There were 2 things that I did upon finding out that Heartland Girl was pregnant again. The first was to ring up my insurance agent to get the maternity insurance policy ready. The second was to secure my confinement nanny quickly. That is because some of the popular confinement nannies can be booked up for up to 1 year ahead. Yes, you must be puzzled because the numbers don’t add up when human gestation period is just 9 months! I kid you not, some couples are willing to take a chance to place deposits to reserve popular nannies even though a pregnancy has not occurred yet. Thankfully, my household managed to secure our first-choice nanny but I was honestly quite stumped at the price when I first heard it. Indeed, confinement nanny prices have increased in 2023, so is it worth it to still pay for one? Here is the review of the confinement nanny whom we employed after my wife had her 2nd delivery.
Total cost of confinement nanny
As shown in Diagram 1, the total cost of hiring a confinement nanny in Singapore is an estimated $4,000 for 1 month.
The salary of a freelance nanny ranges from $3,330 to more than $4,000 per month in 2023. There is a range because a more popular and experienced confinement lady can charge more.
Of course, the range that I have quoted are under normal circumstances. The salary can increase in the event of festive periods such as Chinese New Year or if the nanny has to look after more than 1 infant (eg: twins).
b) First day and last day ang bao
On the first day of the nanny’s arrival, a welcome angbao (red packet) is customary. The market rate for first-day angbao is typically less than $100. On the last day of the nanny’s employment, a farewell angbao thanking her for her services is expected too. The convention is that last-day angbao is usually more than the first-day angbao.
Even before the nanny’s arrival, I already decided to do turn the tables around by choosing to endow her with an unexpectedly large angbao on her arrival. I did this to incentivise her further and hope that she will treat my wife and baby nicer. To keep to my budget, I downsized the size of the angbao given to her last day. I do not know if this disappointed her but my stance is that this shall be the last time I will be using a nanny anyway! (stopping at 2)
c) Work permit and foreign worker levy
As my nanny is a Malaysian, as is the case with most nannies in Singapore, a temporary work permit issued by the Ministry of Manpower (”MOM”) is required for her to work in the employer’s household legally. The application fee is $35 and the process should be rather straightforward with approval expected within a few business days as shown in Diagram 2.
Note that Diagram 2 emphasizes that the nanny can work in Singapore provided that her Visit Pass is valid. Her Visit Pass is tagged to her date of arrival in Singapore (verify against her SG Arrival Card) and is usually valid for 30 days only. Note that it is completely independent of the end date of her work permit.
Extending my nanny’s social visit pass proved to be a nail-biting affair as I almost left it too late to put in an extension request. On MOM’s website, it was stated that it would take up to 2 weeks for approval but I didn’t expect them to really take the full 2 weeks! We even discussed contingency plans for my nanny to brave the June holidays queues at customs just to leave and re-enter the country. Thankfully, we averted this logistical nightmare at the very last minute.
Finally, employers also have to pay foreign worker levy which is $60 per month.
d) Foreign domestic worker insurance plan
As evident from the work permit in Diagram 2, a medical insurance policy for the nanny is also encouraged to be taken out by the employer. I did a scan online and did not find a nanny-dedicated insurance policy. What I found as a workaround was that most confinement nanny agencies (eg: PEM, nannysos, Star Confinement Nanny) advocate employers to purchase a maid insurance policy and then get the insurer to refund the un-used portion on a pro-rata basis. I assessed the risks myself and decided against getting a medical insurance policy for my confinement helper. However, if you require a medical insurance policy, you can get it from my referral links below:
- Hong Leong Assurance Maid Protect 360
- FWD Maid Insurance Plan
- Great Eastern MaidGR8
- Etiqa eProtect Maid
e) Food and utilities
Food and utilities shouldn’t be much and I estimated it to be at most $100. As the employer, you are expected to provide 3 meals and a place to sleep.
Therefore, all in, I estimate the cost of hiring a confinement helper in Singapore in Year 2023 to be approximately $4,000 for a 28-day period. Let’s find out what we are getting in exchange for this amount spent.
1) Well-nourished meals
Childbirth is a laborious process and getting the right nutrients is critical in the postpartum recovery process. Certain foods are frowned upon while certain foods are considered essential. With so many information to take in in such a short span of time, having an experienced confinement nanny who knows the “dos” and “don’ts” helps greatly.
Preparing well-nourished meals is a core competency and one that my wife’s nanny does very well.
Her adaptation really impressed me as my wife prefers Western food and she duly obliged as shown in Diagrams 3 and 4.
Most days, my wife also has a tea-time snack. It could be a dessert or a starter dish.
Certain dishes even won the approval of the little picky eater in my house, such as her home-made pumpkin mee hoon kuey and chicken rice. She really had some tricks up her sleeves and was very eager to “show” off her full repertoire.
She was a great cook who reminded me of my mum’s home cooking and I thoroughly enjoyed eating her food!
2) Well-rested wife (and husband)
My wife opted for bottle feeding for the middle of the night feeds. As such, she did not have to wake up to feed the baby as that was left to the nanny lady. All she had to do was to express her milk once in the middle of the night to prevent mastitis. As a result, she was really physically well rested and felt that she had a lot of energy during the day (could even Netflix)
For myself, I had a very well rested first month and I couldn’t ask for more.
3) Mentally sane household
A well-rested wife means a lower incidence of post-natal depression. This was great as one of the most worried things on our mind was how Olympia would welcome Lenora into the household. With our sanity intact and high energy levels, we continue to provide her with the parental attention that she expects. Lesser irritability and mood swings are intangibles that are hard to place a dollar value on.
When we had Olympia, we did not have a confinement nanny due to the lack of space. Therefore, we are in a very good position to compare the difference between the two scenarios. The difference is literally heaven and earth and my nanny was worth every single cent. I also understand why it is so tempting to just pay more and extend her stay as we were fearing how we would cope after the confinement nanny leaves. Totally would hire a confinement nanny if we have to make this decision all over again, except that we are probably happy with 2 children in our household (for now).
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