Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 05:17 pm

Billie-Clare Dryden-Schofield is a mom of five and founder of the Bumblesâ?¢ brand which includes weaning workshops and a recently launched (and, already successful) baby food range. We sat down with her to chat about weaning, making baby food and being a mom. We also snuck in a question or two about her food inspiration and the contents of her fridge!

1. How did Bumblesâ?¢ come about?

I had three boys and wanted a little girl more than anything in the world, after many prayers and an operation or three, I finally gave birth to Emma May. When Emma turned five months I noticed a decrease in my breastmilk supply. As with all breastfeeding moms, my boobs were sensitive, I was tired, hungry, thirsty and suffering indigestion – all of which I assumed were just side effects of breastfeeding. Little did I know that I was nearly 13 weeks pregnant!

My world came crashing down, I couldnâ??t believe it, five children… NO WAYS! I was completely devastated and couldnâ??t believe it. I mean, I had done two failed IVFs, various operations and all I wanted was one little girl and now, I was pregnant again.

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Katherine Lucy, my littlest of the lot, was born on my birthday, with a birth mark in exactly the same place as my late father. She was our gift and, although I didnâ??t know what or how I was going to manage, I believed that she was here for a reason. With the financial pressure to make ends meet, I began to make homemade baby food for friends, who loved it. I started small weaning workshops to help moms feed their little ones and also sold the food through my cookery clubâ?¦the rest is history!

2. Describe Bumblesâ?¢ Baby Food in three words

  • Delicious

  • Nutritious

  • Superfood

3. How did you choose the flavours for the Bumblesâ?¢ range?

Having had five children and with a passion for healthy living and cooking, I experimented with different purees and changed my favourite recipes to suit my babyâ??s needs. They werenâ??t all delicious – my poor kids endured some rather revolting combinations, poor things!

4. Which flavour is your personal favourite?

Oh, thatâ??s a difficult question!

  • Stage 1: Apple & Rooibos Tea

  • Stage 2: Beetroot & Apple

  • Stage 3: Sweet Potato Dahl.

The favourite from the entire range would be Beetroot & Apple.

5. Some of your flavours have unexpected combinations â?? are there certain chefs or books that you look to for inspiration?

Oh goodness, I love Jamie Oliver, his recipes are so incredibly simple but delicious. Being blessed with such a big family, I couldnâ??t make a meal of his for everyone, so I used his recipes as inspiration and adjusted them to suit my familyâ??s needs â?? the results were phenomenal! I love Annabel Karmel too, she is probably the queen of baby food! I recommend her books to all of the moms who attend our workshops.

6. What makes Bumblesâ?¢ different to other baby foods?

I get asked this question many times, which is why I wrote the blog post ‘How Bumbles Baby Food is made‘ but in short, I insisted that we make it just how our moms make it at home. Once you open up one of our jars you will immediately taste, smell and see the difference. Our ingredients are all nutrient-rich superfoods, including quinoa. We source fresh ingredients and do not use any concentrates or fillers whatsoever.

As a mom I know how important it is for our little ones to be given the best start in life, to get them on the right path to healthy eating and to offer them the most nutrient-rich fruit and vegetables available. I wouldnâ??t give my kids anything else!

7. What is your number one weaning tip for moms?

DONâ??T STRESS! Your little one can feel your emotion and will pick up on it. You are doing a great job, believe in yourself and your mother instinct. Donâ??t let anyone tell you otherwise.

8. What is the worst piece of baby weaning advice you have ever heard?

I get upset when I constantly hear moms being told to start weaning their babies sooner than they should! The WHO (World Health Organisation) clearly states to start feeding baby at six months, yet our moms are being told by trusted professionals to start sooner. Your little one will start showing signs that they are ready. Keep a look out for their signals, not those of the clock or calendar.

9. Feeding your baby pre-made baby food almost gets the same reaction that formula feeding does â?? a snarky side eye. What do you have to say to those who have a negative association with pre-made baby food?

I spoke to a paediatric gastroenterolist about this too. The fact of the matter is, like formula, it does have its place and offers massive benefits. Many moms who desperately want to breastfeed, canâ??t for various reasons and by offering formula to their baby they are still making sure that their babyâ??s nutritional needs are met. Itâ??s the same with ready-made baby food. All the different brands on the shelf offer some benefit to the consumer, it depends on the needs.

I created the Bumblesâ?¢ Baby Food range as I just felt that I could bring something healthier, tastier and much more nutritious and also something trusted to the moms of South Africa. There was nothing on the market that I was prepared to feed my little girls and I knew from my cookery club that there was a desperate need for something different.

I remember one of the moms visiting me one day. Out of the blue she popped in and she held my hand and said â??Billie-Clare you have to do this, we, the working moms, donâ??t just want this, our babies NEED this, you cannot stop, no matter how difficult it is, you cannot stop!â? Those words stuck with me and gave me enough motivation to get the job done.

Bumblesâ?¢ just offers moms more choice, thatâ??s all, our products are different, there is no doubt about it, all you have to do is open a jar and taste it â?? it speaks for itself.

10. What are your tips for moms when choosing a pre-made baby food to feed their little ones?

Firstly, labels! You must read your labels. The Department of Health has implemented extremely strict labelling laws, especially for products in the baby food sector. This has caused quite a stir amongst the bigger companies but our government has made these laws to protect us. We need to know what we are eating and if itâ??s not on the label then how do we know?

Does it look, smell or taste like it should? Letâ??s face it, baby food isnâ??t great, we all want to move onto ‘big’ food as soon as we can, which is another benefit of Baby Led Weaning, however, just because you donâ??t like something, doesnâ??t mean your baby doesnâ??t like it, youâ??ll be surprised at what they like!

11. What is your favourite family recipe?

Really? How can you ask me that! I have so many but I think my slow-roast leg of lamb, winter spinach salad with herby roasted vegetable couscous – #loveit

12. Complete the sentence: In my kitchen, you will always findâ?¦

My top superfoods (and crème fraiche):

  • Carrots

  • Celery

  • Onions

  • Baby Spinach

  • Peas

  • Broccoli

  • Every type of pasta shape

13. And this one: you know youâ??re a parent whenâ?¦

You only have 1% of time left for yourself, the remaining 99% is for your kids!

14. Where can moms find the Bumblesâ?¢ range?

It is available in selected Dischem stores nationwide (see our stockists page).

15. The baby food market continues to expand, whatâ??s next for Bumblesâ?¢?

I can confirm that we have five more jars, which include a meat range, launching early next year. We also have a lots of other new and exciting products coming, but for now, as much I want to…I canâ??t tell you (sorry!)

For more on Bumblesâ?¢, visit their website: http://bumbles.co.za/