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Plant-Based Living + A Positive Breastfeeding Journey - Q&A with Josephine Elaine

Hi Mamamates!

Parenting looks absolutely different for everyone, which is why we love talking to all of the amazing parents in the Mamamade community; to get an insight into their parenting styles and weaning journeys.

Today we’re chatting to Josephine Elaine (who you have probably seen on our Instagram feed before!) all about her plant-based lifestyle, mindful parenting, her breastfeeding journey, and how our Mamamade toddler ready meals and finger foods fit into her mealtime planning…

One image of Josephine Elaine holding her daughter, and another of them both opening a pink Mamamade box

💭 Hi Josephine! Tell us a bit about yourself...
Hi Mamamade! I’m Josephine, mama to a wonderfully wild toddler and passionate about living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

💭 Describe your motherhood experience in five words...
All-consuming, beautiful, hilarious, magical + exhausting.

💭 You’ve chosen to live a plant-based, health-conscious and vegan lifestyle - do you have any tips for parents looking to raise their little ones the same way?
Yes! I’ve been vegan for coming up to 7 years, and Summer has been vegan since conception. Raising vegan kids is actually easier than it seems - a wide range of plant foods, legumes, fruits, and grains, and if you’re looking to transition to a vegan lifestyle, there are always meat replacements, so you can still eat all your favourite meals!

As I personally chose to be vegan for ethical reasons, I made sure to educate Summer about animal foods and dairy products from an early age - it’s as simple as making her aware that Mama’s milk was for her and Cow’s milk was for baby cows! There are many great child-friendly books that make it easy for them to understand veganism.

Image of Josephine picking her daughter up on her shoulders and image of both of them sitting next to a pile of Mamamade meals

💭 How did you find your baby weaning journey with Summer? Any highs and lows?
Our weaning journey was so much fun. I remember her first food was avocado and she LOVED it. She had fruits and bits of whatever was on my plate for the first few months, but she loved her food from a super early age.

The only difficult thing about our weaning journey was the food aversions as she grew older, it was sometimes frustrating seeing her not want to eat veggies and legumes she used to love! Luckily, now she’s older, she’s happy to try foods before deciding whether or not she wants to eat it!

💭 What are your favourite plant-based meals to cook?
I feel like you can’t go wrong with a spaghetti bolognese! We use a mix of mushrooms, carrots, lentils + walnuts to replace the mince so it’s super nutritious! We’re also huge fans of tacos, and switch up the filling often to ensure we’re getting a variety of nutrients.

Josephine's daughter baking some plant-based cookies

💭 You’ve been incredibly open about your breastfeeding journey on your Instagram - would you be happy to share a little about your journey with our community?
Our breastfeeding journey was so magical. There’s something so special about that connection with your baby. I decided to do extended breastfeeding- so Summer had breastmilk on demand and through the night until she was just over 2.5 years old.

I made the decision to ‘wean’ her as I felt as though my mental health was struggling and I needed my body back. I simply explained to her that now she was getting bigger she could have ‘big kid’ milk. She was so excited about being a big kid, so we went to the shop and she picked out a plant-based milk and her own bottle to have instead. After that, she said she didn’t want Mama’s yucky milk as she was a big kid now!

💭 How did you feel once your breastfeeding journey came to an end, and how do you feel now?
I felt as though we were both ready for it to end. I’m glad she was old enough to understand that she couldn’t have it anymore, and I remember feeling relieved when she stopped. I’m definitely glad I listened to my body, I think if I carried on any longer, I wouldn’t have had such fond memories of it.

Josephine Elaine breastfeeding her daughter

💭 How do you approach mindful parenting with Summer? What have you found works well for you both?
Mindful parenting for me, is treating a child like a human rather than someone who you have authority over. It’s talking about feelings from a young age, so she’s able to communicate what she’s feeling, and giving her the tools to learn to overcome big feelings herself at times.

By giving her a choice or re-directing rather than simply saying ‘no’, she can learn to make decisions by herself. Rather than stopping her from doing ‘dangerous’ things, I simply ask whether she feels safe - which makes her more aware of her body and mindful of how she’s moving and interacting with other things.

💭 How does Mamamade fit into your schedule as a family?
Our days just seem to keep getting busier! Mamamade is definitely a lifesaver a lot of the time. As a mama who is so passionate about giving Summer nutrient-rich foods, it’s great to have Mamamade toddler ready meals to hand when we don’t have time to cook from scratch. Summer is always so excited to choose her meal + I love knowing that there’s so much goodness going into her body.

💭 And last but not least, which fresh organic Mamamade toddler meals and finger foods are Summer’s favourite?
The Mango Pancakes are definitely a firm favourite! She’s also a huge fan of the Spiced Veg + Lentil Medley as well as the Five Spice Rice Bites.

Josephine's daughter, Summer, stacking packs of Mamamade meals

Thank you so much to Josephine for giving us such an insight into your life, motherhood and plant-based living 🌱

Make sure to follow Josephine on Instagram here!

Love, Team Mamamade x

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