How to Plan for a DIY Confinement in Singapore?

I’m saying no to confinement nanny. Why?

A variety of reasons, really. If you are curious, or need some convincing or encouragement to embark on a DIY confinement, head to the end of this article for my reasons.

To do a DIY confinement, the best is to plan ahead and order/book in advance. Here are a few ways to make your DIY confinement easier:

  1. Cater Confinement Food
  2. Order Packaged Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Herbs  
  3. Get Family and Friends to help out (e.g. hubby/mother/mother-in-law)
  4. Engage Part Time Help for Housework
  5. Order Online Groceries or Food Deliveries (for caregivers)
  6. Enjoy Post-Partum Massage
  7. Take Newborn / Fresh 48 Photoshoot
  8. Read up on Newborn Care and Breastfeeding

1. Cater Confinement Food


If you want to do the typical Chinese 28-day confinement without cooking, the easiest way is to order from a confinement food caterer. Book early to enjoy early bird prices.

This is also a good option for those who only have mother or mother-in-law to help out. No need to go market for the ingredients. No need to clean the kitchen and wash the dishes. No need to worry about not getting enough nutrition. No need to endure bad cooking (if it arises).

Confinement meal is expensive, but the portion is huge! My hubby had to help me finish my food, and he ended up with a sore throat during my first confinement because of the heaty food. If you want to save some money, you can simply order lunch and keep a portion for dinner. But at the same time, I don’t really recommend this method because of food safety issue.

There are many caterers to choose from, so order trial meals and decide if you like what the caterer has to offer! For my first and second pregnancy, I went with Thomson Medical (“TMC”) during the first month and thereafter 14 days lunch with Tian Wei.

Did Thomson Baby deliver the same quality food the second round? Read about my experience in my review with TMC confinement food.

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2. Order TCM Herbs


Confinement herbs, coupled with well-balanced confinement food, are essential for the new mother to recuperate and regain vitality for her next pregnancy.

Thomson Medical

The mother needs to recuperate from her pregnancy, labour and delivery. Good health is important for caring for a newborn and breastfeeding. Also, I heard the mother’s constitution can be improved after good confinement care, and vice versa. This confinement period is usually 28 to 40 days. In fact, many practitioners of Chinese medicine think that 60 days is the best.

If you or your mothers are well-versed in Traditional Chinese Medicine (“TCM”) herbs, by all means buy the necessary herbs to portion out yourself. If not, the easy way to get the necessary herbal nourishment is to order TCM medication in the form of powder or pills from ThomsonBaby, and pre-packaged soup herbs from Madam Partum or other vendors.

Many vendors like Madam Partum also sell individually pre-packaged red dates tea and shower herbs for convenience’s sake.

I visited the TCM doctor at Thomson Medical (NUH Outlet) for consultation to embark on a 28-day course of customised TCM medication. And being a big believer of good confinement food, I went on to drink another month of confinement herbal soup with Madam Partum to nourish my weak body constitution.

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3. Get Family and Friends to Help


It’s best to rest as much as possible during the first month. So if you have no nanny, it’s best to get a family or friend, or your helper to help you out for a few hours each day for the following:

“Cooking”

  • Boil red dates every morning for you to drink throughout the day.
  • Boil herbs to shower before your shower time.
  • Boil herbal soup from pre-packaged sachets such as Madam Partum (if any).

Taking Care of Newborn

  • Bath the baby.
  • Change the diapers.
  • Bottle feed / Burp the baby.
  • Put baby to sleep.

Cleaning Up

  • Wash and sterilise the pump parts and bottles (if necessary).
  • Wash whatever that needs to be washed, such as utensils used during meal times.
  • Do laundry of mother and baby.
  • Other housework, which can be easily outsourced.

4. Part Time Help for Housework


Housework requires much time and effort, something you can’t really afford during confinement. So if you have no helper at home, the next best alternative is to engage a part time helper.

We’ve been using Helpling for quite a while now. Good thing about agency is that you can change the cleaner if you don’t like the current one. Downside, you have to re-train the new one on how to clean your house.

Choose 2.5, 3, or 4-hour timeslot for one time clean, weekly or fortnightly.

Apply this referral code and get 50% off your first recurring booking: aate56


5. Order from Online Groceries / Food Delivery


Remember you have the option to order food online. Be it to buy groceries to cook your confinement food, or to cook meals for your caregiver. There are Redmart, NTUC, and for fresh groceries in bulk, there’s Open Taste.

Alternatively, there’s food delivery to settle lunch and dinner for your caregiver – Grabfood, Food Panda, or Deliveroo.


6. Post-Partum Massage


Many of my mummy friends highly recommend postnatal massages. “Help to get rid of the bulge,” they said with a wink. Dig further, postnatal massage has lots more benefits. Coupled with tummy wrap, the massage helps to relax and heal the body, expel wind and to reduce swelling in the uterus. After my first postnatal massage, I realised the best part of it all is the breast massage to clear clogged milk ducts.

Book early to make sure you get yourself good massage therapist or to secure a slot at a reputable agency. You don’t want to be scurrying for one after birth. You might have a hard time to find a highly recommended one at the last minute.

I had a Malay massage lady for my first pregnancy, but this time, I engaged Madam Partum for my post-natal massage. I am a big fan of TCM tuina massage pre-pregnancy, so why not do this for my pre-partum and post-partum massages?

Madam Partum has an enticing package of S$1,799* that includes 10-day 90 minutes post-natal massage sessions, body sculpting corset and 28 days of pre-packed soup herbs, red dates tea and herbs for bathing. A package that covers most aspects of confinement care.

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7. Newborn / Fresh 48 Photoshoot


Capture memories of you and your newborn on camera and reminisce those photos when they grow up. Source for a photographer before you pop. That’s when you have the time to look through different photographers’ portfolio and decide who to go for, what style you like — studio or lifestyle photography. Newborn photoshoot is usually done when the baby is about two weeks old.

For our firstborn, we engaged Scintilla Studio. This time round we tried Fresh 48 Photography (“Fresh 48”) with Orange Studios. It is a special session for families who want to capture the first 24-48 hours of their newborn’s life, documenting precious first moments of your family meeting and holding your little one in your arms.

However with the coronavirus crisis looming around the birth of baby JBL, NUH visitor’s policy had many restrictions. We were unable to do a hospital photoshoot and in the end, Ryan photographed moments when the newborn first arrived home and when the sisters first met each other. 🙂

I love how the photos from Orange Studios turned out, capturing the beauty and realities of parenthood. Of how we were trying to settle the cranky, crying baby we so loved, managing the older child we hold dear to heart, and trying to settle back to home sweet home.

Read about our review and experience with Orange Studios.

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8. Read up on Newborn Care and Breastfeeding


Resounding Cries of Jubilee

When I was a first time mother, I read up and prepared a lot for the labour process, but not so much on the thereafter — newborn care, breastfeeding, and parenting. It’s like preparing much for the wedding and not the marriage. The priorities are misplaced, for the former is only for a day, but the latter, a lifetime.

It’s good to educate yourself and know the theory before the practical comes. Read up. Watch YouTube. Here’s a tip: Create a playlist of videos, such as bathing the newborn, changing the diapers or burping the baby. You can then easily refer to them when you need help after the baby is born.

Yet, no matter how well prepared you are, expect surprises. Different methods work on different babies. What works in theory might not work for your baby. And you will find out that certain methods suit you better than others. Listen to all the advice, but pray for wisdom to know which to take in. Give yourself time to trial and error and learn. There’s no perfect parent, so don’t be hard up on yourself. 🙂

Peaceful Joy

Why DIY Confinement?


Engaging a nanny is common in Singapore. Yet with a confinement nanny charging an average of S$3,000, it is still a luxury for some families. Bear in mind, this price does not include the ingredients for the confinement meals and herbal soups.

Moreover, with my plan to latch and breastfeed my newborn day and night, I foresee the nanny to have much free time. And not all nannies will help out with light housework during their downtime.

Hence, with my hubby on paternity leave to help out and not shake legs, I didn’t see the value for money in engaging a nanny. I got my hubby to help for my first pregnancy too. It’s trickier this time though because our toddler was only in childcare for half a day.

In any case, I am not used to a stranger living in my house and “ordering” me to do things. I believe the nanny has good tips for first time mothers, but not all nannies are updated with scientific research or have the best interest for the mummies and newborns. For example, some will insist on formula to stretch the baby’s sleeping time, rather than sacrifice their own sleep for the benefit of the baby. Moreover, I foresaw hormones making me extra sensitive and prickly during the first month post-birth. I wouldn’t be able to survive horror stories I heard of nannies.

For first time parents contemplating DIY Confinement, you might have a lot of naysayers. Press on! DIY confinement is hard in the beginning, but you will survive. We all learn. Even those with confinement nanny struggle after the nanny leaves. Remember, things will get better after the first few weeks. You will eventually get the hang of it.

However, if you have no family members or friends to help you out, I would suggest a nanny so you can catch some rest. You do need to rest your body after childbirth, especially for c-sect mummies.

That’s all parents! Enjoy the process. Parenting is for a lifetime. 🙂



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