Last updated on Jun 25th, 2015 at 12:21 pm

During a charity gap year after matric, I decided (with some help and encouragement from my folks) that I wanted to understand the science of food as well as my father did.  Fast forward about five years (university degree, oversees working holiday, jobs, marriage and so on) and I become more and more aware that food plays a very important role in becoming pregnant, because the functioning of our bodies are greatly influenced by the food we consume, as well as the lifestyle we live.

Being a food scientist changed the mommy journey for me and I am grateful for the knowledge.

At 31, I finally fell pregnant and I displayed some preferences that were frowned upon, like not going near microwave ovens, not having cell phones around and asking about artificial ingredients in the foods that I was offered. I was aware of how well our bodies are designed to look after our babies while we are pregnant, and that after being born, the big responsibility lies with us as parents to try and get as close as we can to the way our babies are taken care of in the womb.

The first time I held Remi, I was overwhelmed by my thoughts of how to protect my little one against what this world can bring? I didn’t realise then that food & nutrition may hold such big challenges in this journey. I recall thinking that breastfeeding was my last chance to send some goodness from my body to his and it involved extended retail searches for fennel tea and eating lots of veggies with nutmeg (okay maybe a bit too much) while dreaming about a peaceful and happy baby, which indeed he was.

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I was in moms heaven when I gave him his first taste of diluted freshly squeezed orange juice from sweet oranges grown organically in my back garden. I realised what deep primal satisfaction it awakened in me to feel that I am caring for his needs in a way that was really the best I could give.

We ended up having three boys (Remi, Felix and Jannes now seven, five and three years old) in five years and my husband and I could not believe how blessed (and ofcourse, busy) we were when the third one arrived.

We wanted our boys to have a good relationship with food and introduced lots of variety, interesting combinations, allowed lots of messing and playing with their food.

I remember vividly how my husband had fun combining special meats & veggies in a blender and dishing up the finest for our kids while enjoying feeding every spoonful that was awaited eagerly and sometimes rather impatiently.

A few things I have learnt as a mom:

  • What was done in the past is not always the best thing to do now, like feeding your baby cereal as a first food. Veggies are a lot easier for babies to digest and they should be getting loads of goodness from all the natural colours of the rainbow.
  • Have fun with nature’s gifts like blending a cupful of raspberries and a quarter raw grated beetroot, sieve the pieces and pips out and give it to your little ones to eat and play with in the bath – edible finger paint!
  • Don’t stop giving your baby something like avocado or unsweetened yoghurt because they don’t like it at first. They may not want it because they are not used to the taste or texture and you need to keep on trying with weekly intervals (Ofcourse, this is not applicable to food allergy, sensitivity and intolerance)
  • If you want toddlers to keep on enjoying veggies, be clever about how you give it to them, i.e. upon lunch or dinner time, ‘accidentally’ have the freshly steamed veggies or salad ready before everything else – by doing that you teach them to appreciate veggies and salad on its own without any competition on the plate.

What a delight to be involved with the Bumbles™ Baby Food range as the brief stated: Use the freshest ingredients, deliver the most flavourful combinations, create the tastiest baby food on the supermarket shelves. I believe in natural living in my personal life as well as in my job as a food scientist and product developer – that is to eliminate artificial ingredients as far as possible, and aim to achieve the best food with the best ingredients in the most natural way of producing it.

I believe in natural living in my personal life and in my job as a food scientist and product developer.

This discipline is not shared by all, so we need to be very aware of what we choose on the shelf, especially when it comes to convenience foods. Sometimes the best option takes a bit more energy. Having said that, I also want to emphasize that there should be no room for guilt, so examine all things carefully, but hold fast to your sanity (and all of which is good).

Sometimes a jar of baby food can be the difference between a relaxed and loving family and a less affectionate affair – just then let it be Bumbles™!