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A nightmare confinement lady

In chinese culture, it is very common that after the mother gives birth, she hires a confinement lady to help her with the household duties, especially to take care of the newborn since new mothers may not know how to handle a newborn. Plus, after 9 months of pregnancy and delivery, it is important for mothers to fully recuperate. I believe in many other cultures too, mothers have to adhere to the do’s and don’t’s such as not allowed to take bath, wash hair..etc..etc though honestly…I never really followed the “dos and don’ts” !

Anyway, like any other new mothers, I engaged a confinement lady from an agency which I sourced from the net. I thought engaging one through an agency gives me some sort of security, meaning to say, should my engagement lady did a bad job, I could ask the agency to send me a replacement.

So on the day that I was discharged from the hospital, my husband went to the agency to pick up the confinement lady, lets just call her CL and brought her over to the hospital. I felt that she appeared to be pretty experience from the way she spoke of her past jobs but it turned out, I was so wrong! I think any experience confinement lady should know that when a newborn is fed with formula milk brand A, the newborn will have to stick on with that brand at least until she reaches +/- 6 months. It frustrates me so much also because while I was trying to BF my baby, CL kept sitting in front of me, saying my flow is not good and that I shouldn’t waste any more time to BF. Being vulnerable and miserable, I gave in to her and told her to mix the formula milk for my newborn. Little did I know that she took the milk formula given complimentary by my agency to feed my newborn. I am aware that she knew the hospital has given me a sample pack of the formula milk that they have been feeding my newborn since day 1 because at the time the nurse was briefing me, she was there…observing and listening. And the nurse highlighted to us that we must feed her with this formula milk only. What I didn't know was, she took the agency's complimentary milk formula to feed my baby. I became worried because my newborn was not able to sleep the whole night and sometimes I even hear her whining softly. My poor baby. When I asked CL why isn't my baby asleep and why is she so restless, as if in pain. She said.. oh it’s normal for newborn to behave that way.

With no sleep the night before, I brought my baby back to the hospital first thing in the morning. Immediately the nurses asked me.. which formula milk did I feed her with and when I checked with the CL, she said.. Oh, I gave her the milk that my agency gave you. I could have strangled her. Really! Because of her ignorance, my baby had a tummy upset and that's not good for a newborn!! That explains her sleepless night. I think she knew that I was not happy with her and so she decided to quit, giving an excuse that she got hurt while running up & down from the staircase in my home. Fine. In fact, I suspected too that she was not happy for the fact that I insisted to sleep in the same room with my baby and with her. (Normally, CL sleeps in the same room with the baby only) Oh well, the agency sent a 2nd CL the following day.

2nd CL seems pretty good. Of course, having a stranger in your home, both parties must give in and learn to adapt each other’s method and we understood that. There were a lot of teachings and learning from both sides. But my husband and I have come to a conclusion to take turns to take care of our baby and CL only needs to cook and clean for me. I have no choice because CL had a sensitive nose and can you imagine, while feeding my baby, she blows her nose? It’s damn disgusting. Not to mention too, she farts a lot in the night. So much that I had to ask her to sleep on her own, in a separate room. Yup, a room all for herself. So anyway, 2 weeks passed. On the 3rd week, I decided to visit my kitchen. (You see, supposedly, I am only allowed to stay in the room with my baby and not allowed to climb the stairs for at least a month) To my horror, I discovered my kitchen cabinet was full of ants, you name it. red ants, black ants, small & big ants..! My wok was not washed and the oil had hardened. My stove was oily and dirty and when I checked the back of my stove.. I nearly fainted. I saw bits of garlic, strands of vegetables and lots of other stuffs there.. I really believe that the whole kitchen was not cleaned and mopped since the 1st day she started. I was so furious! I questioned her and like a kelam kabut chicken, she ran here and there trying to organize everything back to order. Eventually I found out too that she lied to me on a few things. You see, I love to eat brown rice but I had to stop eating because CL the 2nd told me it’s not good for me to eat since I just delivered. So like bodoh (stupid) I listened to her. This time when I pressed her again for the real reason for not cooking brown rice for me, she told me it is because she didn’t like to eat brown rice! Can you believe it ?? I also found out from my husband that she has been lepaking, sometimes even lie down on our couch, eating kuachis while watching her 3pm hokkien drama series every afternoon! But she is smart. She asked my husband's permission first and my husband felt that it was hard to say NO because things like that, you shouldn't even ask in the first place!

In the end, I called up the agency and said I want to terminate the service but I hold back my anger and just told the agency, we do not need her anymore. Of course there was no refund. Besides, as much as I am angry at her, I don’t have the heart to cut off her pay since in the beginning she had told me once never to send her back home earlier than 1 month, otherwise her neighbours will laugh at her. In a way, I do feel sorry for her if at all that is true. And according to the Chinese customs, we have to give her a red packet when she leaves. I gave her only 50 bucks considering that she still gets the final week pay even though for not doing anything. And do you know what she did? As soon as she got into the cab, she called my husband, asking him why did he gave her only 50 bucks and not more? Seriously, this is what you call thick skinned.

Finally, I made it a point to voice out my frustration to the agency. It was a nightmare, really. Instead of being spare from doing household work for that month, ended up I had more to do just to clean up her mess and honestly, to engage a CL like that for 3k ++... is really not worth it at all! I am never going to engage another CL again. Never!


  1. Take care!
    Hard to find a good confinement lady..

    It is tough when you handle the baby yourself, keep calm and all will be fine.

    All the best! =)

  2. hi hong wei.. thanks for the encouragement. actually im fine now :) it was hard in the beginning but i managed to pull it through, with the support from friends and families. :) in fact i think i can be a better confinement lady! anyone wants to hire me? lol Except for... i cant cook that sort of traditional meals.. blekkk

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