In this week’s blog, I interviewed Dr. Sophie Niedermaier-Patramani, mother, paediatrician and co-founder of the award winning, ,Little Tummy.
Sophie shares with us her passion for creating great-tasting ingredients for little ones that to find the ones that really pack a nutritional punch. Every ingredient has a role to play in helping your little one to develop and grow healthily. It’s guilt-free goodness!
Sophie, tell us about the history of Little Tummy and what was the inspiration behind the business?
My co-founder Nadine and I both founded ,Little Tummy in June 2017 because we felt the baby food market needed a complete overhaul. At this time, Nadine had been looking for fresh baby food for her godson and I had long been frustrated by the products on the market in my role as paediatrician, who guides parents on their weaning journey. Looking at the US market, we found other cold-pressed baby food companies, which had recently taken off.
Being able to create recipes for babies and giving evidence-based advice to parents who otherwise have to find their way through a jungle of information rewards and inspires me every day.
2. How has the business evolved since you started?
We launched our first products in April 2019, sending them directly to parents’ doorsteps. This is not only convenient for parents but gives us the wonderful opportunity to receive their direct feedback and work on our meals. We have since then added two more flavours and worked on the first recipes to further improve them.
3. Tell us about your family and how do mealtimes work in your home?
I have a 13 months old daughter who recently completed her weaning journey. My husband and I love food, especially simple dishes from tasty ingredients. Sitting together for mealtimes is a real treat for us and we enjoy the time together as well as the food which is on the table.
4. Your Little Tummy flavours are so interesting and different. How do you come up with the creative ideas of what flavours to excite little ones and their tiny tastebuds?
When creating the recipes I put babies’ nutritional needs first. This is why I use sources of plant-based protein and healthy fats, such as rapeseed oil. It is important to get babies used to more bitter flavours from early on, so that they make healthy choices later on in life, as well. This is why I use a lot of green vegetables, such as kale and spinach. Even the fruitier meals have a somewhat bitter flavour and are relatively low in sugar. I combine our ingredients to turn them into colourful concoctions, so babies don’t only enjoy the flavours but also the colours of the ingredients.
Before launching a recipe we run taste groups to see what parents and babies think. We then go back to the kitchen to work on the flavour, if needed.
5. What is your advice for helping parents to introduce their little ones to more fruit and vegetables in their diet from an early stage; i.e. avoiding too much sugar?
Be patient yet persistent. It can take between 10 to 15 tries until a child accepts a new flavour. A lot of parents are afraid their child might not eat enough and I feel that this is often aggravated by external influence. Parents needn’t worry, though: The first 6 months of weaning are really about getting little ones used to new flavours and textures – this is more than enough work for them. They will get all their nutrients through breast milk or formula, so parents and babies can fully focus on their gourmet experience.
6. Have you got any advice on fussy eaters? Both parents and infants?
Fussy eaters can be a stressful experience for parents, and for babies. All children will go through phases of fussy eating, I see this as a sign of their normal development. It is important to take the pressure off for parents. Almost all children will cover their macronutritional needs (protein, carbohydrates and fats) with what they choose to eat throughout the day. If they are very fussy around vegetables and fruit, for example, a multivitamin can provide the necessary vitamins and minerals.
It is important to keep exposing children to a variety of foods without forcing them to eat it. The fact that something will appear on their table in regular intervals and that their parents and siblings are eating it, too, will increase their natural curiosity and they will eventually give it a try.
7. What can we expect to see next from Little Tummy? Any plans you can tell us about?
We have a range of exciting and delicious new baby recipes in the pipeline. 2021 will also bring a range for toddlers, which I am quite excited about myself, given that I will finally be able to offer my little one a healthy yet convenient snack!
8. And finally, when it comes to food, what’s your favourite family meal?
It’s a Greek dish called Psari Plaki. It means ‘spread out fish’ and is a lovely oven dish made of greens, tomato and fresh fish. We love to make this dish on special occasions, for example when we have moved house or on the first day of our summer holidays.
Thank you Sophie. That was a brilliant, insightful interview. To find out more on Little Tummy or to order some samples for your little one to try, head over to ,https://littletummy.co/collections/baby-meals