- New moms in Singapore are paying up to $21,638 to spend a month in a VIP hideaway after birth.
- They get to recuperate with nutritious meals and massages as nurses help look after their babies.
- The centers include yoga studios, hair salons, and spas, and moms are fed restaurant-style meals.
Ma was collected by the luxury-confinement hotel’s limo 48 hours after giving birth and spent the next 28 days at Kai Singapore, being fed restaurant-style meals and having pampering treatments as qualified nurses helped her look after her newborn.
Postpartum confinement is nothing new in Asia. The custom of staying inside your home for around a month and eating nutritious food has been documented as early as 960 in China. Yet these VIP retreats, which launched recently in Singapore, take it to the next level.
These are like luxury hotels for new moms
These confinement centers are like five-star hotels where new moms can sleep on 600-thread-count sheets. They can rejuvenate their face at the aesthetics clinic, visit the in-house physiotherapy center to work their Kegel muscles, or be pampered in the hair salon or spa with herbal baths.
The VIP postpartum moms can also expect nutritious restaurant-style meals designed to get them back to full strength. And the nurses or nannies on staff will feed, bathe, and change your baby’s diaper if you need to catch some much-needed rest.
Jenelle Kim, who has a doctorate in traditional Chinese medicine and founded Wellness Labs, said postpartum confinement was one of the most important times in Chinese culture for a mother and baby.
“This time allows the mother to rest and recover fully,” Kim told Insider. “It also gives the mother and baby time to bond without interruptions from guests.”
The confinement period can last from one month to 45 days.
“It gives them the chance to avoid ailments that may weaken the body,” Kim said. “The mother will remain indoors to help rebuild her strength after giving birth and stay away from pollution and germs.”
Moms will eat nutritious food about five times a day to boost their milk supply. They will stop eating cold food and instead eat traditional nutrient-filled fish soup boiled in papaya or chicken cooked in sesame oil.
“They will also have massages using special ointments, such as mustard-seed oil, to help stimulate blood flow,” said Kim.
The starting cost is over $21,000
The stress of being a new parent for Ma was put on ice.
“I didn’t need to worry about anything,” Ma said. “I could just relax and let my body recover.”
Ma would be chauffeured to the hospital when the baby needed checkups. She would have a postnatal massage every week at the spa, as well as salon appointments and yoga classes weekly. She would shower with herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine and dine on meals based on its practices.
Moms who want to book these suites pay up to $21,526 for 28 days at the center. But prices can go up from there. Meals for the new dad are extra, as are photo shoots and sessions with lactation consultants if a mom needs help with latching.
While new moms in Singapore can choose to book a more-economical confinement live-in nanny for $2,238 or more to show them the ropes of caring for their newborn, many women are choosing to book one of these VIP retreats and kick-start motherhood in style.
Melissa Lim chose to book into Momley Loft at the Aranda Country Club in Singapore after giving birth to twin boys. This resort-style sanctuary, which opened in mid-2022, features 20 luxury suites plus specialists, chefs, and dietitians.
At first, Lim was going to hire a confinement nanny to help look after her twins at home, but she decided to book into Momley Loft, where postpartum massages are done in the comfort of your suite, nurses can help look after your babies, and there is a lounge where moms can hang out. The cost of a confinement nanny would have been more because she had twins, so the confinement center became a more-promising option.
“It would be a one-stop shop — everything would be there for us,” Lim told Insider.
Postpartum life can be hard without a community
The US-based perinatal psychologist Marisa Perera said that adjusting to life with a newborn and motherhood could be isolating, which can affect postpartum mental health.
“Having a community of moms who are going through the same experience with babies born around the same time can be hugely helpful,” Perera told Insider.
But Perera hopes that each mom is set up to win.
“My biggest concerns are how the moms are being prepared to transition back home,” she said. “It will be important that moms feel set up for success for when they may have less help.”
Lim said this was where Momley Loft proved invaluable.
“I have a few friends who felt very lost after the confinement nannies they had at home left them at the end of the month,” Lim said. “Momley Loft gave me a lot of advice that enabled me to easily transition from a confinement center to looking after my babies back home.”
Two other new luxury-confinement hotels that aim to help new mothers are the rooftop retreat Singjoy, which opened in February in the skyscraper-filled area of River Valley, and My Queen, which opened in September in a 500-hectare resort in the upscale area of Sentosa Island.
Meiling Teo, My Queen’s owner, wanted to take new moms away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The mom of three said that after finding her own confinement periods more akin to pandemic lockdowns, she wanted to create a staycation-style experience.
At My Queen, moms can take part in therapeutic workshops and enjoy treatments at the spa while qualified nurses keep an eye on their babies in the nursery.
“Women should cut themselves some slack during their postpartum recovery and not to stress themselves out,” Teo said.
She hoped to show new moms they’re not alone during this time.
“My Queen focuses on the ‘three E’s’ of environment, experience, and education to support new mothers,” Teo said. “We blend modern evidence-based knowledge with traditional cultural practices that are anchored to the needs of a woman’s maternal health and well-being.”
While Ma wanted to use the time to bond with her baby, she said the center gave her and her husband the chance to bond as a couple.
“We were excited to be new parents, and we were able to just share our feelings,” Ma said. “I think we had more conversations than before.”
Ma loved Kai Singapore so much that she said she planned to return when she wanted to expand their family.
“I think I will go back a second time,” Ma said.