Confinement nanny's overfeeding landed baby in ICU, says ex-actor Joshua Ang

Former Channel 8 actor Joshua Ang with his wife Shannon Low and their son Jedaiah, who was born last August. In a blog post published on Saturday, Mr Ang said the confinement nanny hired by the couple overfed their baby by more than double the recomm
Former Channel 8 actor Joshua Ang with his wife Shannon Low and their son Jedaiah, who was born last August. In a blog post published on Saturday, Mr Ang said the confinement nanny hired by the couple overfed their baby by more than double the recommended 60ml by their paediatrician, causing him to choke on the milk. PHOTO: JOSHUA ANG/FACEBOOK

Former Channel 8 actor Joshua Ang and his wife nearly lost their newborn son last August, after the week-old infant was allegedly overfed by their confinement nanny.

The couple also found out that the nanny had cut the teats of the milk bottle, "large enough to fit a straw through".

In a blog post published on Saturday, Mr Ang, who featured in the 2002 Jack Neo movie I Not Stupid, shared details about his "traumatising" experience with the confinement nanny.

The couple's son Jedaiah, who was born on Aug 1 last year, was admitted to an intensive care unit at KK Women's and Children's Hospital about a week later.

There, the infant was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia - a type of lung infection which occurs when food or liquids are inhaled instead of being swallowed, said Mr Ang, 30, who married air stewardess Shannon Low, 27, last year.

A few days later, the infant also developed pneumothorax, or a collapsed lung, which happens when air leaks into the space between the lung and chest wall through a hole in the lung.

He said this was because the nanny had overfed the infant by more than double the 60ml recommended by their paediatrician, causing him to choke on the milk.

Mr Ang, who runs his own business, said they suspect the nanny did so as she wanted the baby to sleep longer, allowing her to rest more.

"We figured since she has more experience, we'd do things her way. We thought, since our friend's baby has gone through the same thing under her care and was doing great, we decided to trust her. But we trusted wrong," he added.

The nanny's cutting of the teats of the milk bottle also meant that the milk flow was "way too fast for Jed", said Mr Ang.

While the infant was hospitalised, the couple fired the nanny. The baby boy was discharged on Aug 17, about a week after being admitted into hospital.

Speaking to The Straits Times yesterday, Mr Ang said he is gathering the full medical reports from the hospital so as to make a police report and file a magistrate's complaint against the confinement nanny by the end of the week. But he is not seeking compensation or pursuing a civil suit against her.

RAISING AWARENESS

We didn't want to shame her, but we've seen enough of these things happening so we decided to speak up. A lot of confinement nannies have this culture of overfeeding the baby, just so they can 'train' the baby to sleep through the night.

MR JOSHUA ANG, former Channel 8 actor, who said he has heard stories of babies being overfed by confinement nannies.


RISKS OF HIRING FREELANCE NANNIES

Some freelance nannies don't have a valid work permit to work in Singapore, and when parents who hire them face problems, it's difficult for them to get help to resolve the issues.

MS GERALDINE OH, from PEM Confinement Nanny Agency.

When asked why he decided to speak out 10 months after the incident, Mr Ang said: "It took a while for us to recover from this ordeal. It was quite depressing - fortunately (my wife) didn't slip into a depression - but we were very upset for a while."

Since the incident last August, he has heard stories of young parents whose babies were also overfed by their confinement nannies.

"We didn't want to shame her, but we've seen enough of these things happening so we decided to speak up. A lot of confinement nannies have this culture of overfeeding the baby, just so they can 'train' the baby to sleep through the night," he said.

While many have shown their support for the couple, he noted that some people have criticised him and his wife for hiring a confinement nanny to care for their child.

Mr Ang said they did so as they believed a confinement nanny could teach them how to care for their firstborn.

He added that his mother had died 10 years ago, while his wife's parents are working.

In his blog post, Mr Ang advised new parents to follow their parental instincts and voice any concerns to their confinement nanny, and also to hire only nannies from agencies.

In his case, the nanny, who said she had 12 years of experience, was recommended by a friend, said Mr Ang, who did not give details such as the nationality or age of the nanny.

"Even the most experienced nanny could make your child suffer for life with a single mistake."

Confinement nannies whom The Straits Times spoke to said they do not practise giving babies more milk just so they would sleep for longer periods.

"There's a recommended amount of milk that caregivers should feed. The amount of milk should be increased bit by bit," said Madam Lily Wong, 45, a Malaysian who has been working as a confinement nanny for 14 years in both Malaysia and Singapore.

She said she believes the problem occurred when the confinement nanny cut the teat of the bottle, which might have caused the milk to enter his airway during feeding.

Ms Geraldine Oh from PEM Confinement Nanny Agency said it does not encourage its nannies to feed babies more than the recommended amount of milk so that they would sleep longer.

She added that while some parents rely on word of mouth for hiring confinement nannies, it may be wiser to approach agencies, which would have trained their nannies properly.

"Some freelance nannies don't have a valid work permit to work in Singapore, and when parents who hire them face problems, it's difficult for them to get help to resolve the issues," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2019, with the headline 'Confinement nanny's overfeeding landed baby in ICU, says ex-actor Joshua Ang'. Print Edition | Subscribe