Hiring a confinement nanny while you are pregnant is quite a common item on the never-ending to-do list of a mum-to-be. My husband and I definitely did consider having a confinement nanny but we decided to do without and here’s why and how!
2 years later, we didn’t regret our decision at all, and we will probably still do it for our second child too.
Disclaimer: This is my own personal confinement journey and is in no way sponsored by the brands and groups mentioned in the article.
Do We Need a Confinement Nanny?
Not having a confinement nanny is definitely not easy. I feel that in order to do confinement without one meant that you needed:
- personal experience taking care of babies (newborns especially!!)
- an ingredients manager
- a competent, capable and available other half
- A LOT of support from your family and friends
- a strong will to learn and adapt (surprises, everyday!)
Reasons for Not Hiring a Nanny
Personal Experience Taking Care of Babies
A confinement nanny is an expert (I would think so!) in taking care of newborns in their first month and they can and will pass down valuable insight into care taking. They may even be able to help you with breastfeeding. Hence, in order to do without a nanny, it would mean that you needed to know these “insights” ahead of time and would not need that additional advice.
I was lucky to be the youngest in my family and was given the opportunity to watch my siblings’ kids grow up. As a busybody, I was observing how my sisters’ kids were taken care of, and had the chance to “practise” on my brother’s kids. Thankfully, they are still alive, haha!
Although I did not try a hand at everything, I had a rough idea of how to take care of a newborn. I would not say that having watched or practised these crucial care skills were sufficient to be able to handle your own. However, I would say that it definitely gave me the confidence to “feel” like I may be able to take care of my own. But who am I kidding right? Of course, taking care of your own is a whole new ball game!
I had to figure out and do many things on my own – showering a baby, swaddling a baby (never got great at it, but thankfully my dear girl hated it too), feeding, changing diapers, etc etc. The learning curve is so steep and I am thankful for my fellow mommy friends, who helped me along the way. They were my “nannies” :”)
A confinement nanny does the marketing for you, and cooks for you. That is one of the main reasons why people hire a nanny – to cook delicious and nutritious food for you to recover well during your early postpartum days.
For most nannies, all you needed to do was to show them the market, give them the money and they would purchase the items for you. But of course, there are some nannies who would give you a list of items that they need and you would go hunting for those items on your own.
As a result, you need support from someone, who knows the food that you need for your meals. In my case, it was my lovely mom. Not only did she know the food needed for my confinement, she also knew how to cook certain confinement food that was more difficult to cook e.g. pig trotters (I LOVE THEM!).
Every few days, my mum would do the marketing, label each meat properly, portion them nicely for each meal, and pass it to my husband. In that way, my husband would easily know what to cook for the day. My mum also gave him a “crash course” and taught him how to prepare certain foods and how to cook them. Aren’t they the perfect duo?!
Was it easy? Definitely not. Prior to giving birth, we would go shopping to look for confinement food stuff e.g. spices needed for the soup (we bought the first 14-day plan from Hockhua Tonic and subsequently, my mum picked her own spices for me to cook soup for the next 14 days), dates for red date drink etc etc.
This was truly taxing on my mum, who isn’t getting younger anymore so I am really thankful for her help because honestly, without her, I wouldn’t know how to do this!! Perhaps for my second child onwards, I would probably consider ordering confinement food instead to free up the stress and preparation from my mum and also, the need for my husband to cook food for me daily. That leads to my next point…
A Competent, Capable and Available Half
You might think that cooking is made easy now because of the prepared food from my mother, but have you thought about the actual cooking and cleaning up time!? We were staying in a small 1-bedder with a small kitchen and cooking was so tough with the limited space. Thinking back… I have no idea how he did it!
Not only did he take the night duties alongside me, he had to prepare red dates drink every night, cook 3 meals a day (we ending up ordering a more atas tingkat service for dinner to free up his time), clean up the house (not our priority at all *cue messy house pics* as our baby is top priority) and be there for mommy and daughter. He would prepare a cup of warm red dates tea and music for me to relax while breastfeeding :”)
Watching him do everything at home like a superman already made me feel so tired for him, and he had to stay strong for both the girls at home. I recall the day when he had a bad headache, and we felt like the world was crashing down on us as he was down the whole day!
I also recall watching him mop the floor, clean the toilet and the kitchen while I was breastfeeding and I started wailing like a baby. Oh, did I mention about the intense hormones that would leave me crying out of happiness from watching my baby latching successfully? Haha! Yes, so these hormones were guilty of making me weep from gratitude, having my husband do everything.
How did he do it? I have no idea. Some nights when our daughter decides to party rock with us, he can even crack a joke saying, “Imagine if we had a nanny, we would miss this valuable time to coax and comfort our baby”. My goodness, at that point in time I just wanted to punch him as I’m so tired and he could tell me something like this. But of course, he held his end of the promise and managed to make our daughter go to sleep while I was resting on the bed watching him do so :”)
After 2 weeks of paternity leave, he managed to take leave here and there to help me with my confinement. However, there were definitely some days when I had to SOS and call my mother down to cook for me while I handled our daughter 🙂
A Lot of Support from Family and Friends
I was very blessed with very hands-on in-laws who popped by almost every day to help with everything – household chores (yes my in-laws love vacuuming the floor, super cute pair), entertaining the baby (they’re so good at entertaining her!), changing baby, feeding baby (I did a mix of latching and bottle feeding) and etc. They took a huge load off our shoulders and helped us so much.
Also, my family and friends also came over to help with my daughter, mainly entertaining her when needed and feeding her as well!
It helped to have people over to lift my spirits up and also, to just chat about motherhood in general. Of course, it’s also good to have time alone as entertaining guests can get very tiring as well. But in my opinion, it helps with your mood when you have the right people coming over to help :”)
A Strong Will to Learn and Adapt
Without a confinement nanny meant not having immediate advice nor help when needed. I found myself struggling with breastfeeding and bottle feeding (milk storage), baby sleeping etc. I was thankful to have mommy friends who could advise me whenever I texted them and these advice were invaluable. I felt that they were my cheat sheet to succeeding in the 4th trimester!
Things will always change along the way and I found myself shopee-ing a lot at the start when I realised I didn’t have this nor that! For example, I panicked when I realised my daughter could no longer fit into the purple bathtub (a pail to be exact) given by TMC and had to ask friends for suggestions for bathtubs and quickly bought 1 online! It was tough because there were so many options out there and being a cheapo mommy, I refused to pay for brands as I believe there are other products out there which work exactly the same way!
Also, I learnt many things the hard way – for example, losing sleep as I was always washing my milk bottles and pump parts every 3 hours. My mommy friend then suggested having 2 sets of pump parts so I only needed to wash every 6 hours. Such advice would probably be given by my confinement nanny (if I had one) or my nanny would probably be washing for me as well.
Hence, I had to learn and adapt many times along the way!
How I Benefited from Not Having a Nanny
Becoming Super Hands-on
Without a nanny, we had to do almost everything ourselves and that meant being super hands-on, with caregiving help, and learning how to deal with whatever is thrown at us. As a result, we spent lots of quality time with our daughter. Without a nanny, there wasn’t this fear that we would feel lost after a month because we have already been learning to cope with a newborn in the house.
Quality Bonding With my Family and Friends
As our family and friends know that we are doing confinement without a nanny, they found time in their busy schedules to visit frequently. I was very thankful that I had very accommodating and adaptable in-laws, parents and friends, who were very open to how we chose to parent my daughter. As a result, there was barely any conflict, and it was truly very comforting to have them around.
Problems I Faced Without a Nanny
Not Having Immediate Advice/Help
As a first-time mom, there were many problems I faced, e.g. breastfeeding, baby sleeping etc, and I didn’t know what to do. It took several hours googling, and texting mommy friends, to perhaps find a method that could work for my baby.
Moreover, without a nanny, we had to take the night shift ourselves, and I feel that probably is the only thing that made us feel very tired in the day. To fight the fatigue, I tried my best to also take naps when my baby is taking naps too. Perhaps with a nanny, they will take the night shifts for you so you could rest adequately.
My concern with that would then be – would the confinement nanny be creating certain habits that you probably can’t cope with after the nanny leaves? For example, carrying the baby to sleep at night or using sleep props such as ‘yao-lan’.
Did I Regret Not Getting a Nanny?
Seeing my husband being so tired, yes, but…… There are so many more pros to it!
I felt that we became so so so close to our daughter and learnt her quirks and “pattern” quickly because um, we had no choice right? So, we did not feel the sudden loss after one month and instead, felt much more equipped to take care of our daughter ourselves.
Would I Hire a Nanny for My 2nd Kid?
Probably not, but I would love to spend a bit more on confinement food (this gets me so excited!!!) so my husband need not cook, and my mother need not prepare any ingredients for me. I feel that with the confinement food taken care of, we would then have more time to focus on the newborn and my firstborn :”)