There is a bit of controversy over what modern day confinement lady should be expected to do when they are hired to work for a new mother. It is a given that a confinement nanny will help with all aspects of care for the baby, but how far should they go to help the new mother? Should they be expected to do any or all of the following things?
• Cook meals for the entire family
• Wash laundry for the entire family
• Scrub floors
• Scrub bathrooms and the kitchen
• Clean up after meals and wash dishes
• Tend to older children in the family
• Pick up after the husband
• Serve guests that come into the home
For most of these items, a confinement nanny today would say absolutely no. The distinction needs to be made between a made or general hired help for the home and a confinement nanny. It's like hiring a nanny to help take care of older children. They are there for childcare, not to perform housework or to service the mother so she doesn't have to get up.
There are different types of hired help and a nanny hired specifically for the confinement period is different from all other types of help. This nanny is in charge of helping to care for the newborn, but not necessarily other children in the home. They are in charge of making sure the mother is comfortable, gets adequate amounts of rests, and is healing as she should. This doesn't necessarily mean that the nanny should cook meals for the entire family and do everyone's laundry.
The job of a confinement nanny should not mirror that of a maid hired to keep the house clean. There has to be a line where the duties of the confinement nanny are respected and lines are not crossed.
Communication is Key
Some confinement lady will step up and do these other household tasks, but they will usually want to be compensated for the extra effort. Others will only do a specific list of tasks that are commonly expected of a confinement nanny today. It doesn't matter what nannies may have done in the past. Things are a bit different today and communication right from the start is essential.
Before you contact an agency to hire a nanny, you should have a good idea of how much help will be needed, how long the services will be needed, and specifically what duties need to be covered. You can then communicate your needs clearly to a nanny service to see if they have someone who can accommodate all of those needs. If they don't, you will either have to use another service or hire more than one person to make sure everything is covered.
For instance, you may need to hire a confinement nanny to care for yourself and the new baby while hiring a part time nanny to care for other children in the home until you are on your feet enough to do that care for yourself. You may need a confinement nanny and a part time maid who comes in for the heavier scrubbing and picking up.
You have to be very clear about what you expect from your confinement nanny. She can then be very clear on how much of that expectation she is willing and able to live up to.