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 Clare Potts (otherwise known by her IG handle @thelifelately, who you have probably seen on our Instagram feed before!) all about weaning a baby alongside feeding a toddler, returning back to work after maternity leave and how our Mamamade toddler ready meals and finger foods fit into her mealtime planning…
Hey Clare! Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m Clare, I live in Manchester with my two little girls (Eva, 4 and Ottie, 1) and my husband. We just got married a few months ago, I’m not used to saying husband yet!
I work in tech as my day job but have been blogging for nearly 15 years alongside, it’s great to have a creative hobby as well as a 9-5. As a family we love going on little adventures, watching films at the cinema and going out for lunch.
Raising two little ones under four! Be honest, how are you finding it?
It is a challenge! When Ottie was a newborn I found it so much harder, juggling their very different needs felt almost impossible. But now she’s older and can play happily with Eva or independently it’s so much easier.
I used to find mealtimes really stressful but now Ottie can sit in her high chair and feed herself, family dinner time is one of my favourite times of day! Mamamade helps so much with this too because they can both enjoy the same meals now, it takes the stress away from having to make something from scratch if I’ve had a busy day at work.
How have you found the balance between weaning a baby, while also feeding a toddler? Has it been easier or more difficult than expected?
One of the best things about weaning Ottie is that Eva wants to get involved, she absolutely loves preparing their food with me, whether it’s helping to chop veg or popping a Mamamade meal in the microwave. I love how much she wants to help and how much Ottie loves her helping her too.
Because Eva’s been really happy to be involved, it’s made it much easier than I expected. Ottie’s really open to trying new flavours and textures, especially when her big sister is showing her how.
Has your weaning journey differed much between Eva and Ottie?
Eva had quite a few allergies when she was a baby which meant weaning with her was quite stressful, but thankfully Ottie hasn’t had any reactions.
With Eva I was very focused on making everything from scratch, mainly so I could control the ingredients to avoid allergic reactions. I was pretty hard on myself when, looking back, it should have been a time to be kind to myself.
With Ottie I still make a lot from scratch but I’m much more relaxed about adding in a Mamamade meal here and a pouch there.
You recently finished Maternity Leave and headed back to full-time work - how has the transition been the second time around?
It’s taken a lot of getting used to! It’s relentless, I wake up at 6am and don’t stop until the girls are in bed, even then I’ve got cleaning, tidying and blog work to do. But I think because I’ve done it before, it wasn’t as much of a shock to the system this time.
It’s taken a while to feel confident in my role again, the team has changed quite a lot in the 10 months I was away and imposter syndrome is a constant battle. But I’m getting there, I just have to remember I’m talking to grown ups rather than small children!
The juggle is real.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to a mum returning to the workplace?
Be kind to yourself as much as you can, it’s such a hard transition and putting pressure on yourself only makes it harder.
Also, take advantage of your lunch break! Watch a bit of TV, eat something hot, drink a full cup of tea, those restorative moments really do help.
You recently shared the most beautiful photo of you breastfeeding Ottie on your wedding day. How have you found your breastfeeding journey with both of your children?
I love that photo, I’m so glad my husband snapped it! We’ve been really lucky with our breastfeeding journeys. Both girls got it straight away and thankfully we’ve not had any major issues.
How does Mamamade fit into your schedule as a family?
It fits in so well, like I said I make a lot of meals from scratch so the Mamamade fingers foods and purees are great to use as sides and ingredients.
I also love having a stash of healthy, nutritious meals in the freezer that the girls will eat happily ready to go if I’ve not had time to prep anything that day.
The fact that when the box is delivered it’s left on the doorstep is genius too, it means I don’t need to worry about having to be in or not being able to get to the door (being nap trapped meant so many parcels went to the sorting office in the early days!) when it arrives.
September = back to school! How are you feeling about Eva going starting pre-school? Do you feel prepared? Is she excited?
Eva’s starting preschool in September, at the primary school that she’ll go to next year! She’s the oldest in her class so quite a few of her friends are starting school properly this year.
I’m so excited for her, she is so ready for the next stage and cannot wait to go to ‘big school’, she’s been talking about it for months! I cannot believe it’s come round so quickly, I’ve got a few things left to do but the main jobs (uniform and after school club) have been tackled!
Last but not least, which meals and finger foods are your girls’ faves?
They both love the pancakes, their favourites are the Mango and Banana flavours! They both also love the Kale Pesto Pasta. Ottie loves the Five Spice Rice Bites too, these are perfect for a quick snack on the go or to go with her lunch.
Ottie’s recent favourite are the porridges, these are my go to for the days when she’s at home with me.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us, Clare! We hope you all enjoyed catching up with Clare as much as we did 💜
Love, Sophie & Team Mamamade x