Meet the Parents

My 41 Days of Confinement

January 22, 2013

** long post ahead

After reading the title, I know some of you might be thinking, why 41 days of confinement? Well, I don’t plan on having anymore children, and I want to get this confinement right so that I won’t have a worse health than what I began with (before Blake). It’s also good to have an extra pair of helping hands for a longer period whenever possible! Hehe.

If you’re wondering why we’re stopping at two, it’s partially because Sean and I don’t want to be outnumbered, and honestly, taking care of one toddler and a baby at the same time is more than we can handle. And I really don’t want to go through the whole newborn stage again. It’s really tiring! On top of that, our place only has two other bedrooms, and we intend to let them each have their own rooms after they hit puberty. Also, since we don’t have our own car anymore, taking the taxi will be just nice with the four of us!

Besides all that, the rising cost of living here in Singapore is also a major factor to consider. For a family surviving on a single full-time income, having one child is comfortable with some excess, while two could make things a little tight at times (imagine buying all the milk powder and diapers at a go!).

If we were to have any more than that, I got a feeling I’ll be a really grumpy mother, constantly worrying about the finances. And that’s not good at all cos I still want to shop for myself too!

I must say, the ‘Stop at 2’ campaign from the 70’s was what really got me thinking a lot about this. Great campaign, if you ask me!

Taken from Wikipedia

So anyway, back to the topic.

As some of you might know by now, my confinement is kind of a part-time thing. I opted for a day confinement nanny (CN) because I’m not used to having strangers stay overnight at my place. I feel really uncomfortable at that thought. In fact, I was actually against this whole hiring of CN idea, and I had planned to do confinement on my own (gung-ho or outright silly?), but my mom insisted and after thinking over what she said, and talking to a couple of mommy friends, I went to look for an agency to hire one. Boy! Am I glad to have listened to mom or what?! Mothers do know what’s best for their children!

I didn’t go with the live-in CN like my mother had hoped, but all the help I needed was really just in the day when Sean’s at work. Besides extra help when it comes to looking after Nakayla, I also have someone to cook all my meals, wash the dishes, do the laundry, sweep and mop the floor for me! I even get to rest and sleep in the day, but I seldom do, cos I was either fussing around the planning of Nakayla’s full month celebration, or I’ll be catching up on my tv series. Oops! Sometimes, I wonder how my CN is able work non-stop, doing everything all in the day. Perhaps a good night’s sleep really does wonders to a person. Overall, she is really pretty good. Trained by a local private hospital too! She has also been making sure that I take all my herbal soups and drinks. That’s another plus. Haha. But I gave up on the Longan Red Dates drink after two weeks of it.  Haha. The food she cooks is very often to what me and my husband likes, and she cooks really well, especially her fried beehoon!

Just look at how much Blake enjoys the fried beehoon!

Through this period, my confinement nanny had been really understanding. When I told her I wanted to head out for all sorts of reasons, she told me to go ahead. She only asked that, if I do head out, to stay out of the rain, to avoid eating food I cannot take but really want (read: ice cream!), and to be back home before Blake returns from school. I had forgotten all about the time once, and I was stuck in a place rather far away from home due to heavy rain and terrible traffic. I got home so late that day!

She also told me to be careful as my body has yet to recover fully (it was about a week and a half after confinement started when I began complaining. Haha!). When Sean was on leave in the middle of the confinement, she also encouraged us to go out and spend some time with each other while she was still around to help out. Most of the time, we went out only to do grocery shopping. Haha. What awesome life we have. Haha. So thankful to have her around and giving Sean and me this private time to spend together.

I had opt to have all the herbal soups and tonics for the first 28 days of confinement, even though I never liked any of this Chinese herb stuff, but I thought it would be good for me. From the first day, my CN asked me what I like and dislike to eat, how I like my dishes (salty or sweet) etc. So every time after she boils these herbal soups, she will have a taste of it first, warning me if it’s bitter. She even made some of them sweet to mask the taste. Hehe. And, she made sure that I finish them all! And every time I did, she will praise me like I’m a little child. Haha.

41 days of having someone around to talk to, to have meals with at home and to help with a newborn (major plus for me when I have to run errands!), things were so different after she left. On the bright side, Blake spends most parts of the day at school now, so I can concentrate on Nakayla and the household chores fully when I’m on my own – just like when Blake was younger. Only difference is, if I were to bring Nakayla out, I have to be home before Blake returns home from school.

Another person I had the pleasure to meet during my confinement days was my Jamu massage masseuse, Eja. I never had Jamu massage after I delivered Blake cos I was taken care of by my mom and grandma, and we didn’t go looking for a masseuse. I was pretty excited about this honestly! Hehe.

I had eight sessions of Jamu massage altogether, all concentrating on my tummy area. I must say, after the first session, my tummy reduced greatly. I was so happy! I have no photographic evidence though. I totally forgot all about it until all 8 sessions were all over. I didn’t even get a photo with my awesome masseuse! Sigh.

I can tell you this though, after eight sessions, I am able to wear at least half of all my pre-pregnancy clothes now. After I had Blake, two years back, it took me at least 6 months to get to the size my tummy is currently at now. Eja told me to continue with the binding (traditionally, tummies are to be bind for at least 40 days), else the whole thing would be a complete waste. She also taught me methods on how to reduce the saggy skin (that’s the bulk of my bulge)! Awesome or what? Hehe. We got along so well that she even invited me to her daughter’s wedding!

I really have to thank my lucky stars for meeting two very amazing persons during my confinement. Prior to meeting them, I had read about bad experiences some mommies had during their confinement. That got me truly worried! So it was a big sigh of relief for me! Phew!

And because I’m so pleased with both my confinement nanny, and Jamu massage masseuse, I’m going to share their contact details with you!

My confinement nanny’s name is Sun Mei Ying 孙媚瑛. If you’re looking for a confinement nanny, do contact her at 8446 7815. Tell her you got her number from Mabel, the lady with the baby girl who’s umbilical cord didn’t drop off till 5 weeks or so later. Haha.

As for my masseuse, Eja, you can contact her at 8439 4351. I’m not sure if she will be able to remember me, cos the time we spent together was really short. But you could try telling her my name, and that she invited me to her daughter’s wedding. Hehe.

I must say, this confinement was definitely better than the last. I made new friends, felt more relaxed in my own home, and the best plus plus ever – expressing milk in the middle of the living room, anytime I want! Haha. I guess it also helped that it was year end, the weather was cooler, and Sean was clearing his leave. I was also prepared for the worse. Blake wasn’t an easy baby to care for back then, so this time round, I’m a little more prepared – mentally, emotionally and physically.

41 days of confinement… a blink of an eye and it’s over. Another blink of an eye, and Blake will be three years old, and Nakayla will be one. Time, it passes so fast when you least expect it to!

Update 19/6/2016: For the benefit of new parents-to-be, kindly read the comments on this post as well for experiences shared by others to gain better insights of the confinement nanny and masseuse before engaging either of them for your confinement. Should you wish to share your own experience, feel free to leave a comment too.

  1. Hi. I just read through your post about your day confinement nanny. I am looking for a day confinement nanny for my confinement next yr too, edd april.
    I had one too for my 1st kid earlier this yr, but I got her from pem and I didn’t ask for her contact no, so quite hard to contact her again, as I don’t wish to go back to agency due to the high cost!

    Can you share more about her with me?
    – how much does she charge?
    – is she a singaporean or malaysian?
    – does she help out with doing some chores? I basically need someone to cook for me, bathe baby, and help with some chores such as sweeping and mopping and laundry.
    – does she force you on certain confinement rules?
    – does she clean up the kitchen well after cooking?
    – what time does she come each day? my previous confinement nanny was really nice as she came early (830) and leaves after I finish my food (around 6pm).

    Sorry for the many questions, hope u can help me cuz its kinda tough finding a day nanny in Singapore, not to mention a good one. :p

    Thank you!

    1. Hi, just going to go straight into replying your questions.

      – You will have to call her to find out her charges. I got her through PEM, and I was her last assignment with the agency before she went freelance. If you do contact her, do tell her that you got her number from my website 🙂

      – She’s a Malaysian Chinese.

      – It depends on the agreement you have with her. You will have to bring up what you will require help in, and see if she’s ok with it. By the nature of her job as a confinement lady, she’s only supposed to care for you and the baby and immediately related things, like cooking confinement food, anything the baby needs (feeding, carrying, changing diapers, bathing) and washing of baby’s and your laundry is covered. As for cleaning of your floors, you will have to speak to her about it.

      – Similarly, you will have to tell her roughly how you want your confinement to be. She’s rather flexible about the rules. However, if you want to have a strict confinement, she will ensure that you follow the confinement rules.

      – She will do the basic cleaning up for the kitchen i.e. whatever she used, she will clean.

      – She usually arrives at my house between 8-8.30am even though she’s only supposed to reach at 9am. Sometimes, she will go to NTUC to buy and top up some things we’ve ran out on. She will leave at 6pm, but she has stayed till 8+pm once cos I went out and got stuck in a jam on the way back.

      I hope my answer has helped you 🙂

  2. Dear Mabel

    Could you email me your CN contact ? My edd is 28feb and I have not found 1 yet. Hopefully shes available.

    Much thanks!!

  3. Hi, chance upon your site. Can i know what is the rate like for the masseuse? also, roughly how long in advance to book? sorry, i didn’t had any masseuse for my first preg so don’t know how is it like, (any procedures etc) and now second one decide to do a proper one just like you. =)

    1. Hi Angelia,

      Thanks for stopping by! 😀

      I got my masseuse through an agent and paid a package deal so I have no idea how much her rate is. You might want to contact her (number is in the post) and check on her current rates. I booked at about halfway through my pregnancy, but I think as long as they are available, it shouldn’t be a problem.

      Wishing you a smooth delivery! 😀

  4. Hi Mabel did u give the confinement lady any ang bao before n after the confinement? If yes do u mind sharing the amount? Thanks

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for dropping by! Yes, I did give my confinement lady a red packet when she just started and when she left. I can’t quite remember how much I gave her exactly, but the first red packet was just a small gesture to pay for her cab fare down (less than $50), and the last packet was given based on how well I liked her (I think it was either $168 or $188). I don’t usually follow the market rates (who comes up with those things?!). I usually give based on how much I like the person, and how much I can afford at that given time 🙂

    1. Hi Eileen, yes, she does! In fact she only does stay-in confinement duties until she received my assignment request for daytime only. Hehe.

    1. Hi Eileen, ok! Ask if she remembers me! Hehe. It’s been a while since I last chatted with Aunty! And have a smooth pregnancy and enjoy couplehood now! 😀

  5. Hi Mabel, I just met up with auntie meiying yesterday and she is quite friendly. We chatted abt how I got to know her and she still rem yr name!! This is my 1st time getting a confinement lady, may I know if it is necessary to get a copy of her identification ie passport for verification purpose?
    Hope for yr advice. Thanks.

    1. Hi Sarah!

      So happy that Aunty still remember me! Hehe 😛

      The verification you’re referring to, is it for her work visa? I didn’t handle any of these cos I got her through the agency she was working at previously. She’s now freelancing, if I’m not wrong. I’m sure you can check with her what’s required cos she’s had many years of experience 🙂

      Have a smooth pregnancy! 😀

  6. Hi,
    my edd is in nov and i m looking for a CL. But I am not sure roughly how much does it cost me. hope that you can share with me as saw this thomson medical CL is at 2808(v ex). So i m wondering if that is my only option as others nv state their price. saw the one u wrote, so she is part time and how she charge, cos my husband dun like pple staying over in my hse…


    1. Hi Jiawei, I believe that’s the rough price of hiring a CL. For day time nanny, you will also have to pay for their transport to and fro your place and living accommodation as most of them are not local. The best is to call and ask for their prices as some periods are more expensive than others.

      As my CL, I got her through an agency. We spent about $5+K for 41 days, massage (different lady), taxes, transport, accommodation etc. However, she’s freelancing now, so it should be cheaper. Do give her a call to ask for her current rates 🙂

  7. Hi Mabel
    Read with interest on your massage experience. A good masseuse is indeed important. May I know if you reacted to the massage ingredients? I ask because i have sensitive skin and a few of my friends do share with me that somehow it will itch.
    Hope to hear from you. Thanks.

    1. Hi Rachel, thank you for dropping by!

      My skin is pretty sensitive too. Thankfully, I didn’t react too badly to the herbs. I could feel a little itch at certain times of the day (warmer and more humid days), but it was bearable. Most of the time, my stomach will be rather red by the time I unwrap it, but it is seldom uncomfortable, itchy or irritable. It feel quite nice on the whole for me.

      But different skin reacts differently, and different masseuse might use a different combination of herbs. To play safe, check with the masseuse if it’s possible to apply a little to test for reaction first.

      All the best! 😀

  8. Hi Mabel,
    I previously found this Auntie Mei Ying from your website and something disappointing happened so I thought I share this with you and others who are reading your blog.

    This Auntie Mei Ying just called 2 weeks ago and told me that she is unable to be my nanny and this came as a shock to me. She told me she is thinking of going back to Malaysia for her sister’s family wedding and asked if I can find another nanny. If ok, then she don’t want to be my nanny. She also told me that if I manage to find a replacement, don’t confirm the replacement first, but let her know so that she can confirm if she is really going back to Malaysia as she hasn’t bought her air-ticket. I find that she is being very selfish. In anycase, I took a lot of trouble finding a new nanny and even though she said she will also try to find one for me, she never did. I have to make a lot of calls to Malaysia and I am sure my hp bills will be very expensive. But the most important thing is I never manage to find a nanny as all the good ones are booked for Oct. In the end, I have to go to a confinement agency.

    Hence if anyone who wants to engage this Auntie Mei Ying, pls give it a careful thought. She is someone who doesn’t keep her promise even though she did collect the deposit from me.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for sharing with me and my readers your experience. I hope you told her how you felt, and that you managed to get the deposit back from her should you no longer want to engage her services. My impression of her was very different from yours, but I haven’t contacted her in a long time (over a year!), so I have no idea if she has changed as a person.

      I’m glad that you have managed to find a confinement nanny despite the circumstances and odds against you. Wishing you a smooth pregnancy and delivery! Stay happy and positive! 😀

  9. Hi! Not sure if u can read this, but I am also getting a day confinement for my first delivery next month. Worrying about nighttime baby care. Did u have any problems with ur babycare at night without CL?

    1. Hello Ivy! Sorry for the delay in reply. The notification failed on me 🙁

      With my CL helping out in the day, I actually get plenty of rest in the day. And when my husband returns home from work, he helps out in every single way he can. So the night shift was pretty manageable. It also helped that this is our second confinement, so we were prepared to not sleep at all. Thankfully, Nakayla was relatively cooperative. The cards somehow aligned itself for my second confinement.

      However, given my experience from my first confinement (Blake was colicky and hardly slept), I will suggest that you rest as much as you can in the day and leave whatever work you can to the CL. This way, you’ll have enough energy to care for baby at night!

      Congratulations on your upcoming birth and newborn’s arrival! 😀

  10. Hi Mabel, you are lucky she’s a great help to you. I got her for my confinement and she refused to do a number of things, such as washing my clothes, grocery shopping and sweeping/mopping of floor. This is despite the fact that she told us these would be part of her job scope when we first confirmed her. My elderly parents had to help out with those chores she didn’t want to do, and even had to wash and fold her clothes for her, and buy her meals. There was once my parents had to go to the hospital for medical review and couldn’t do marketing that day. She still refused to go down to buy grocery, even though the wet market was just downstairs. She would also order my mum (with mobility issues) to do things for her, e.g. fetch things for her, watch the stove for her while she watched tv in the living room.

    She complained daily. She wanted most things disposable so that there’s minimal washing, e.g. my undies, diapers, my breast pads. She grumbled daily when we used cloth diaper and nappy liner for baby due to sensitive skin. She insisted that cloth diaper would cause nappy rash, which is contrary to what our PD said. She ended up refusing to change out soiled diapers for at least 4hrs, claiming its normal for the cloth diapers to feel wet all the time. She was upset when baby fed anytime between 2 to 4pm, because it interrupted her supposedly nap time (she claimed this is standard resting hours for all CLs). When she felt tired, she would sleep at 8pm and left me to care for baby and myself. When she’s in a bad mood, she would handle my baby quite roughly or even shout loudly at baby. She would be unhappy if I overslept a mere 10mins and delayed my mealtime. I was stressed to the point I ended up having to do lots of things myself and losing sleep in the process.

    I endured as I thought she would perform better when she was well rested and we gave in to her most of the times, but we found her playing games on her hp and watching tv while we were busy with changing diapers and feeding baby, and she still complained she didn’t have enough sleep. During the last 2 weeks of my confinement, she coincidentally disappeared into the toilet whenever baby cried to be fed or soiled diapers to be changed. The frequency could be as high as 8 times per day. We literally cared for the baby ourselves without her help during this period.

    Of course, she has her merits. She made arrangements to come to Singapore earlier than expected as I delivered at 38 weeks and we pre-empted her upfront. She would consult mothers on food preferences and her cooked food were nice. She would save up on food to minimise wastage but she may serve you overnight food/rice. She would clean up pump parts and sterilise them each time after use, although she needed reminders to do so before the next pump session. She is also knowledgeable in breastfeeding and some confinement beliefs.

    We urge interested parties to consider carefully if you decide to still engage her. Its either you have a contract done to list her job scope (lest she goes back against her words) or take the risk. You may also want to be wary that she has the habit of eavesdropping and probing into your personal matters, and criticise your family members to different parties.

    Happy parenthood to all!

    1. Hi Jas, thank you for sharing! It’ll definitely help others who are interested in engaging her services. And yes, a contract is a definite necessary! It will really help to have everything written down in black and white, to safeguard everyone’s agreed interest.

      To be honest, I’m pretty shocked, because as my written account above, aunty was doing a great job for us when Nakayla was born (back in November 2012!). I’m not sure if her good working attitude then was because she was still under the contract of PEM agency. Or, because she’s only around in the day (8am – 6pm) with us, so things were different for us (she couldn’t possibly nap while on the job).

      I’m so sorry you had such an unpleasant time with her. I truly understand the amount of stress you must’ve been under during that period! I hope things are much better for you after confinement and that you’ll enjoy all the happiness bringing life into this world gives! 😀

      Thank you for sharing again! It’s very insightful 🙂

      1. Thanks! Yup she’s freelance now, not sure why the difference in work attitude. Hope you have a great motherhood journey!

  11. Dear mothers-to-be and Mabel
    I’m happy for u, Mabel, that you’ve had a good experience with this CN. You must have really connected well with her.
    To all mothers-to-be looking for a CN, I’m sure I’m not alone with my horrendous experience with the said CN and as I’m speaking, I have to do my confinement all by myself after suffering for 8 days with this nanny from hell in my loving household.
    In terms of baby care, her skills are really nothing to shout about as I watch her change and bathe my baby in a slip-shod manner. For those who are discerning, you will feel that she has no love for babies at all. Nada. Zilch.
    She loves to pry into our personal affairs and when I didn’t let her have her way, she would ask my domestic helper and gossip with her about us. When told off about this, the confinement nanny three major temper tantrums and even raised her voice at me and slammed things around in a bid to wake my kids up.
    Her only merit is her cooking which is quite good but I can get equal if not better quality cooking from a good caterer.
    This nanny is a fraud and if u must have her, don’t say you have not been warned.
    I had hesitated against putting up a negative post about her but felt that the only right thing to do is to stop fraudsters like her from killing the joy of being a mummy to a sweet newborn angel.
    Mabel, I do understand that you’ve had a good experience with this nanny. But it’s been 3 years since it happened and for some reason, things have changed. If u feel that to continue validating the merits of this nanny-from hell is the right thing to do, I urge you to please think twice for the good of others. Please feel free to contact me.

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us and I’m sorry to hear that it wasn’t a pleasant one. Your experience will be shared here, along with the others, so that anyone who wishes to engage her services will be able to make a better decision.

      I know that people can and will change with time. This is why I welcome all feedback from other mommies and publish all their experiences here (be it with the masseuse or the confinement nanny) so that anyone who’s keen on engaging them will be able to get better insights of the people they’re thinking of hiring. To ensure that others will read all the feedback posted, I will edit my original post to include the following, “Update 19/6/2016: For the benefit of new parents-to-be, kindly read the comments on this post as well for experiences shared by others to gain better insights of the confinement nanny and masseuse before engaging either of them for your confinement. Should you wish to share your own experience, feel free to leave a comment too.”

      Once again, I thank you for sharing your experience with us. It would be most helpful to future parents-to-be. I hope that you’ll be able to put this nightmare behind you and enjoy the rest of your confinement and the many years ahead with your little darlings 🙂

      1. Dear Mabel
        I really appreciate your kind gesture and prompt attention. Thank you for your well wishes too. 🙂

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