On 24th June, our bundle of joy was born!
When you have just undergone the birth of a tiny human (especially since you grew this human from just a zygote for nine months), your body needs plenty of time and rest to recover. During this period, confinement is crucial and a confinement nanny is a godsend.
During my first confinement ( after Le was born), I did not fully comprehend the importance of rest despite being reminded repeatedly to do so (by my then-nanny). It took me forever to recover and I felt repercussions in my body long after. This time round, I vowed to myself that I am going to rest all I can.
I engaged PEM confinement nannies for both my confinements. I have heard too many nightmares about freelance nannies going MIA or having nasty habits that I thought going through an agency would be the safest bet. With PEM, I never have to worry about my nanny not showing up or having a nanny whose personality clashes with mine (you are allowed to switch nannies should your first one be unsatisfactory). With my previous experience with PEM two years ago being extremely pleasant, it was a no brainer.
This is my PEM confinement review for this round.
I got Auntie Ying (Number 661) as my nanny this time. She got down to work quickly upon reaching, making red date tea and preparing for the meals to come. She was extremely organised and efficient! By the end of the first day, she had also completed all the basic housekeeping and discussed with us the arrangements for our second born, Xin. First impression counts and she definitely nailed it.
For the next few weeks, Auntie Ying proved to be very adaptable and fitted into our household well. She respected our schedule and worked around it. For instance, since Le’s bedtime is at 7 pm (and I would be in the room with him reading books till 8 plus), she would have our dinner ready by 6 so that I may eat first.
She also whipped up the most amazing Chinese confinement food customised to our palate (we requested for less salt), all of which were garnished as if they were served in a restaurant. We could tell she was passionate about cooking and it always made her happy that we wiped the plates clean!
My priority this time was to focus on transitioning Le and she was able to support me in my goal. For instance, I was adamant about continuing to be the one to send Le to school because I did not want him to think that mei mei is stealing my attention from him. Since Day One after my discharge, I was already out and about, something stricter nannies might frown upon. Auntie Ying, on the other hand, was completely understanding, and she kept reminding me to rest each time I got home. If I was nursing Xin in the middle of the night and Le cried for Mama in the bedroom, she would rush to take over Xin from me (sometimes she might have to ‘top up’ the feed because Xin was not done nursing) so that I could tend to Le immediately. I really appreciate Auntie Ying’s open-mindedness.
Armed with many years of experience, Auntie Ying also kept reassuring me that Le’s (mis)behaviour was normal and that he simply needed time. She shared with me the cases she had been through and reminded me to be patient. In a period when fatigue and hormones can be overwhelming, Auntie Ying’s optimism and encouragement was much needed.
We gave Auntie Ying much autonomy in caring for Xin as we busied ourselves with Le. Even so, Auntie Ying was meticulous and kept us updated on her feeds, sleeping patterns and bowel movements. This made me a wee bit better since I had not been able to be with Xin as much as I would like. Not to mention she was such a pro at cup-feeding! After my experience with Le’s nipple confusion, I was strict with my no-bottle rule which she respected and agreed with. She did suggest giving Xin a bottle a day starting from the third week. We took up her suggestion and now Xin could both latch and bottle-feed!
Auntie Ying was also very pro-breastfeeding, with Xin’s best interests in mind. While we supplemented with formula for the first two weeks, Xin became on total breastmilk eventually. With Auntie Ying’s guidance, I even managed to keep a small back-up stash of breastmilk in my freezer!
Nearing the end of my confinement, both K and I felt that we were not ready to take on both kids on our own, and we extended Auntie Ying for another month! It was the best decision ever.
Over the eight weeks spent with Auntie Ying, we established a close bond. We often strike up candid conversations on quiet afternoons after Le has left for school and Xin was down for her nap, talking about her own family, my pregnancy experience, about working mothers, kitchenware recommendations and just about anything under the sun. Auntie Ying gave me much advice but was never intrusive. It feels almost natural that she was living in our home.
Le loves Auntie Ying too as she made him pancakes and sandwiches, something we were too lazy to do ourselves and had never done so. Whenever she made me red bean soup, she would leave a small bowl aside for him too. Her initiative to interact with Le warmed my heart. In fact, Le started addressing us as a family of five!
At the end of eight weeks, I remember Auntie Ying telling me it had been a long time since she carried such a weighty baby since confinements usually last only a month. She was beaming with pride as she said that.
It was such a mishmash of emotions in the period leading up to Auntie Ying’s departure. While we were worried how the dynamics of the household would change, we were also excited to take on our new roles proper and foster an even deeper bond with our daughter. I knew I would miss the companionship and the luxury of having chores done without lifting a finger, but I also looked forward to reorganising the home and spending long moments cradling Xin in my arms, looking into her eyes.
The day after Auntie Ying left, she texted me (we exchange contacts) to check me how Xin had been the night before. She had told me she was worried about leaving because Xin had just had her vaccination and might be fussier than usual, but I certainly had not expected her to reach out to me! We still chat every now and then. I would send her updated photos of Le and Xin, to which she always return a voice message. I could always sense the genuine concern she has for our family in her voice.
I don’t think any amount of words can sufficiently express my gratitude towards PEM, and especially towards Auntie Ying for her care and support during my confinement. If I were to have a third kid, I would definitely love to have her with us again! But for now, if anyone needs a recommendation on confinement nannies I highly HIGHLY recommend Auntie Ying (Number 661) from PEM. I have nothing but good praises for her, and I’m sure anyone will too!