- MEET - LUKA MCCABE FOUNDER OF BOOB TO FOOD
If you’re not already acquainted with Luka McCabe and her booming nutrition business, Boob to Food , allow us to introduce you to one of the most inspiring mothers we know and her new business that’s helping and inspiring new mothers all over the world on theirs and their baby’s journey and transition from boob to food.
The midwife, nutrition consultant and mother of two started Boob to Food two years ago as a humble Instagram account to share her learnings and insights from introducing her two children — Flynn, five, and Florence, two — to solids. Today, Luka's Instagram account now has a community of over 60K loyal followers and has evolved into a thriving small business now offering nutrition consultations for parents, a collection of recipes, and a wealth of invaluable knowledge into nutrition for babies and children.
Here, Luka shares with us her inspiration for starting Boob to Food, how she prioritises great nutrition day-in and day-out, her go-to snacks and her best advice for first-time mothers.
Can you tell us a bit about your business Boob to Food — what it is, your journey to starting it and what inspired you to start it?
I started Boob to Food when my daughter Florence (now two) was starting solids. It started as an Instagram account @boobtofood where I just shared foods she was eating and some information I had learnt in the last few years surrounding infant nutrition. To my surprise, people seemed to really resonate and love the content I was creating, and I have now turned my passion project to a humble small business providing consultations which is now my main income! I also have a hardcover book being released soon, all about moving from 'boob to food'.
My inspiration for starting Boob to Food stems back from when I started my son Flynn (now five) on solids. When it came time to start him on solids I was told so much conflicting advice that just really didn't sit well with my own mothers intuition. For example, I was advised to start him on solids at four months, even though I really didn't think he was ready. I was also heavily encouraged to start him on rice cereal, but when I read the ingredients in rice cereal I just didn't feel right giving that to him — I wouldn't even eat that! It led me down a path of research and wondering why these foods were recommended. Turns out that rice cereal is recommended because it contains synthetic iron in it, which is a baby’s main nutrient requirement that breastmilk doesn't quite meet after six months. However, I couldn't understand why can't our babies just get this nutrient from real food, that is in a very readily absorbed food (eg. animal products!)?
I guess the way I fed Flynn was considered 'strange' back then. His diet consisted of bone broths, fermented foods, liver, bone marrow, egg yolks and vegetables to start (because they are the most nutrient dense foods). It led to so many questions from my friends and colleagues (I am a registered midwife) and I just loved sharing the information I was learning from books, seminars and journal articles!
When it came time to feeding Florence (two), I was again recommended to start her on solids at four months, and to feed her 'custard' and rice cereal as she was only quite small (she still is and she eats more than me). I could not believe that custard would be recommended as a first food by a professional, and that solids were still being encouraged to start at four months, when the guidelines were changed in 2015 to six months of age!
This led me to start @boobtofood on Instagram, and then to studying to become a Certified Nutrition Consultant, specialising in postpartum and babies nutrition which I graduated from last year.
"When it came time to start him on solids I was told so much conflicting advice that just really didn't sit well with my own mother's intuition."
As someone who prioritises great nutrition and healthy food choices for yourself and your family — how do you implement this into your day-to-day life?
Surprisingly, I actually don't enjoy cooking! Especially since becoming a mum and the 'chore' of cooking dinner and packing school lunches etc. However, I like to know exactly what I am eating, so this means I do cook a lot! Because I don't enjoy the task, l prefer to cook in bulk and freeze meals, so generally on a Sunday afternoon after the farmers markets I will make a few meals for the week and freeze them to easily grab on those chaotic nights. I also just do not buy unhealthy food, so in terms of snacks etc. we don't have anything we can be tempted by. I find having the pantry and fridge stocked with healthy ingredients will inspire me to eat healthier. In terms of food quality, we try and shop at the farmer’s markets at least fortnightly, the other fortnight we are in an organic veggie co-op with my friends, and I buy all my meat pasture-raised from a farm online. Not only are we supporting local this way, we are also eating seasonally and the best quality produce!
In a world where there are many opinions and voices, how do you deal with and approach negative feedback and conflicting opinions online?
It’s hard — I am such a non-confrontational person and definitely take things to heart. However, in saying that, I never shy away from sharing the truth, and have come to find that people generally will attack from their own insecurities or guilt around something they did or didn't do. I like to always have evidence based research to back up anything 'controversial' I might say, because you really can't argue with facts!
I find the online world is hard because people like to be keyboard warriors, and say things to people they would never say to someone’s face, but always 'attacking' back with kindness and empathy generally turns their attitude around.
Being a midwife, what advice would you give to first time mums?
Trust your gut. These days there is just so much conflicting advice, voices and opinions, it can be really hard to work out who and what to listen to. It is great to learn and be informed — knowledge is power, however, along the way, we seem to have lost our trust in ourselves, our bodies and our babies! Following your intuition and what feels innately right for your family is going to be your best tool throughout motherhood, because to be honest, we are all just winging it — no matter how educated we are!
"I like to always have evidence based research to back up anything 'controversial' I might say, because you really can't argue with facts!"
What advice would you give to the first time dads?
Becoming a mother is a huge shift for your partner, and you are not going to be the sole point of focus for her anymore. Sometimes this can really lead to feelings of neglect, however, even though it can hard to see now, once the first couple of years pass, and she starts to find herself outside of being a mother again, she will return to you. In the meantime, the best things you can do is support her, help her without her needing to ask, encourage her and tell her she's doing a great job (because motherhood is relentless and sometimes she will feel like she's doing it all wrong) and love your baby hard — because if both of your sole focus is on your baby and not grieving the change in relationship, you will grow together and be stronger together when you come out the other end!
What are your go-to self-care routines and activities?
I don't have a self-care routine as such, but a non-negotiable for me is to get out of the house every morning. I am such an extrovert and feel charged by being around people, so we try and see some friends every morning and sit in the sunshine somewhere. Another non-negotiable form of self-care would be a good coffee every day.
Photography by Zac Graham Photography
Florence wears our Robbie Set. Shop the look here