Emily Dupuche was inspired to write a recipe book after becoming a mum to twins. Here, she shares her story and great recipes from her book, Food Babies Love, which features over 100 meals and snacks for babies and toddlers.
When pregnant with twins, I developed pre-eclampsia at 31 weeks. The doctors did an incredible job of keeping me calm and not alarming us about the severity of the situation, but I was hospitalised and the babies were delivered via c-section under general anaesthetic eight weeks early. I was then transferred straight to intensive care, where I stayed for three days. Despite being in and out of consciousness it was the longest three days of my life, as I was separated from my babies and not able to see them.
I finally got well enough to be transferred back to the maternity ward, where I was wheeled in to meet my babies – it was the most incredible vision of my life, these two totally perfect, teeny tiny dots lying on their tummies in their humidicribs. Getting to hold them for the first time was brilliant, and I visited them as often as I could for the next six days while I was in hospital.
Once I was discharged, the long haul of days spent in the NICU started. I was unable to drive due to the operation, so I would get dropped off at the hospital around 7am then picked up at about 6pm. These long days meant I could be there to feed them and generally take care of all their needs, with nappy changing, bathing etc. It was an amazing experience and allowed me hours of chatting with other mums and the nursing staff. I felt I had covered off just about everything when they finally got to come home six weeks later.
At that early stage they were being bottle fed, but all three of us were learning to breastfeed together. It was a big mission but eventually we got it – they got strong enough to suck and I was finally able to lay off the breast pump. That thing had done a tower of work!
I know I was lucky – despite my illness and their early arrival, the twins were perfect. Tiny but perfect. We now have no long-lasting health issues from their prematurity. Even in hospital they were not overly sick, just weak, so day by day they grew and got stronger and stronger.
When it finally came to feeding them solids I was determined to give them only fresh food packed full of goodness to help continue to build them up. Being a keen cook I was surprised at the apprehension I felt the first time I went to steam them some carrot: was there a special way to do this?
Once I got over my nerves I had a great time creating baby-friendly variations of our family favourites that were still packed with flavour. I started sharing my meal ideas and recipes with my mothers’ group and other friends. Everyone seemed to be loving my food so I started typing the recipes up. I initially did that just to have them readily available to pass on, but I soon realised that there was a need for a practical guide and delicious recipes to help mums and dads through this often overwhelming phase of parenting. So I got serious, put pen to paper, then wrote my book.
Recipes from Food Babies Love (on sale now):