Being Dad Food & Drink Parenting

Mimi Cooper chats food allergies and baby-friendly recipes

Food Allergy
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

In honour of Allergy Awareness Week, we caught up with Mimi’s Bowl’s founder for some safe foodie tips.

With Allergy Awareness Week only a couple of weeks ago, we recently had the chance to speak with Mimi Cooper, creator of Mimi’s Bowl, a wonderful online recipe community for parents.

What led you to create Mimi’s Bowl?

When I gave birth to my first child, I faced the same pressures other parents faced feeding their babies; I also understood the total frustration of learning what your baby does and doesn’t like. After the arrival of my daughter in September 2014 and whilst on maternity leave, I found myself needing to completely re-think how I cooked. I had several major episodes of “babyfood” panic: an anxiety about how to feed your baby and what to feed your baby. This feeling was exacerbated by the time-short, exhausted and overwhelmed feelings of any new parent. I then knew I wanted to create Mimi’s Bowl as an online community for other parents to share practical recipe ideas.

How can parents include more oats into their baby’s food?

For babies, I recommend blitzing the oats in a blender first to make a fine “oat flour”, then cooking the finely blitzed oats as normal for a lovely smooth first baby porridge. You can sweeten the baby porridge naturally with homemade fruit purées. Another great tip for time-strapped parents is soaking the oats overnight and then cooking them in the morning for a healthy and quicker breakfast. There are valuable health benefits: soaking oats helps the starches break down, aiding your baby’s digestion. You can view the overnights oats recipe I created with Aveeno Baby on the Mimi’s Bowl website and blog.

What foods are best for babies with sensitive tummies?

If there are no medical concerns or known allergies, then I always recommend that your baby should be eating a varied diet of whole and natural foods. Avoid all processed foods and check carefully for all foods that should be avoided in the first year. You can view the poached chicken and spring vegetables weaning recipe I created with Aveeno Baby on the Mimi’s Bowl website and blog.

Do you have any parent hacks for preparing baby food?

  1. Follow a plan that works for you and your baby: you know your baby best.
  2. Don’t batch cook huge amounts of one dish until you know your baby likes it!
  3. You don’t need to be a brilliant cook, simple and homemade food really is the best.
  4. Adapt the food you make for your baby and eat the same yourself. For example, if I stew fruit for my baby boy, I eat the same with yogurt and granola. Often babies are eating well, and parents are living off tea and biscuits… Make sure you are both eating well to keep your energy levels up.
  5. My key tip is to keep a list of foods you have tried (I keep my list on my kitchen fridge where I can see it), this will help you keep track as you introduce your baby to new foods.
  6. Embrace the mess.

How important is raising awareness of food allergens?

As someone who’s lived with and now has children with sensitive, easily irritated skin, I understand the importance of taking care of both what my family eats and what we put on our skin. Launching Mimi’s Bowl allowed me to show parents how easy it is to create simple, healthy and seasonal meals for their children. That’s why I partnered with Aveeno Baby – to show parents that even meals for allergy-prone skin don’t have to be complicated, dull or unhealthy and help to reduce worry for parents during this new stage of parenting.

Some of Mimi’s favourite Aveeno Baby products include the Aveeno Baby Daily Care Baby Gentle Wash and Aveeno Baby Dermexa Good Night Emollient Balm. You can check this full line of products here.