Fran & Jo created Franjos Kitchen which offers a delicious selection of pregnancy and breastfeeding cookies and muesli, and even treats for your the little ones.
Fran is a lawyer and mum to Phoebe and Margot. Jo is a naturopath, nutritionist and wellness consultant and mum to Matilda and twins Florence and Charles.
Fran and Jo met in 2013 whilst walking with their children and with so much in common, began a friendship which led to an amazing business.
Franjos Kitchen is holding a talk in Melbourne, Australia celebrating World Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which Vida Glow is proud to be collaborating with. We LOVE their amazing products and today pick their brain on all things business and babies.
Firstly ladies, congratulations, Franjos Kitchen is such a success! What was the story that created the idea for your products?
Thank you Anna! Well, it all started when Fran was breastfeeding her first baby Phoebe. Phoebe wasn't gaining weight and Fran was under pressure to introduce formula by her maternal health nurse. Fran was absolutely loving breastfeeding and had planned to feed well into Phoebe's second year so she was devastated. As every mum does she set out to google how to make more breast milk and came across the concept of lactation cookies. Around the same time Fran and Jo met. Jo is a naturopath and was developing another healthy biscuit brand, Kookas Natural. Jo changed Fran's recipe using her knowledge and experience as a naturopath and Franjo's Kitchen was born!
How do your lactation cookies assist in increasing milk supply?
We use functional ingredients in our biscuits called galactagogues. Galactagogues are a class of ingredient that have been used for hundreds of years to help mothers boost breastmilk supply. The key ones we use are oats, flaxseeds, brewers yeast, fenugreek, fennel and quinoa flakes. As our products are naturopath formulated, we have also ensured every ingredient we use in our biscuits is of the best quality and packed full of nutritional benefit.
What was your breastfeeding experience?
Fran: With both my babies I had a very difficult first few weeks due to nipple damage and poor latch. Margot, my second was also tongue and lip tied which made for a pretty painful start. With Margot, I used a lactation consultant which was an absolute godsend and saved my bacon. Without her I honestly think I would have stopped at day 5! I fed Phoebe until 18 months and Margot weaned herself at 12 months after never taking a bottle! I had to head off to an expo and when I came back that was that, which I found pretty upsetting at the time. Despite some early struggles and issues with supply with Phoebe (which was how this whole business came about) I absolutely loved breastfeeding and my breastfeeding journey. I love the connection it brings with your babies and I loved feeding them when they were sick, I felt like I was pumping them full of goodness to help them heal. It's a privilege to be able to feed our babies and I know it's not always possible for mothers. Such an emotional minefield!
How you juggle 5 children and running a business?
With help and with difficulty! It's all a little easier now as our children are older (Jo's twins Flo and Chas are 2 as is Margot and Phoebe and Matilda are nearly 5). The children are in childcare/kindy a few days a week which gives us time to work properly. But in those early days it was baby on the boob, phone in hand and doing what we could we the time we had.
What is the hardest part of being a mother?
I saw an illustration of a mothers brain the other day, with literally hundreds of thoughts and worries coming out of it. It summed me up perfectly! I think as mothers we are programmed to worry and that really fills our heads - not always in a good way. I find the guilt and the juggle the hardest.
What's one thing you do for yourselves, to benefit your mental health?
Jo has an amazing meditation and yoga practice going and we both exercise daily. This is key.
What is your advice for mums to be about breastfeeding?
Learn as much as you can about it. It's not always easy and you often need help. Seek help (with a lactation consultant or midwife) the second you are having difficulties. Also understand how it works, understand the cluster feeding, supply and demand and then you will hopefully not be as stressed about it. All babies are different and it is a journey between you and your baby. Trust yourself, trust your baby and you will nail it. And feed your baby when it's hungry. Don't watch the clock!
Tell us a bit about the event your holding for World Breastfeeding Awareness Week in Melbourne?
This event came about due to everyday conversations we were continually having with our clients around lack of support with breastfeeding and just general Mum life! We've always wanted to have an event for Mums and this just seemed like the perfect time to do it.
We are so excited to have pulled together some great experts in the areas of breastfeeding, nutrition, baby massage and bonding, yoga and some fantastic gifts for the mums.
On top of this we have a panel of real Mums talking about their different experiences from Mardi Dangerfield being a brand new mum, to Annie "Uncanny Annie" Nolan who had her twins at 27 weeks and a little toddler at home and Olivia White from House of White who is a PANDA ambassador and very open about her battle with PND.
We can't wait to have this one on one time with Mum's in a comfortable environment with great food and drinks.
There are so many new mothers who do not have a pleasant experience with breastfeeding, and switch bottle feeding and formula. What is your message for them?
You are amazing. Whether you managed 1 feed, 10 feeds or 3 months worth. Every drop counts and I have no doubt you have done a spectacular job. The most important thing is that you and your baby are happy and healthy. This is your journey and yours alone.
Thank you so much ladies.