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Horrible and Nightmarish Experience in Confinement Centre that Led Us to Sleepless Night

Welcoming Baby Leow into a family is one of happiest moment in our life. Just like many new parents, we decided to let Shirleen to stay at a confinement centre for the first month in order to let her recuperate well after the delivery, while the nanny at confinement centre can look after the baby. However, this turned out to be a disastrous and nightmarish experience. We decided to shed the light about our experiences so the mummy and daddy to be can take note in future.

16th June 2020

Our baby has started to get cranky lately. She will stay awake for hours in the evening and keep wanting milk. Shirleen has breast-feeded her for multiple times within the span of 3 hours and baby was crying still. Being a first timer as father and mother, we were clueless about what was happening and decided to seek the nanny in the confinement centre to help. 

For your information, the centre only has a nanny and another maid to help out to take care of the babies.

So the "experienced" nanny came to Shirleen's room and taught her how to massage baby with oil to soothe her, which we duly obliged as a significant number of our mummy friends also practiced this way. It is believed to get rid off the "wind", or known as colic.

After that, she asked was the baby breast-fed. Truth is baby just got breast-fed and cried, then we went to seek her for help and remedy. She then started the blame game, citing Shirleen's breast milk was insufficient and the baby could not latch, so she needed to do bottle feeding now.

Then she took the pumped milk in packets and prepared 2.5 ounces of milk. This was when all the problems and nightmare started.

Baby started to suck gently for approximately 1 ounce, then she tried to move away from the bottle.

The nanny then forcefully push the bottle into the baby mouth and let her drink further. We can sense something was not right, as the baby refused to drink anymore and fall asleep. Then the nanny insisted she was not having enough milk and wanting more, and she forcefully push the tip of the bottle into her!

What the hell! 

I was infuriated when seeing this and can sense Shirleen was about to break down. She kept pushing the bottle into her mouth. I then pleaded her to stop, saying we will feed on our own but she refused to budge. Until I said it for the third times with a stern note, only then she stopped forcing the bottle.

Then she told us baby now needed 4 ounces of milk everytime! 

What? A baby less than 2 weeks old needed 4 ounces? That was nonsense, which neither of us believe. From this moment, this nanny is a witch for us. 

Okay, the problem did not ended here. Obviously the baby fall asleep well. In fact, she fall asleep half way when feeding the bottle after rejecting it for at least two times, or even more.

Half an hour later, the baby suddenly awake and cried. Non-stop crying, and it was the unusual crying which we never experienced. No matter what we did - patting, swaddling, hugging, holding. It did not work.

She was squeaking loudly and non-stop for the next 2.5 hours, till 2am in the morning. Her tears rolled non-stop and we can tell she was suffering from a terrible pain, possibly due to overfeeding. No newborn less than 14 days on earth are needed to be fed 4 ounces of milk. (that night, our baby possibly was being fed 4 ounces or even more at that span of time, considering she has been breast-fed before being bottle-fed.)

From that experiences onward, we swear we would not want to let her feed our baby anymore, nor listening to her ill-advice. We were fortunate our baby did not suffer the same experience as what being quoted in this article - aspiration pneumonia due to overfeeding (120 - 150ml per feeding for newborn, equivalent to 4oz to 5oz).

You may listen to below recording for her "recommendation" of 4 ounces of milk for 2 weeks baby. It was conversed in local dialect Hokkien though. Click here. 

She kept saying our baby will be underweight if did not follow her advice. Then on the 21th day after checkup in clinic, the nurse weighed our baby and she is healthy at 4kg! When she knows the results, she gave that one kind of face with disgruntled expression. I feel like slapping her on the spot. 

Of course, her advice on 4 ounces of milk to baby was recorded as a proof. 

Advice to all new father and mother, follow your paediatricians or nurses' advice, or even trust your instinct. These nannies or confinement ladies are mostly practicising taboo that will do more harm than good.

Not only the above mentioned horrible experiences, there were many bad experience we had with this nanny at the confinement centre.

1. Feeding our baby with formula-milk at day 3 without our acknowledgement and approval. She quoted breast milk was insufficient, and then only we found out on day 3 she has been feeding our baby for 3 ounces of milk per feeding! We have explicitly telling her no formula milk as Shirleen was capable to producing enough breast milk (averagely 1.5 ounces to 2.5 ounces on first and second week)

2. Keep blaming Shirleen not producing enough breast milk and led baby to hunger. Baby was sleeping well for 2 hours continuously after each breast feeding.

3. Blaming Shirleen for causing "gas" in baby stomach as she drank pure warm water. She claimed warm water caused bloating in baby stomach and Shirleen must drink red dates water mixed with ginger slices.

4. Blaming Shirleen milk was not in good quality because the content has a lot of water and not enough fat. The nanny made such a claim after seeing the stored breastmilk in fridge has distinctive 2 layers. Well, scientifically, the major constituent of breast milk is water?

5. After seeing the baby poo is watery, she blamed Shirleen for drinking plain water and caused baby to suffering from diarrhea. Scientifically it is shown that fully breast fed baby tend to be more watery.

6. Insisting the baby was not having jaundice by pressing on the baby forehead, even though the bilirubin level was above threshold level and indicated for phototherapy. She said the baby just needed some sunshine therapy in the morning. Ironically, a random shopkeeper was able to tell the baby was suffering from jaundice by just a glance on the fourth week. 

7. Discouraged us to go to hospital and clinic for following up and seeking treatment for jaundice, citing it is unnecessary and us being a new parent was anxious. We decided to go against her. Every time she mentioned about jaundice or going to clinic to follow up, she will keep talking our baby is all well despite her bilirubin level is still high (175 mmol/L at 14 days). She even cited a previous mother who stayed here and did not even go to hospital even though the baby was having jaundice because the mother trusted her advice! Ridiculous! 

8. Stubborn - Although there are not evidences indicating gingers consumed by mother lead to jaundice in babies, the nurses advised not to consume it for safety purposes. Furthermore, Shirleen was having nose bleeding, which might attributed to the "heat" properties of the gingers. We then channeled this message and request her to remove the gingers from food but she never did so, even with multiple reminders, request and quoting medical professionals' advice. The only improvement we saw were ginger slices were being used instead of grated gingers. 

9. Keep wanting to introduce bottle-feeding while Shirleen wanted to let baby to latch. What is more important than a mother's will, and what is wrong with latching as the baby is enjoying it.

10. Disallowed Shirleen to take bath (Chinese's confinement taboo) as it may lead to "wind" entering the body. Ended up rashes in Shirleen's body and spread to baby's face. Before that she promised to prepare herbal water for bath but forgot, then delayed it to another week.

11. Irregular dining hour - lunch at 10.30am just because she needed to go market; dinner at 6.00pm, then followed by supper at 7.20pm; breakfast sometimes at 7:30am, sometimes at 9am. It was like we needed to fit her schedule instead of she fitting our schedule (to go to hospitals' follow up and etc). 

12. Forgetful - we told her we needed to go to clinic for doctor's appointment at 9am so she can prepare breakfast earlier. Then ended up she never prepare, only citing she forget at the moment we asked her where is breakfast.

13. Odd behaviour - like to intrude to Shirleen's room without asking permission. Straight bang into the room. Even when door is locked she will keep wanting to open it.

14. Insufficient manpower - During scouting, we were told she will handle maximum 2 confinement ladies and 3 other babies (more than a month's old) with her maid's help. That was the partial truth only. On and off, the maid was being ferried to elsewhere to do cleaning job frequently, and sometimes the other babies were being left unattended when both of them go markets. We have witnessed the baby was sucking empty bottle as nobody was attending them.

15. Breaking promises - We were being told every items used by the baby will be prepared by her. Then on second week, she told us the diapers were finishing and we have to buy on our own. After a slight argument then only she conceded and purchase diapers. 

16. Illogical action - Sometimes, she takes bath for baby at 6.30am in the morning and claimed it is all fine! Often times after changing diapers for baby, she kept talking to baby non-stop and demanded baby to smile to her before willing to hand back baby back to mother. 

17. Dishonest - During sign-up, she promised the package includes 5 times massage for mother. However after signing up, it became a 2 hours 5-in-1 massage and said this was the agreement. Not to mention the masseuse was hard selling her packages during the entire process. 

18. Washing Milk Bottles - The nanny handed us a basin and a cleaning device and ask mother to self wash milk pump and bottles after usage. Contrary to what she said at the same time that women should not touch water after delivery.

19. Greasy and Dirty Food - This happen in the last week. Check out the insane amount of grease in the food, and spotted hairs inside the food for a few times. Besides, the food was extremely salty in the last week. 

20. No isolation on sick baby - Another baby was down with sickness on the fourth week and no isolation was done by her. She can pester the sick baby then come and touch our baby the next minute! 

While these are the things we could not tolerate, she did some commendable efforts also such as allowing father to overnight, cooking food for father, preparing great food for mother - free-range chicken, black chickens, Chinese herbs. Nevertheless, this only last for the first 2 weeks and the food had been getting disastrous and greasy in the last week. 

Requested no ginger and tumeric in dishes but my wishes isn't followed. 

However, the force feeding that caused our baby to suffer for the whole night was the last straw that broke the camel's back. For the sake of our baby's health and growth, we never let her handle the feeding of baby nor taking care of the baby at night.

You may ask why we did not escape the confinement centre as soon as we found out the nonsense. Reason being nobody was able to prepare the food at our home for Shirleen, and the food prepared at confinement centre was fine for the first 3 weeks. However, as the dismay begun on the 4th week and another baby was sick without any isolation, we escaped the confinement centre 3 days earlier before the expected leaving date. 

We decided to share our experiences so any father and mother-to-be can learn from what we experienced. Never trust your nanny or confinement lady fully, even though they claim how experienced they are. Your instinct works the best to judge what is wrong and right, and always sound out if you feel something is not right. 

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