For our Super MAMA features, resident Sistrhood mum Joanna speaks to mum’s who are spending their days balancing sleep deprivation, nappies, baby puke and chores alongside their passions and creative outputs.

SUPER MAMA : YOUNG_GUMS

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Super Mama Beth Bentley, aka @YOUNG_GUMS, is whipping up an Instagram storm quite literally in the kitchen with her badass baby food. Posting seriously aesthetically pleasing images of her full-of-goodness recipes, Beth, an East London brand strategist and ex-consumer journalist is spending her maternity leave having fun weaning her six-month-old baby girl, who even with the yummiest food going, still loves to throw a little bit of her grub at her mama. What baby doesn’t? And we don’t blame them, weaning is the best way to have messy fun.

I’ve tried and tested some of Beth’s recipes with my own babes, (the hummus and baby pina colada are such great summer wins for both toddlers and teenies) and I was definitely gutted that there were no leftovers. (Although I did save a bit of the baby pina colada to add rum to one evening, how convenient!)

We did a Q&A with Beth to talk about becoming a mama, her YOUNG GUMS concept, and favourite Sisterhood moments.

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When did you become a mama? How did you feel when you found out the news?


Nearly seven months ago. We planned a home birth but on the night, I ended up in the operating theatre. Finding out I was pregnant was one of those real-life-movie moments when time goes bendy. There’s just no excitement like it.

How did becoming a mama affect your lifestyle? Were you ready for it?


Life is SO different now. I chose to have very little time off before the baby arrived so I was heavily pregnant and busy working full-tilt. At home we were powering through the messy end of a year-long renovation, so life was hectic but thankfully I’d done a hypnobirthing course, loads of pregnancy yoga and pilates, and had a doula, so I had plenty of help to prepare my body and mind for mama-hood. When the baby arrived I immediately saw the world differently – it was like we’d moved to another planet. I shut off from everything and slowed right down for the first time. I noticed stuff I’d never spotted before (nature-y things in the park, streets I’d never been down) and started feeling part of a community I didn’t know existed. Since then I’ve kept life nice and slow, but like all mums I’ve learned to speed up in a thousand other ways. I can now multi-task like a trooper, and of course…cook with one hand.

What led you to the concept behind YOUNG GUMS?

At home, we scratch-cook and eat pretty consciously. Living in London Fields it’s impossible not to be interested in food – we’re surrounded by an incredible food scene that seems to evolve on a weekly basis. Despite my love of cooking I actually wasn’t counting the days til my baby started solids. I was loving the connection and convenience of breastfeeding far more than I ever expected to, and real food felt like the end of an era. I thought if I made feeding into a creative project to share with other mamas then it’d feel like an adventure.

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On a more serious note, the ingredients lists of some of the big commercial baby foods make pretty appalling reading. I was so shocked that I started researching infant nutrition and couldn’t stop. I read so much, spoke to mums of all generations, and consulted professionals but I was left even more confused. There’s so much conflicting advice about what to offer, when, how often, and in what quantity.
As mothers we’re tired. Our babies are teething. Refusing to nap. We’re juggling so many things: baby stuff, relationships, friendships, work, running our homes. I didn’t want feeding my baby to become a source of stress, or feel guilty about making uninformed decisions. I wanted it to be fun and was desperate for inspiration on healthy (genuinely, actually, nutritionally, healthy), interesting, easy, quick baby meal ideas from someone with high standards that I could trust. I wished I could find a food writer or blogger who ‘gets’ me and understands my life. I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I did it myself. Instagram was the obvious place. Mama’s iPhone = mama’s lifeline.

What made you go for it and share your knowledge with the world?

It was a conversation I had with a paediatric dietician. I met her at a local playgroup and asked: “did you give your own babies baby rice as a first food?” She shook her head, said she’d taken a simpler approach shunning most modern commercially-processed baby foods. That was all the impetus I needed. The food industry that’s supposed to make this important parenting task easier is actually making it harder and more confusing by serving up shelves of pretty nutritionally-inadequate packets and pots, presented as ‘healthy’ choices with vague descriptions like ‘no nasties’ and ‘pure’. That’s the point of view behind Young Gums: that feeding a baby mindfully is way harder than it should be.

How has it made you feel being able to pass on guidance and recipes?

Well, I’m very new at it, but it’s great. Every day I’m finding more mothers who eat well themselves – taking a mindful approach and generally choosing clean real food – and want nothing less for their babies and children. Within a day of going live, I had messages of support from well-known nutritionists in Australia and L.A., as well as from some brilliant British mum bloggers. Since then food writers, journalists, parenting experts and even the legendary Annabel Karmel have liked and commented. I love it when a mum likes one of my recipes. Some tag friends, others tell me how one of my suggestions went down with their own babies. I’m now being asked for ideas on specific things, and mums are joining in little Insta chats to suggest what works well for them. So we’re all helping each other.

How has your mindset and attitude to life changed since becoming a mum?

Time has become so much more precious. Both in the sense of having to strategically choose my moment to nip to the loo; and that funny little lump-in-throat feeling I get looking at pictures from just a couple of months ago.

Has motherhood led you to meet any Mamas with a similar outlook? 

Most definitely. I’ve met some of the most inspiring, kind, interesting, brave, funny, impressive and capable women I’ve ever known. I struck gold with my NCT group, and again when I started joining in the brilliant MothersMeetings events. Starting Young Gums has connected me with so many like-minded mamas, some in different countries. Motherhood can feel solitary at times so nurturing a likeminded little mum-gang, whether real or virtual, is a powerful thing.

What does Sisterhood mean to you?

Mothers supporting mothers. I’ve found real sisterhood in motherhood. Every mum’s way of mothering is different but something invisible binds us together. Mothers are naturally very supportive of each other. I think becoming a mother makes your caring, nurturing tendencies burn brighter.

What’s your most memorable ‘sisterhood’ moment?


That time my mum arrived, soaking wet from a freezing rain downpour, with a handbag full of chocolate biscuits and a beautiful hand-knitted baby cardigan. She made pot after pot of tea, cooked dinner, bathed the baby, magically induced a nap, then did my ironing. If that isn’t sisterhood, I don’t know what is.

Top 5 mum tips : 

1. Be kind. To yourself, your man, and other mums.

2. Slow down. When we’re old ladies we’ll think this was a golden time in our lives. Don’t let it be a blur of stress and anxiety.

3. Speed up. 30 seconds absorbed in a toy = full hair & make-up. 45m naptime = solve world peace.

4. Yoga. Conjure up two mins a day for yoga stretching and breathing.

5. Learn to cook one-handed (I can help with that one)

Check out Beth on Instagram @YOUNG_GUMS and if you need some inspiration, we’ve popped her most popular recipes below. All images are from YOUNG_GUMS feed.

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