Childcare in Singapore & Malaysia, Choosing Between Domestic Helpers, Nannies and Babysitters

If you’ve been toying with the idea of hiring someone to help with the kids, here are all the options available to you in Singapore & nearby Malaysia (with everything in malaysian ringgits terms)…

You’ve hacked it out by yourself long enough with a bub and a job – and without any help. You now know you’re a superwoman, but it’s also time to admit that you deserve a bit of “me time”. A fellow mummy friend tells you she’s got a nanny, and recently hired a helper.

“What’s the difference?” you ask. Well plenty, as a matter of fact. If you didn’t know by now, there’s more than one type of childcare option available for parents in Singapore. Besides helpers, you’ve also got babysitters, nannies and even au pairs at your disposal should you need someone to watch your kids while you’re at work, need a few hours to yourself or for that special date night. What’s the difference between each of them and how do you decide who will suit you best? Read on to find out…

Helper 
A helper, also known as a main, is usually a live-in foreign domestic worker (FDW), from the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar or India. She helps maintain the house and may carry out other duties.
Roles: Mainly cleaning and cooking, but may also be tasked to take care of kids, special needs patients, the elderly and pets.
Pros: Majority of people living in Singapore, local and expats, depend on their helper for practically everything, from cleaning and cooking to picking the kids up from school.
Cons: You’ll have to ‘train’ them to adapt to the way you like things done. Depending on the country they come from, some may not be able to speak English well.
Costs: Current average salaries for a FDW range from around $450-$700 per month, depending on how experienced they are.
Find a helper through 121personnel.sg or We Are Caring

Nanny
A nanny is a person who provides live-in or temporary childcare services.
Roles: Childcare, but not infantcare.
Pros: You’re guaranteed professional childcare with training from nanny agencies and even nanny college! Norland Nannies hail from a world famous college in the UK and will be closest thing you’ll get to Mary Poppins. A Norland Nanny’s salary starts at £26,000 a year, that’s more than S$47,000!
Cons: Nannies only take care of your kids. You’ll have to do all the cleaning yourself or hire a helper for that.
Costs: You can hire a temporary nanny by the hour. NannyPro charges $15-$25 per hour. Full-time nannies are more expensive because you’re paying for experience.
Find a nanny through Nanny Pro or Find a Nanny

Confinement Nanny
A confinement nanny is someone who takes care of you and your infant specifically during your confinement period.
Roles: She prepares healthy confinement meals and your confinement baths, plus provides infant care and assistance with baby feeding and diaper changing. Some of them double up as night nurses. A confinement nanny also takes care of basic household cleaning and laundry as well as provides advice and tips on babycare for frazzled first-time mums.
Pros: Yours and baby’s every need will be taken care of (round the clock), by a trained professional during your confinement period.
Cons: Confinement nannies usually only stick around for the first month. But, it’s becoming increasingly popular to get them to stay for a few more weeks or months, until the mother gets a hang of things. Either way, you’ll have to bid goodbye to your confinement nanny sooner or later!
Costs: Varies according to live-in, daytime, nighttime or ad hoc, experience and independent or agency. A confinement nanny’s basic salary starts at around $2800 for 28 days, not including traditional red packets on first and last day, food expenses or levy charges.
Find a confinement nanny through Thomson Medical Centre or NannySOS. You can also send your current helper to attend a confinement nanny training course at Thomson Medical Centre.

Babysitter
A babysitter is a person who lives near you or your workplace, and who’s willing to watch your child for short periods of time.
Roles: Picking up child from school, childcare and sometimes light cooking for the child.
Pros: You might use these babysitters on an adhoc basis, but they are still experienced and reliable professionals. So, you know your kids are in good hands.
Cons: Since it depends a lot on proximity, if your schedules don’t line up, you’ll be in a spot of trouble.
Costs: Prices range by experience and starts from $18 an hour
Find a babysitter through Agent Bong, or Babysitters.sg

Credits: First featured on Honeykids, by Sheralyn Loh

Babysitter Singapore Prices – 2017 to 2018

Babysitting Job Scope

  • Taking care of toddler or baby at least 1 month old. Please specify your child age as some baby sitters do not take care of infants.
  • Child safety and hygiene are the main priorities of the baby sitters and nannies
  • Feed children, take care of their meals
  • Play with children or activities to keep them occupied
  • Fetch children from child care centre, schools or see doctor depending on parent’s requirement. (Additional fees top-up is required if applicable)
  • Activities requested by parents related to child
  • As taking care of your child is a huge responsibility, performing household chores are not the duties of our babysitters. They will only be able to do simple chores associated with baby such as clean, sterilize milk bottles, feeding, bathing baby etc.

 Ad Hoc Babysitting Hourly Rates

Price

Home Babysitting
– Daytime Babysitter
– (8AM – 6PM)
SGD $25
– Evening / Night Babysitter
– (6PM – Midnight)
SGD $25
– Weekend / Holiday Babysitter
– (8AM – Midnight)
SGD $25
Hotel Babysitting
– (8AM – Midnight)
– Within hotel premises
SGD $25
Outdoor Babysitting
– (8AM – Midnight)
SGD $35
Babysitting Twins
– (8AM – Midnight)
SGD $35
  • Ad Hoc babysitting rates (Singapore)/ part time hourly rates is for taking care of 1 child.
  • Price exclude transport fees which is applicable after 10pm (based on Grab or Uber fares).

Long Term Babysitting Monthly Rates (At Nanny’s Place)

Price

Weekdays Daytime Babysitter (10-12 hours Monday to Friday) SGD $800 – SGD $1200
Overnight Babysitter (Monday to Friday) SGD $1200 – SGD $1500

 

Long Term Babysitting Monthly Rates (At Baby’s Place)

Price

Weekdays Daytime Babysitters (10-12 hours Monday to Friday) SGD $2500 – SGD $3950
  • In general, average pricing for long term babysitting at Chinese nanny’s home is $800 (10-12 hours Monday to Friday) monthly. The babysitting service cost of singapore nanny mostly excludes the following:
    • Meals: solid food, milk formula
    • Baby’s necessities such as diapers, milk bottles etc. Parents are required to bring the items over to nanny’s home.
    • Additional weekends or overnight
    • Any transport fees for fetching children
  • Most nannies will prefer to help parents prepare cooked food for children under their care. They will buy fresh ingredients from the market such as fish for your child’s health and growth development. Top up is $50 to $100 if required.
  • It is chinese custom to give a red packet token to the nanny on the first and last day. The amount is up to parent’s own discretion.

Credits: NannySOS

SG Guide To Confinement Nannies & Food Services In SG

The post-natal period is usually the special time for mummies to recuperate after going through pregnancy and delivery. However, it is more difficult to get the time and space you need to recover when you have to attend to a newborn baby. Thankfully, there are experienced professionals who are available to provide you with a helping hand so that you can get your much-needed rest, and gain your strength back with nutritious meals.

We’ve gathered some of the best confinement nannies and food services available in Singapore, so that you can get the finest care and attention.

PEM Confinement Nanny Agency

Providing a comprehensive confinement plan that fits all your confinement needs, the agency offers a confinement package that consists of eight core services that are provided by the well-trained confinement nannies, to ensure both mother and baby are well taken care of.

The eight core services are:
– Brewing of herbal tonics and red dates tea
– Doing the laundry for both mother and baby
– Preparing a special confinement bath for the mother
– Assisting mothers with technique for breastfeeding
– 24-hours baby care
– Confinement food preparation
– Simple household chores

Visit PEM Confinement Nanny Agency for more information.

Confinement Angels

An accredited partner of Thomson ParentCraft Centre and a popular choice among local celebrities, they provide high-quality trained confinement nannies that have undergone hands-on practical training and Thomson ParentCraft Centre’s Confinement Nanny training syllabus. The comprehensive range of services are designed to provide support and assistance in every aspect of your confinement period. From stay-in round the clock support to general housekeeping tasks, they are dedicated to providing an outstanding level of care for mummies and their babies.

Visit Confinement Angels for more information.

Aunty Lee Confinement Nanny

As a mother herself, Aunty Lee has over 35 years of infant care experience and she is also a trained, certified confinement nanny who’s well-versed in TCM herbs and tonics. On top of her services as a daytime confinement nanny, Aunty Lee also provides ad-hoc post-natal massage for mothers and conducts one-on-one classes in handling Confinement tasks.

Visit Aunty Lee Confinement Nanny for more information.

Gladys Care 1987

A certified lactation consultant with seven years of experience, Gladys provides an all-rounded service as a confinement nanny including lactation services and massage services for mother and infant. She also provides pre-natal care by preparing a special diet for mummies-to-be for a smooth delivery. Having worked for mummies of different nationalities for many years, Gladys offers a highly personalised service, often tweaking her recipes to cater to special requirements.

Visit Gladys Care 1987 for more information.

Thomson Confinement Food Home Delivery

To continue the commitment of care to mothers, this initiative by Thomson Medical Centre provides thoughtfully crafted nutritious meals directly to the homes of recuperating mothers. Infused with fresh, carefully selected ingredients and herbs, the menu serves up a modern blend of East meets West, while retaining the rich traditional tastes of confinement favourites. From the flavourful Fish and Papaya Soup to the timeless Braised Pig’s Trotters with Black Vinegar, the delicious spread is low in salt and fat but full of natural goodness and great nutritional value.

Price range:
7-Day Lunch and Dinner: $643
14-Day Lunch or Dinner only: $643
14-Day Lunch and Dinner: $1,188
28-Day Lunch or Dinner only: $1,188
28-Day Lunch and Dinner: $1,788
28-Day Lunch and Dinner (with 10-Day Pig’s Trotters Vinegar): $1,938

Visit Thomson Confinement Food Home Delivery for more information.

Nanny SOS!

Consuming the right type of confinement food is important as it is beneficial for recuperation after childbirth. Using Chinese herbs, sesame oil and other essential confinement food ingredients, the food menu is specially designed to cater to replenish the nutrients in the body. As such, no ‘heaty’ dishes are included in their offerings to avoid upsetting the body’s balance.

Price range:
7-Day Lunch and Dinner: $430
14-Day Lunch or Dinner only: $430
14-Day Lunch and Dinner: $860
20-Day Lunch or Dinner only: $600
20-Day Lunch and Dinner: $1,200
28-Day Lunch or Dinner only: $840
28-Day Lunch and Dinner: $1,680

Visit Nanny SOS! for more information.

Natal Essentials

As a specialist in post-natal food preparation, mummies can expect a customised menu filled with meals that are flavoured with special ingredients such as herbs, ginger, wine and sesame oil that have beneficial properties for the body. All meals are specially prepared by an experienced cook with less oil, less salt, and no MSG as they are designed to enhance the type of healing your body needs and replenish the nutrients you may have lost.

Price range:
Non-Package Customised Menu: $32.10 per meal
7-Day Lunch and Dinner: $447.26
14-Day Lunch or Dinner only: $447.26
14-Day Lunch and Dinner: $875.26
28-Day Lunch or Dinner only: $875.26
20-Day Lunch and Dinner: $1,271.16
28-Day Lunch and Dinner: $1,699.16

Visit Natal Essentials for more information.

RichFood Catering

With a team of professional chefs and cooks, you’re in for a delectable, high quality and healthy confinement meal. Packed in nondescript disposable containers, the meals are always delivered warm and in generous portions. The extensive menu offers a wide array of dishes to choose from, fitting within the criteria of every dietary requirement and restriction. Providing a comprehensive selection of dishes that are a fine balance of great taste and nutrition, you are bound to stay pampered and well-fed throughout your confinement period.

Price range:
7-Day Lunch and Dinner: $358.86
14-Day Lunch or Dinner only: $358.86
14-Day Lunch and Dinner: $709.82
20-Day Lunch or Dinner only: $516.79
20-Day Lunch and Dinner: $990.58
28-Day Lunch or Dinner only: $709.82
28-Day Lunch and Dinner: $1,341.54

Credits: Jasmin Ong, Singaporeschild.com.sg

How to select a wonderful confinement nanny

Confinement nannies don’t come cheap. However, a good one can be a wonderful support during those trying first few weeks. Not only do they help care for your newborn, many nannies will handle night feeds while you sleep, teach you useful tips and tricks, and cook for you and the entire household. If you’ve decided to hire one, here are some tips on selecting the right help.

Explore agencies and recommendations

Confinement nanny agencies offer the convenience of matching your family with the right person from their network. They are also able to find you a quick replacement should yours fall ill. However, always ask for personal recommendations too. Ask your friends, colleagues and relatives if their nanny cared for their baby well, was a good cook and had a pleasant personality.

Suss out her care-giving values and personality

Does the nanny seem patient and nurturing? Is she very strict about certain confinement practices and traditions? It’s natural for two people to have differing attitudes and styles about care-giving and postpartum recovery. But what you don’t want is a nanny that is too forceful and insistent without being sensitive to your needs and wants. Sometimes even the little issues like how many times a baby should be bathed or whether to hand or machine-wash your baby’s laundry can lead to clashes. Discuss some big issues first and agree to communicate openly and compromise.

Find out what her deposit is and whether she needs a work permit

Confinement nannies in Singapore can cost $2,000 upwards for a month and most will require a deposit before the confinement month. An additional token is also expected at the end of her service period but that is up to your discretion. The number of experienced nannies in Singapore isn’t large, leading to an increasing number of competent foreigners making themselves available to mothers in need here. However, do note that the Ministry of Manpower requires anyone who wants to hire a foreign live-in confinement nanny to apply for a work permit and pay a levy.

Finally, be clear about her duties

Your confinement nanny is a caretaker and companion, not a domestic helper. Most nannies will do the confinement cooking, laundry for the infant, and provide general care for the baby. Do not expect yours to help with other chores or look after the other children in the house.

While you interview your nanny, it may be useful to ask whether she has any contingent plans or if she knows of anyone who can replace her should she fall ill during your confinement.

Remember that a confinement nanny is a source of help and assurance. A natural fondness for children is an important quality, but if you ever find that she is too set in her traditional ways and she is beginning to hinder your own recovery, talk to her, or find another nanny.

Credits: Parenting Resources @ Dumex

What to know before hiring the confinement nanny

Your baby’s almost due and you’re on the lookout for a confinement nanny. You need one fast but also want to make sure you get the best one. Find out everything you need to know from which questions to ask during the interview to what all hiring one entails.
confinement nanny

Find out what all you should know before hiring a confinement nanny

You’re already into your third trimester and currently considering hiring a confinement nanny once you have given birth. While hiring one is usually a good idea, especially if it is your first child, finding one that suits your needs can be more of a hassle. We have come up with a list to check off before you interview a confinement nanny.

What are your needs?

The first thing to figure out before you hire or interview a confinement nanny is, ‘What are your needs?’ Ask yourself honestly if you even need a confinement nanny. Many mums out there forego the services of a confinement lady because they have their mother’s or mom-in-laws to help around the house. Once you have decided that you need one, figure out if you require her to cook, do household chores and take care of the baby at nights or will she just be there to bathe the baby and massage the mummy and bind your tummy as well? Next would be the duration. Do you need her just for a minimum of two weeks so she can help out while you recover from labour and get used to being a first time mum or do you need her to be there throughout your whole confinement period (30-44 days depending). Once you figure this out, you would be able to pinpoint what exactly you require from a confinement nanny.

The Budget

We aren’t going to lie, hiring a confinement nanny is going to be expensive, especially if she will be with you for a solid month. The going rates range from $50 – $100 a day and could set you back more than $2,000 if you take her for the full month.
confinement nanny

Check out some questions we suggest you ask when interviewing a confinement nanny

The Search

The best way to narrow your search for a confinement nanny is to ask around and get recommendations from friends.

Recommendations usually mean that the nanny has been tried and tested and reviews have been positive. It would make you more confident of hiring her.

If none of your friends or relatives know of anyone, you can also check out motherhood and local forums such as cozycot, singaporemotherhood and mummysg for more info on the local confinement nanny industry.

The interview

Here are the top five questions new parents should ask when they interview a confinement nanny:

  • How many years of experience do you have as a confinement nanny?
  • Are you able to guide new mums on how to handle the baby? (bathing, breastfeeding, changing nappies etc)
  • Do you offer post-natal massages as part of your service?
  • What are your charges?
  • What food will you cook for the mother during the confinement period?

Credits: Wafa Marican

Things to consider before hiring a confinement nanny

A confinement nanny is someone who will help a new mother with the care of her baby in order to ease her transition process from a pregnant woman to a new mother. Here’s what to consider before you hire one.

I didn’t hire a confinement nanny when I had my son. I was blessed that my Mum happily took on the job because it was her first grandson. She helped me look after my son while cooking delicious meals and handled the washing.

I had time to rest and recover from my birthing wounds while she had ample quality time with her grandson before returning to Malaysia. Mum stayed with us for over a month.

Would I do the same self sacrificing act when it’s my son’s turn to be a father?

Unfortunately, my cooking skills are a far cry from my Mum’s and I really don’t like hand-washing countless layers of nappy cloth! I think I would happily hire a confinement nanny for him and his wife. Alternatively, I’ll source around for good tingkat services for delivery of confinement food.

Role of a confinement nanny

To me, a confinement nanny is someone who will help the new mother with the care of her baby in order to ease her transition process from a carefree childless woman to a mother of a bundle of joy and often, frustratingly enough, unstoppable tears!

Apart from this primary duty, the confinement nanny would be expected to cook nutritious confinement dishes to revive the health of the new mother as well as tend to some household chores related to the care of the baby such as washing the baby’s clothes and milk bottles.
Therefore, before you begin your search for your confinement nanny, ask this searching question and answer it honestly:

“Do I really need a confinement nanny?”

If your mother, mother in law, god mother or any other close relatives are willing to help you out during the first few months of your child’s birth, then there really isn’t a need to hire a confinement nanny. More so, if you currently have a domestic helper who can assist with the cooking and cleaning.

It’s easy to find tasty confinement food recipes on the internet although I am confident that your mother / mother in law has a few secret confinement recipes in their family cookbook as well.

However, if your mother/mother in law is unable to assist you due to health or work reasons and you do not have anyone else you can turn to, do seek the assistance of your friends who had previously hired confinement nannies for recommendations on good nannies.

This is a better approach versus going to an agency direct as your friends would have had first-hand experience of having the particular nanny work for them and they can fill you in on her efficiencies, manners and even quirks. That way, you will be well informed of your potential confinement nanny.

If your friends have never hired any confinement nannies before, all is not lost. You can join motherhood/parenting forums online and post a query on “Wanted: Confinement Nanny”. Many mothers have journeyed on this road that you are traveling on and would only be too happy to share their experiences.

Professional confinement agencies

If posting on such forums yield no positive results, you can look around for professional confinement nanny agencies.

Charges range from between $2,400 – $4,500 for a confinement nanny, depending on experience and when you need their services. Prices surge during the end of year holidays and Chinese New Year Period. The nanny is also given an additional $500-$1,000 for buying marketing.

Once you have decided which agency to engage, do request for testimonials and references by other mothers who have hired the particular confinement nanny who has been offered by the agency to you.

You can also request to meet the confinement nanny in person, preferrably at her home and interview her. It’s good to see her in an environment where she is comfortable in so that you can pick out snippets of her true character.

You can discuss the exact scope of work to be undertaken by the confinement nanny in order to avoid misunderstanding in the future.

Please check with the agency for the exact terms and conditions of your engagement of the confinement nanny. Will the agency give you a replacement confinement nanny if things don’t work out? Are there any cancellation or hidden fees?

The key thing to achieve is that both you and your confinement nanny know what is expected of each other. As long as you have a realistic expectation that your confinement nanny is not your domestic helper as in she certainly has the right to refuse your request to water the plants in your garden and she is clear of her scope of work (or your preference to a particular style of cooking), it will be much easier for you to resolve any conflicts if and when they arise.

Finding a suitable confinement nanny takes patience, time and research. So, start early, be realistic and be flexible. I wish you the best of luck!

Credits: Jenny Toh, theAsianparent