Confinement food catering is gaining popularity among mothers who cannot afford a live-in confinement lady. If there is a mother, mother-in-law, or auntie who can help, you may not need to splash close to $4,000 for one anyway. But, it may be too taxing to request that they cook while at the same time provide caregiving for you and your baby.
Every helping hand counts. Perhaps getting a caterer who can deliver nutritious food to aid in your recovery process and boost your milk supply can be a middle-ground solution.
Typically, confinement caterers offer meals for 28 to 30 days that are well-planned for postnatal recovery. If you order and decide one month before your estimated delivery date (EDD), you may get early bird discounts.
But don't worry. If you give birth earlier or later than your EDD, the confinement caterer is prepared to start delivering when you tell them to. You can call in one day before you want your first meal, which will usually be the day you return home from the hospital.
Here are 7 confinement food caterers in Singapore that are able to care for your nutrition needs during the crucial first month after the birth of your baby.
7 CONFINEMENT FOOD PACKAGES IN SINGAPORE
Sizzling Dyyana is among the handful of confinement caterers that offer halal confinement food. Dyyana, whom her customers affectionately call "Kak Dyyana", goes to the wet market every morning to get the fresh ingredients so the number of customers she accepts are limited.
Do make sure to book in advance if you want her. Mums who tried her food like its home-cooked style, and there is a variety of Asian and Western cuisines.
Meals are delivered in microwaveable containers and only from Mondays to Saturdays. Lunches and dinners are the same for the day and are delivered together in the late morning, unlike other caterers who will deliver two different meals twice, so perhaps that's why her pricing is more affordable.
The package costs $1,300 for lunch and dinner for 30 days. A 10-day, once-daily package is available at $450. You get one meat or fish dish, vegetables, rice (a mixture of white, brown, black and red rice), a lactation treat, and a healthy drink.
Not sure if you're ready to commit? Dyyana offers a one-time $45 trial for 2 meals. However, instead of a standard trial package, you get whatever's on her menu for the day.
Contact: 8222 3105 (Whatsapp available)
Happy Mummy is fairly new compared to the other confinement food caterers and has the most competitive pricing out of the 7.
They advertise that their food is prepared by experienced chefs using Traditional Chinese Medicinal (TCM) herbs, and their menu is designed by a group of grandmothers and mothers who have experienced the post-birth confinement period themselves. If you prefer traditional confinement food, you would like their home-cooked dishes like steamed fish with ginger and Bak Ku Teh.
The standard package is made up of 2 weekly menus that alternate through the month. However, if you're the type who doesn't like repeating the food you eat, you may want to go for the Classic package ($1,888) or the Premium package ($2,198), where the menu is changed every week.
All meals are served with the option of white rice or brown rice. Happy Mummy is also able to help you plan your full month celebration.
Their meals come in thermal containers, packed in thermal bags with lunch and dinner delivered separately. Environmentally friendly mums would like this feature as opposed to the usual microwavable containers. It also reduces the worry of BPA from plastics and feels healthier than eating out of plastic containers.
Washing of the containers are required before you leave it outside your home for collection. You may want to take note of this if you are not a fan of dish-washing, especially during your confinement period.
Contact: 8429 8871 or email@example.com
RICHFOOD CONFINEMENT CATERING
Richfood Confinement Catering's menu offers a wide selection of dishes. From reviews, it seems that their dishes are more oily and salty. However, they do claim that they do not use MSG and accept requests for low or no salt. They also have a special menu catered for vegans.
Richfood's menu plans can be customised according to your liking. You can make special requests like to exclude ingredients, be it pork, beef, liver, seafood, chicken, pig's liver, pig's trotter, frog's leg, or eggs.
While some confinement food caterers have 2 sets of weekly menu, alternating between odd and even weeks in the month, Richfood has a different menu almost everyday which keeps it exciting for customers. Note that due to availability of ingredients, they may change the menu without notice.
Many mums like that they offer Sheng Hua soup, which is a traditional Chinese herbal formula soup supposedly helpful in expelling toxins and lochia in the body, as well as revitalising one's Qi and blood.
Meals come in microwavable containers, packed in thermal bags with lunch and dinner delivered separately.
Contact: 6261 4600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
CHILLI PADI CATERING
Chilli Padi offers some tantalising dishes such as Shabu Shabu with XO Wine, Grilled Salmon Fillet with Mirin sauce and Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup. There are 2 weekly menus, which are alternated through the month. Chilli Padi claims to use Sakura Chicken in their meals, which is a type of chicken reared through an organic farming process, and is healthier.
Some mums commented that the dishes are relatively bland (no MSG) and less oily while still maintaining taste, hence making it a healthier option. They also feedback that the red date tea that comes in generous portions daily is thicker and tastier than others.
Their meals come in thermal containers, packed in thermal bags with lunch and dinner delivered separately. You need to wash your own containers. Meals will be delivered in microwaveable containers on the last day.
Contact: 6340 1042
THE NATAL KITCHEN
The Natal Kitchen focuses on a more authentic confinement food menu, collaborated with a TCM specialist. Since they claim to use only the freshest ingredients, they do not have a pre-planned menu by the weeks.
Instead, they show the variety of dishes they have categorised according to the main ingredient used, like "chicken dishes", "fish dishes", "soup dishes" and so on. So if you're someone who needs to know exactly what you're eating each day, you may not like this.
Mums who tried their food commented that the portions are very generous and the food is more on the bland side, a good thing for the health-conscious. It is mentioned on their website that their food contains no MSG or innards.
They have different kinds of rice including ginger rice and brown rice to keep things interesting. There's also a complimentary dessert served every Friday. On this note, there is also a category of "dessert dishes" to choose from with appealing dishes like sweet herbal rice ball and steamed egg custard.
Meals come in microwavable containers, packed in thermal bags with lunch and dinner delivered separately. The more environmentally mums may also purchase two stainless steel tingkats for $60, which will be rotated for lunch and dinner. The tingkats can be kept after the package is over. You are responsible for the cleanliness of your own tingkat.
TIAN WEI SIGNATURE
Tian Wei Signature is great for modern-day mums who are looking for something out of the norm. While traditional confinement food like Black Vinegar Pig's Trotters is still served during the first week, you get to be creative with fusion confinement food from the second week onwards.
The selection of fusion food includes dishes like coq au vin and kurobuta pork loin with apple mirin sauce. Mums who are tired of traditional confinement food laden with ginger, sesame oil and the like will see their menu as a breath of fresh air. While the fusion menu sounds adventurous, Tian Wei Signature still works with TCM physicians to ensure that their meals are well balanced in nutrients.
Many mums like that Tian Wei's menu is customisable and you can fill your week with a mix of traditional and fusion dishes after week one. Tian Wei Signature's meals also come with a paper slip that informs when the food was packed and when it should be consumed by. This gives more confidence to customers about their quality assurance.
Meals come in microwavable containers, packed in thermal bags with lunch and dinner delivered separately. Customers have commented that their portions are quite generous and food is still warm when delivered.
Contact: 6727 5599 or email@example.com
THOMSON CONFINEMENT FOOD HOME DELIVERY
This service is affiliated to Thomson Medical and is backed by their in-house team of nutritionists, including their TCM and lactation experts. Their menu has quite a variety, with the papaya fish soup being a hot favourite amongst mums as it is known to be a milk supply booster.
To keep it interesting for mums, Thomson Confinement has a food menu designed for 28 days with a different meal daily. This is definitely a plus point for mums who are bored of the same few types of confinement food.
For TMC Confinement Food customers, the premium price tag is still worth it for its trusted name. Furthermore, their soups are all double boiled which is supposedly better in maximising the nutritional benefits of the herbs. It may be because of this reason that customers have commented that their TMC confinement soup is more concentrated and tasty compared to others.
The meals come in thermal containers, packed in thermal bags with lunch and dinner delivered separately. No washing is required; just leave it outside your home for collection. Meals will be delivered in microwaveable containers on the last day.
Contact: 65111183 / 63508848
WHICH CATERER SHOULD YOU GO FOR?
So many options, and all of them claim to be super nutritious, how do you choose? Here's an easy guide:
For fussy eaters: Go for confinement caterers that allow you more flexibility in customisation like Richfood Confinement Catering and Tian Wei Signature. Both of these caterers can remove ingredients upon request.
For Muslims: Sizzling Dyyana
For vegetarians and vegans: Richfood and The Natal Kitchen accommodates requests for vegetarian meals. Richfood even has a menu specifically for vegans. Depending on the special dietary requests, you can also ask for no beef, no innards, or no skin on meat.
Catering for the full family: All confinement caterers allow you to add on meal packages for your family. The additional meals are typically at a cheaper cost. This way, everyone has more time to spend with the newborn.
If you are still feeling unsure which confinement caterer to go with, most caterers have trial meals that you can order to your home. Thomson confinement home delivery also provides food testing sessions on Saturday mornings that you can register for.
This article was first published in MoneySmart.