A confinement lady is a person that has experience as a mother or has done a specialized course on how to take care of both new mothers and newborn babies as a profession. She would be there to provide tips and assurance to new first-time parents but also assist with tasks for the mother to recover fast and healthy. They are usually employed to stay with the mothers in their homes during their confinement period after childbirth.
Having a confinement lady after childbirth has come from the practice in many Asian countries if the families are able to afford it. Alternatively, the new mother’s own mother or mother-in-law would usually help with the confinement period as well. In the Chinese culture, postnatal confinement usually has a long list of traditional practices that are specially tailored for new mothers to recover well after delivery. It is also important that new mothers do not overly exert themselves hence the need to hire confinement ladies to take care of both mother and newborn.
With the Chinese confinement period, the entire duration usually lasts for roughly a month but sometimes more depending on the mother’s health condition. The nannies are booked well in advance and are usually available to the families right after the mothers give birth.
There are different types of confinement ladies and confinement centres available, but most mothers prefer to hire stay-in nannies that come to their home and stay with them the entire confinement period as they feel more comfortable. Apart from that, there are also confinement ladies that only come in the day during working hours or nighttime confinement lady that usually works from 9 pm to 8 am. It is good to research and consult with your partner to see what type of confinement lady would be the best fit for you and your newborn after your delivery.
Having a better understanding of what confinement does, a good place to start is by understanding what their roles are and how they will be able to support you during your postnatal recovery. From there, you will be able to understand more, how to find one and how to manage the cost of hiring one if you and your partner would like to hire one.
Roles & Duties of A Confinement Lady
A confinement lady helps new mothers to care for their newborns during their confinement period. This extra help will be extremely important as it helps the mother transition from her pregnancy period to post-delivery where the new mothers will need plenty of rest as well as nutritious and well-balanced meals every day.
If this will be the parent’s first baby, there will be so many things that they may not know when handling their newborn. The confinement lady is there to help you learn and assist you in whatever situations may arise with your newborn and how to combat it. A good tip to remember is to make the most out of this confinement period as it is vital for both the health and well-being of the mother and her newborn.
These are some of the simpler roles the confinement lady will assist the new mother in doing, although there are many many more roles she does when with you!
Bathing a newborn baby
Many mothers are more comfortable caring for their newborns when they’re happy but are unsure on how to properly bathe them. Most babies do not like getting wiped with a wet cloth and will protest even more if you try to strip them down and try to place them in an infant tub. Newborns will scream and wail as their form of protesting which can bring many mothers to tears.
Having a confinement lady means knowing how to give the newborn baby their first bath with the least amount of protest from them. Also, the nannies will be there calming the nervous mother down and assuring her that the wailing from the baby is normal and will stop soon. The new mothers will also be able to learn from the confinement lady which way is best to soothe her baby and enjoy the happiness and peace once the baby becomes clean, warm and dry ready to have their nap.
Developing a healthy feeding schedule for both mother and baby
This would definitely be one of the more difficult aspects of caring for a newborn between knowing the baby is crying because they need to be fed or because something else might be wrong. Do you offer a bottle just because they’re crying to ensure they’re not hungry? How does one know the baby is getting enough nourishment? This is what a confinement lady would be able to assist you with! They will work with both the new mother and baby to develop a feeding schedule that ensures the baby is healthy and satisfied whilst giving the mother time to rest as well. Resting is extremely important for the new mother if she is breastfeeding.
Training the baby to sleep throughout the night
Sooner or later, the baby will need to learn how to sleep on their own when it’s dark and wake up when it’s light out. This will be extremely beneficial for the mothers to have the confinement lady onboard long enough so that they’ll be able to teach you and your newborn how to sleep throughout the night and adjust to their daily schedule. If the confinement lady will not be with you long enough for this, remember to ask them for tips on how to get the baby to sleep throughout the night!
Proper diaper and clothes changing routine
Some new mothers often worry about how to change the baby’s diapers and when is the appropriate time to do so. Whether or not if they’re changing their diapers too often and wasting them or changing not often enough causes diaper rash. Some new mothers also experience some sort of anxiety when changing the baby’s clothes as many newborns hate it and will scream throughout the entire process. Having a good confinement lady will teach you the best and most comfortable strategy at all times for the newborn.
How to eat healthy so your breast milk is healthy for the baby.
Having a confinement lady means that they can ensure the new mother is consuming a well-balanced and healthy diet so if she has opted to breastfeed, the proper nutrients can be passed to the baby through her milk. This would ultimately be another hard task during the new mother’s confinement period. Not only can first-time mothers reap its benefits from confinement ladies, but established parents are able to benefit from them as well. Having additional help in your home is never a bad thing for mothers during their confinement period. Established parents can also get the chance of obtaining new information or techniques that can be used to help raise your baby.
With a confinement lady, the new mothers can speed up their recovery by resting as much as possible, improving the bond between your newborn and spouse with spending your time on what matters.
Benefits of hiring a confinement lady
Did you know approximately 79% of women have experienced some sort of mum guilt? It is not uncommon for new mothers to put an extreme amount of pressure on themselves to do the best they can for their newborn but putting too much can affect your health and the bond between mother and baby. Sometimes with the pressure a mother puts on themselves along with the hormonal changes the body goes through can spiral into postnatal depression. It is important that new mothers don’t compromise on their self-care and self-fulfilment. Going out for some me-time is vital during this period. Remember, getting uninterrupted rest, a nourishing meal or personal grooming doesn’t make you a bad mother or a guilty indulgence!
Although a confinement lady will only be around during your confinement period of typically 28 days, the number of helpful tips and advice you’ll receive from her will benefit you and your newborn for many years to come! Not only will their guides become extremely helpful for first-time mothers on how to care for their newborn, but they’ll also teach the mothers that taking care of themselves is equally as important.
When hiring a confinement lady to live in your home during your confinement period, you are subjecting your newborn to 24hours of baby care available to you both. Your newborn will require extra care and attention the first month after birth but remember, so does your body after delivering! Having a confinement lady means you are able to rest and have the best care around the clock. She will be able to help you with both day and nighttime feeding, diaper changing, bathing your baby, and keeping track of your baby’s feeding log.
Mothers will need sufficient nutrients and a well-balanced meal for their bodies to recover. If you are planning to breastfeed your newborn, your confinement lady will prepare properly cooked nutritious foods every day for the new mother throughout the entire month. Most confinement ladies will also do the basic cleaning in the kitchen after preparing your meals as well.
If mothers have decided to breastfeed their newborn, your milk will be the best source of nutrition they’ll get to ensure they will grow healthily. Most confinement ladies available to employ are professionally trained to support and guide the new mother on their breastfeeding journey.
Depending on the type of confinement lady you hire (whether Malay, Chinese or Indian) your lady will be brewing some herbal tonics and teas daily to help the new mother’s body recover. Many of these nourishing ingredients your confinement lady will prepare for you are effective in helping you improve your immune system.
Again with hiring a more traditional confinement lady, they will also be preparing what is called, a ‘confinement herbal bath’ to help speed up your recovery. Indian, Malay and Chinese confinement ladies prepare different herbs and leaves for these baths but they all aim to do the same thing which is help dispelling any wind, improving blood circulation, easing birth pains and relaxing.
Many confinement ladies will help keep your home clean and organised, doing your baby’s laundry and basic domestic chores. She will usually help wash, hang and fold the clothes along with sweeping and mopping the floors.
Confinement lady’s function as a dedicated caregiver whose role is to lend an extra pair of hands to help the new parents with the baby’s baths, diaper changes, bottle feeds and offer infant care tips for the new parents.
They will also tend to the needs of the new mother from preparing her food and teas, herbal baths, and assisting her during the confinement period. Allowing the new mother to rest as much as possible to avoid severe sleep deprivation that usually happens with a newborn so that her body is able to heal after giving birth.
Reasons why you need a confinement lady
The new mother will be able to rest and sleep with peace of mind knowing that somebody will be constantly looking after her newborn during this period. Having to deal with various changes both physically and mentally, will most often cause the new mother some anxiety. Not only will the confinement lady look after your newborn but also provide additional support to the new mother with coping with the new changes and easing them into the reality of motherhood.
Newborns are not able to sleep easily for long periods of time instead of preferring to sleep in shorter periods. This will often cause undue stress for the mothers as they will require rest as well to regain their strength and produce enough breast milk for feeding. Confinement ladies are there to take care of their baby while the mother gets some uninterrupted sleep. Ensuring the new mother is getting enough rest and sleep as the fluctuation of hormones that occur in her body after delivering will increase the risk of them suffering from postpartum depression. Developing this will deeply affect how the new mother bonds with her newborn.
Having a confinement lady reduces the risk of such situations happening as both mother and newborn will be well taken care of during the confinement period. The lady will ensure the mother gets the rest she needs and also helps answer any questions she may have and keep her company whilst the husband may be working.
For families that have other children, a lady may be the best solution as she will be there to help you care for both newborn and also the other children. This is one of the many extra services a confinement lady can bring value to when you have other children as they can care for your newborn as well as your other kids until the mother gains more strength to manage by herself.
Challenges of hiring confinement lady
The first and most important challenge when hiring a confinement lady that families face is how expensive it will end up costing. The going rate will cost as much as an entire month’s salary or more not including red packets given at the start and the end of the employment and cost of confinement food and herbs. Also, since the confinement lady will be living in your home during this period, a room of their own would be needed as well on top of that another mouth to feed. Hiring a confinement lady can often not be afforded by many families due to the hefty price it brings with it.
A tip though if you are looking to hire a confinement lady is research the moment you’ve decided when you’ve found out about your pregnancy and book them as soon as possible. This is a top tip from experienced mothers who are not able to book their first choice because they’ve been booked up months and months ahead.
Another top tip is even though you may have heard from your friends or family members about a freelance confinement lady who is amazing, most of the time they are highly unregulated with no form of certification. In Singapore, a famous actor had shared publicly that the confinement lady he and his wife hired was cutting the teats of the baby’s newborn so that the baby would drink milk faster. This resulted in causing his one week old baby from overfeeding and having a lung infection.
Parents looking into hiring a confinement lady are able to do so easily online. Reading parent forums, approaching confinement agencies, and even through other confinement ladies. From your collected research, you’ll then be able to compare the costing from hiring through an agency and hiring directly from the nannies themselves. Confinement ladies’ prices will usually depend on their experience, language is spoken, meals, and how many babies they are needed to look after (if you’ve had twins or triplets).
Is it a must to hire a confinement lady?
Mothers decide on whether or not to hire a confinement lady based on various reasons. The first one is how much support they have around them. If the new mother already has a strong support system with a helper at home, their own mothers or mother-in-law offering to stay with them during their confinement period, they may find that they have no reason to hire a confinement lady.
The answer to whether it is a must to hire a confinement lady is optional and really boils down to you and your partner. If you are wondering whether or not hiring a confinement lady makes your life much easier with a newborn, then the answer is yes. Opting to hire one will make your confinement period much easier and more enjoyable and relaxing. Bringing a newborn home increases chores and errands significantly and can sometimes be harder to manage.
If you are a first-time mum, having a confinement lady around helps you to learn so many tips and increases your knowledge on how to care for your newborn. Being a first time mum, you may not know how to breastfeed, burp and bathe your newborn. With a confinement lady around, she is able to teach you the tips and tricks on how to do these and is able to help whilst you rest more importantly.
In conclusion, having the support of a professionally trained confinement lady after your delivery will help tremendously with your recovery and the well-being of your baby. Just make sure you discuss your options with your partner first and do thorough research.