Confinement nannies are a big part of Chinese culture. But what exactly is a confinement nanny? And do you really need one? Here, we delve into this long-held tradition, covering everything from what to expect during the confinement period to what’s included in a confinement nanny’s duties and the typical confinement nanny cost.
What is Confinement?
Confinement or 坐月子 (zuo yue zi), translating literally to “sitting the moon”, is a traditional practice where a woman will remain indoors for a period of time to recover from pregnancy, labour and child delivery.
After giving birth, the Chinese believe that a woman’s strength is weakened and therefore more susceptible to illness. In order to restore it, new mothers are expected to adopt a new day-to-day routine to aid recovery. Some women will even hire a confinement nanny to provide support throughout this time.
- Full rest and recuperation for both mother and baby
- Allow for the woman’s reproductive organs to recover
- Special “confinement foods” are made to provide nourishment and facilitate the production of breast milk
- To protect against common ailments associated with post-delivery
How Long is the Confinement Period?
Starting from childbirth, the confinement period lasts anywhere from one month up to 100 days. The length of time is often dependent on whether the mother has had a natural birth or Caesarean and her rate of recovery. The most common amount of time to do confinement is around six weeks to ensure that the new mother receives adequate rest and recuperation.
Confinement Do’s and Don’ts:
With confinement comes a list of rules that are designed to encourage recovery and protect the mother and baby from discomfort. New mothers are instructed to abide by the following rules in order to maximise the amount of recovery during the period.
- No showering
- No air conditioning
- No strenuous exercise
- No house cleaning or chores
- No going outside
- No raw food or food cooked the previous day
- No spicy or salty food
- No sexual intercourse
- Get adequate rest
- Drink plenty of herbal remedies
- Eat lots of chicken, ginger and sesame oil
- Do light exercise to promote well-being and rebuild strength
Get a more in-depth look at the various confinement rules here.
What is a Confinement Nanny?
A confinement nanny, also known as confinement lady, maternity nurse or “pui yuet” (Cantonese for night nurse) is a woman experienced in the skill of post delivery care and newborn babies. Usually employed throughout the entire month, she may live with you or work during the day or night to complete a number of confinement nanny duties.
- Provide nourishing meals and herbal remedies
- Instill a feeding and napping routine for the baby
- Ease transition to motherhood and provide emotional support (to protect against postnatal depression)
- Assist you whilst breastfeeding and getting your baby to latch on
- Perform general house chores
- Give advice about newborns and infant care
What Are Some Confinement Foods?
- Leafy Vegetables
- Pork Livers
- Dairy Products
- Chinese Rice Wine
How Much Does it Cost to Have a Confinement Nanny?
The cost of hiring a confinement nanny can vary depending on the type of service they provide. Hiring a nanny that only provides day-time services, can cost between $6,000 to $10,000 depending on the number of hours she does. On the other hand, a live-in 24 hour nanny can range from $24,000 to $30,000 depending on the agency. Some agencies also charge an “agency fee” or require you to buy ingredients and supplies in advance so be prepared for that.
Confinement Nanny Services in Hong Kong
With the vast amounts of confinement nanny agencies out there, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs. Here’s a round-up of some of the most trusted confinement nanny agencies in Hong Kong to help you make your choice.
- Dream Care: dreamcare.com.hk
- Bamboos: www.bamboos.com.hk
- Smart Baby Care: www.erb.org/smartbabycare
- uBaby Group: www.ubabygroup.com
- Homeasy Maternity Service: www.homeasy.com.hk
- The Nanny Experts: www.thenannyexperts.hk
- E-mother (chinese only): www.emother-care.hk
Do what works best for you
As we all know, caring for a new born baby is no easy task. Bending the rules of this traditional practice to fit the modern the world is common and even acceptable, so taking aspects that resonate with you and align with your lifestyle is the easiest way to reap all the benefits of this unique experience.