Singapore

Joshua Ang opens up on baby ordeal

Former actor's infant son was admitted to ICU after he was allegedly overfed by confinement nanny

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 nanny.

The couple's son, Jedaiah, was born on Aug 1 last year but was admitted into 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 amount recommended by their paediatrician, causing him to choke on milk.

Mr Ang, who now runs his own business, suspected the nanny did so as she wanted the baby to sleep longer and allow 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.

While the infant was hospitalised, the couple fired the nanny. The baby boy was discharged on Aug 17.

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 nanny by the end of the week. But he is not seeking compensation or pursuing a civil suit against her.

On 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 she didn't slip into a depression, but we were very upset for a while.

"We didn't want to shame her, but we've seen enough of these things happening so we decided to speak up."

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

Mr Ang said they did so as they believed a nanny could teach them how to care for their first-born child.

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

Confinement nannies that ST 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 Malaysia and Singapore.

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

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