeeding & I really wanted my baby to latch well. I wanted to prevent all the unnecessary hiccups. So I told my nanny to feed my baby using the syringe so that my boy wont have any nipple confusion for the first 2 weeks.
However, 3rd day into the confinement, my mommy instincts tells me that something is not right. (Trust your mommy instincts!) I looked at the baby camera and saw her bottle feeding my baby. I was so annoyed and angry to tears. But I also felt stuck because the norm is to have a nanny and here we are with our nanny who had so much rest but just refused to respect our parental preferences.
And she feeds my few days old baby 100ml and I was pleasantly surprised but also find it dubious as he was only very young. 100ml is like wow..... 'you're big eater!"
With 100ml, my baby also had a lot of projectile puking. So we decided to feed our baby ourselves using a bottle after 2 weeks, and our baby usually leaves behind 10-20ml. So many confinement nannies will attempt to feed the baby more than what they should stomach so that they wont wake often to feed in the middle of the night. I find this practice appalling. Besides isn't that the reason why Confinement nannies are expensive? So that they can be in-charge of the midnight feedings?
Nonetheless, we still endured till we discussed for almost a week and tried discussing logically the pros and cons and the reasons why she was here or what will happen is she is not around etc... and it was SO HARD TO DECIDE because we hardly hear of people doing their own confinement. And mind you this was back in 2017. We were fearful that we cannot handle the baby or we might fire her and realized that there were some parts of the confinement which we could not handle. But logically, we know we were just burning money.
Long story short, we finally decided it was the right decision. And as the nanny knew she did not contribute much, she also willing left. But before she left, she still asked for red packet. OMG.
So if you are a new parent, I would say: - Do what's right, or good or suitable for you and your baby. And you got to really know what to expect; else, being ill-informed or being clueless will only leave you and your baby to chances.
At the end of the day, whether we get a good confinement nanny or a horrible one, we will still need to perform our parental duties to care for our babies. The decision to parent often than not starts when you first knew you are pregnant. So, it is not a bad thing to be willing to be involved in bits of caring for your baby even during the 'confinement period'.
SO many times, many new mommies want to be involved in caring for their newborns but they had to embrace alot of fears of a possible 'bad confinement'. And they are clueless how to rest & care for their newborns all in the same period. Fast forward 4 years now, I am a mommy of 3 and I have done all my confinements just with me & my hubby. I can only tell you, it has been all magical & nothing bad.
For mommies who know you need to learn What To Expect, just head over to www.bumpbirthbeyond.co They have online tutorials & modules to teach on breastfeeding & baby care. Importantly, new mommies will be taught how to care their newborns without having self neglect. And how to curate a routine which set the baby in the right conditioning and for mommy to create a new identity.
Your fellow momma,