(This review is for Cindy Kim and not for the agency...i didn't interact with the agency myself).
I rarely write yelp reviews, but wanted to post here because I feel so fortunate to have spent the first five weeks post-partum with Cindy "Emo" (auntie). She felt like a real aunt - treated us as if we were family. Here are the highlights, as well as some tips for future parents:
** makes delicious, nutritious meals ** like the other post-partum doulas mentioned here, she was great at cooking (we ate everything every meal), but more importantly i really believe my speedy recovery is in large part due to the nutrients she made sure I got in the critical first two weeks. we asked her to spare the fanciness and big spreads and focus on simple and healthy, and she did that perfectly - amazing cabbage+onion+turkey omelettes in the morning, salads and chicken tenders, traditional korean seaweed soup multiple times a day, simple home-cooked dumpling soups with lots of veggies, my favorite "yukkehjang" soup whenever I asked, cold noodles on hot days, salmon when we wanted a break from Korean food, etc...she takes pride in her food and she likes learning new things. When my sister-in-law sent me a recipe to make me lactation "power" balls, we made one batch together, and then Emo continued to make multiple batches throughout her stay. Her omelettes are the best!
** hard-working and strong common sense ** Emo was a machine. She would not only take care of me and the baby, but when there was a spare moment, she'd tidy the house in some way I had never imagined possible. When the baby was sleeping, she would make me sitz baths, or get me to soak me swollen feet in salt water. When I was sleeping as well, she would wash bottles and deep-clean the fridge, freezer, microwave, organized my pantry...when there was nothing else to clean, she'd do laundry. Her stamina was incredible. The best thing about Emo was that she didn't need to be micro managed or have things explained to her. If she needed flour, she would figure out where it was in the kitchen without asking us. She's been doing this for over a decade - she knows how to work every kitchen device and baby gadget imaginable.
** experienced with newborns, flexible with parents ** we really valued her experience...she's seen the "first X weeks of a baby's life" movie so many times. She'd tell us when she thinks there's a rash or something we should ping our pediatrician about. She'd know that the middle-of-the-night grunting noise was normal. She'd recommend the velcro swaddles b/c those are the most practical, and the Dr. Brown bottles b/c they help with gas. She'd tell us all the pro tips when it comes to diapers. So great!
She's also a baby whisperer. she could soothe our baby so fast, it was like magic.
My husband and I really wanted to be part of the first 5 weeks and not just "outsource" everything to Emo, so we got involved and also had opinions about certain things (e.g., how long a baby should nap, whether it was too cold/too hot, whether baby should have more food). There were times when we'd insist on trying something one way, and she'd totally be game, even though she might disagree (and most of the time, we came around to doing it her way in the end). I really liked that about her. She'd also give us our time and space when we wanted it.
** Kind ** best part about Emo is that she's so kind and nurturing. She loved our baby as if he were family. She cared for us in the same way. She felt like family, and it made the experience that much more comfortable and enjoyable.
** Things that helped make it successful**
- Constant communication was key, especially at the beginning. There were some things that she thought was not an issue that we did (for example, she didn't think it was any problem to put a burp cloth in the bassinet with the baby, and we wanted nothing in there). When we saw that happen for the first time, we told her our preferences, and she respected them from then on out. We'd sit down and talk together every few days about things that needed to be tweaked, and plan out the next few days.
- We would have to tell her to chill out every once in awhile to make sure she didn't work herself to exhaustion. One thing we did was order-in delivery every once in awhile and tell her to just rest instead of preparing dinner. That helped a lot
- By the last week, I had to insist that she watch me do something and teach me (like bathing or burping). It was super helpful to have her just do everything - that's how I was able to focus on my recovery. But by the end, she needed to coach us.
- My korean is terrible, so sometimes we would write things down (e.g., when we were splitting up night shifts). I'd make sure to check that we're understanding each other multiple times on critical topics.
I am so grateful for Cindy emo. She is an experienced post-partum caretaker and a wonderful person to be part of a parent's first few weeks!