Want to serve your baby fresh, healthy homemade food but wondering where to start, what to make and where to find the time to actually do it? Enter Mamamade.
The brand that has revolutionised babyfood as we know it. This is not a puree or processed ready-meal of any sort, but pre-portioned creative combos of fruit, veggies, pulses and grains (flash-frozen at their peak nutrition), ready for you to steam, blend, roast, or get as creative as you like – complete with recipe cards to inspire.
Founded by Sophie M Baron, former US Vogue contributor and mother of 21-month-old Liba, Mamamade was born out of the lack of options for busy parents looking for healthy, tasty, homemade food for their little ones.
We caught up with Sophie to find out more…
HI SOPHIE, TELL US ABOUT MAMAMADE, HOW DID IT ALL COME ABOUT?
Mamamade has grown out of my kitchen and a genuine passion for feeding my baby healthy, organic and home-cooked meals that would teach her to love food and bold flavours. But like most new mums, despite all my best intentions I really struggled to keep up with the pace of weaning and struggled to introduce variety – because I was scraping by for each meal.
I would spend a lot of time on Instagram wondering how on earth people managed to prepare all those gorgeous plates and interesting finger foods for their babies – like I genuinely was just about able to steam a sweet potato (and I’m someone who cooks a lot, usually!)
I was struggling to keep things interesting, but at the same time, I really didn’t want to have to resort to long-life ready meals and pouches for that support and help I needed. I really felt like there had to be a better way – a way to empower parents like myself to cook at home for their children, in a way that would be interesting and flavourful and nutritious – but without compromising on anything for the sake of convenience. I started developing the mixes from my kitchen and testing them with my own baby and all my friends and their babies, and it’s taken off from there!
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Oh boy – each day is so different, but I’m someone who really benefits from structure so I try to keep some semblance of a routine. I wake up early – usually well before 6. I like having a bit of time to myself to get centred (and have my first coffee of the day!) before my daughter wakes up and things go a little crazy! I’ll do some bits around the house, get myself ready for the day and check in on emails before she wakes up around 7.
Liba’s in nursery during the week, which has been an absolute blessing for us – it’s enabled me to pursue Mamamade whilst knowing that she gets amazing care and attention and stimulation. That said, I love that I get to spend a bit of time together in the morning before I drop her off.
Then it’s usually a busy day of meetings, speaking with customers, and managing stock and production. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen testing out new recipes, which is so exciting (and so much fun!) – we’ve got some exciting launches planned for September, so it’s been really fun working on those projects and all of the bits and bobs that go along with it. We’re still a really small team which means I get to stay hands-on involved in nearly every aspect of the business, which I love.
Somewhere in there I’ll try and get in a spin class or go for a long walk – both of those activities are my form of meditation. With so much going on in my head, it’s really important for me to force myself to take 45 minutes without my phone at some point during the day.
Whenever I can do it, I fetch Liba by 5.30 so that we can have some more time together before bed. She’s 21 months now and it’s such a delicious age – every day she has a new word, and it’s such a delight to be able to actually chat with her!
I’ll usually work a bit more in the evening once she’s gone to sleep – catching up on emails or just doing what can be done from behind the screen – then asleep by 10pm. I’ve gotten really strict with that bedtime, as if I was a child! It doesn’t make me the most exciting dinner date, but it enables me to get a good night’s sleep and make the most of each day without running myself in to the ground!
HOW DO YOU JUGGLE MOTHERHOOD AND LAUNCHING A NEW BUSINESS?
I have two mantras that keep me going – the first is that every single person on this planet, even the most successful and inspiring business people, has 24 hours in their day. I realise it sounds a bit obnoxious, maybe, but it was a total wakeup call for me the first time I heard it. I used to complain a lot about not having the time to do things, but this mantra flips that thinking on its head – I have the time to do everything. I just have to manage it wisely. Which leads into my next mantra! That it’s not about how many hours I work, it’s about the work I put into those hours.
So on that note, I’m really strict about drawing boundaries between Mamamade and my time with Liba – it definitely gets blurred at times (like when I use her as a guinea pig for recipe testing!), but on the whole I don’t do any work or even think about work when I’m with her. I give her my full, undivided attention. And when I’m working, I focus on work and trust that Liba is in good hands and being well-taken care of. It takes effort to do this, of course – but the payoff is worth it!
And it really is a team effort. My husband is an amazing support (he’s to thank for my early bedtime!) He has the flexibility to do drop off or pick up if I’m not able to, and it’s so special to see their relationship blossom.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND WORKING AT US VOGUE, WWD BEAUTY INC AND CONDE NAST TRAVELER. HAS IT INFLUENCED MAMAMADE IN ANY WAY?
I’ve always loved magazines and writing – I dreamt of being a magazine editor, so getting hired at Vogue was one of the best moments of my life. I learned so much from my time working at various Conde Nast publications, particularly as assistant to Vogue’s editor-at-large, and I still carry those experiences with me. I learned so much about attention to detail – and that editorial approach is certainly one of our values at Mamamade. With our mixes, we are committed to making sure that every ingredient serves a purpose and that there’s no unnecessary processing or additions.
From a content perspective, we are currently building out a larger bank of resources and the editorial approach is one that we are bringing to that project. I’m not interested in creating any content just for content’s sake, or to improve SEO or whatnot – I want to ensure that the content we provide for our community is of actual value and interest, is aesthetically pleasing, and promotes our message and mission of empowering time-strapped new parents.
HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
Black, strong, and about three times a day!
TOP TIPS FOR MOTHERS WHO HAVE JUST STARTING WEANING THEIR LITTLE ONES?
I always say that the most important thing is to stay calm and have fun – there seems to be a sort of collective silent hysteria about doing it ‘right’ or making sure to tick all the boxes on a weaning chart. The weaning chart is so unnecessary – it’s not really about what you’re feeding your baby as much as how you’re approaching the process. This process is about teaching your baby and exploring flavours and textures, not trying to fill tiny bellies (there’s milk for that!)
I would say that the most important goal for weaning is to view it as an educational process – it’s about teaching your child to be confident around food and happy sitting at the table. So weaning should be a delightful experience for them – when feeding, get excited about the food you’re giving. Don’t shy away from providing your baby with foods that are big on flavour and aromatics – it only makes food more interesting. And give them a chance to see and play with the real ingredients that they are eating – because what they can see and feel, they are more likely to trust and therefore more likely to taste and enjoy.
You can’t rush weaning – it’s an ongoing process of learning and teaching that carries on throughout their toddler years. Also not to forget that it can take up to 20 tastes for a baby to decide he or she likes something! Keep offering, stay calm, and all will be well!
FAVOURITE MAMAMADE POUCH?
I’m loving one of our newer flavours – White Beans, Cauliflower & Rosemary. I’ve actually been having it myself for lunch on the side of some fish or on top of toast with some additional olive oil on top! It’s really creamy and the savoury hit of rosemary is extremely satisfying!
My daughter loves the kale, banana & coconut one – I used to puree it for her when she was a baby, but now we use it for smoothies with some extra frozen berries. She calls it ice cream!
WHAT’S NEXT – BUSINESS OR PERSONAL – THIS SUMMER?
Sounds boring, but mostly business! We’re gearing up for more exciting things to come in September, which means a lot of nonstop work while everyone else holidays! That said, we have some business for Mamamade that’s bringing us out to the Bath area quite a bit this summer, which always feels like a mini break – even when it’s just for a day. I’ve lived in the UK for 5 years now and I’m embarrassed to say it’s only since starting Mamamade that I’ve been out in the countryside – and it’s so freaking beautiful and peaceful! For the last week of August, we’ll meet my family out on Paros – so we can reset before going full steam ahead in September!
GO TO: mamamadefood.com
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Inspiration/Image Credits: mamamadefood.com