Mimi’s Bowl : How I found myself in the grips of “babyfood panic”

  • Ergobaby
  • Apr 30, 2018
Mimi's Bowl | Miriam Cooper

Miriam Cooper is the founder of Mimi’s Bowl.
She cooks modern baby and toddler recipes, from her home in West London. Mum to one little girl, now 3 years old, and with another baby on the way. She is on a mission is to end, what she calls “babyfood panic”. Miriam shares daily what they eat at home, via her Instagram feed; she is well worth a follow for parent-friendly recipes and ideas.


How I found myself in the grips of “babyfood panic

As a mum with a three-year-old daughter and with another baby on the way, I have been through my share of culinary highs and lows. When my daughter was born one of the many challenges for me as a new mum proved to be food. As we approached her time to start weaning I found myself agonising over her first tastes and first solid foods; even this simplest of tasks raised a barrage of questions. I was gripped by “babyfood panic”, the only words I can find to describe my feelings of helplessness. And after sleepless nights, my anxious and exhausted state of mind didn’t help guide me. I believe I am not alone. Learning to feed your baby is at times extremely daunting, especially a first baby. Nothing had prepared me for this next challenge with my little girl.


Like most parents I began looking for advice about how best to get started: I found myself even more confused. Cartoon illustrations of fruit and vegetables danced around complicated recipes. There were long lists of out of season ingredients (that I don’t often buy), in strange flavour combinations: anyone for banana mashed with avocado? Or fish pureed with fruit? What I produced looked, smelt and tasted awful. I had simply no desire to eat it myself; instinctively this is not how I wanted to feed my young daughter.

I tried it all: from the expensive ‘all-in-one steaming and pureeing machine’ – that then required 30 minutes to take it apart and clean it, after each use… To the ice cube trays that froze solid so I couldn’t remove the food (you need freezing trays with a soft silicon shell)… I tried pureeing every fruit and vegetable my greengrocer had; initially fighting seasonality, because I had read somewhere about a specific list of fruits and vegetables that were good first foods to try…


My sense of babyfood panic just escalated, something had to change, or give. I was in a relentless pattern of preparing multiple meals and snacks a day, often only achieving a few mouthfuls of any, at a given meal. The effort and time I was investing, wasn’t seeing any return. So, I began to change and take confidence in doing things my own way. I cooked recipes that my daughter liked and that I could adapt and eat too. Who has time to make babyfood and then cook for themselves? I rejected expensive equipment for a simple hand blender and soft structured ice cube tray, both of which could go in a dishwasher. I tried to cook once and eat twice, by making more than I needed, in preparation for other meals. I stopped blending fruit with everything and started to develop my daughter’s palette from bitter to sweet tastes, using flavour combinations that are delicious. I strongly believe we shouldn’t privilege sweet flavours for babies from the outset; something so many baby food recipes do unnecessarily. I combined baby purees with baby led weaning (or finger foods), as there is no reason why you have to pick one approach over the other. And slowly I got to grips with my initial babyfood panic.

Mimi's Bowl | Kitchen Cupboard Pea Risotto

Kitchen Cupboard Pea Risotto

Mimi's Bowl | Quick Oven Baked Eggs

Quick Oven Baked Eggs

Mimi's Bowl | Yoghurt & Fruit Ice Pops

Yoghurt & Fruit Ice Pops

My experiences led me to start a blog and Instagram feed called Mimi’s Bowl; I wanted to reach out to other parents, who felt as I did. Firstly, to put an end to babyfood panic, and talk about it, but secondly to really re-think babyfood and family food, for a busy modern parent. There are so few relatable parent voices out there and even less tried and tested parent friendly recipes. Only a parent, who has been there, understands the determined rejection given by your baby, toddler, or child, when they repulse at the sight of food, you have lovingly made for them. I would personally challenge any professional chef not to quake at the very thought of a baby, or toddler diner, sitting at one of their tables. When I started talking to other parents, carers or grandparents cooking for little ones they could all relate: recounting similar stories.


As I approach the birth of my second child I have vowed to enjoy the experience more this time. Weaning should be a baby eating adventure: an experience for you to share and even enjoy with your baby. So, this time I’ll be taking a leaf out of my own book: I’ll be embracing the mess, enjoying the small moments of food success and laughing (mostly to myself) when my baby demonstrates “feedback”. (You are free to laugh too, if you want to follow my adventures and mis-adventures online). One thing I am certain of is there is no room for babyfood panic at my kitchen table anymore.


For more from Mimi’s Bowl visit www.mimisbowl.com or follow Miriam on social media :